South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster on Thursday signed a bill to ban nearly all abortions in the state.
One of the Governor’s top priorities since he took office over four years ago. Planned Parenthood immediately sued, effectively preventing the measure from taking effect, according to the Associated Press.
“South Carolina politicians just used an abortion ban to target and re-victimize sexual assault survivors — all while the pandemic rages on,” Planned Parenthood President and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson said in a statement Thursday. “This is politics at its worst.”
The South Carolina General Assembly passed the bill on Wednesday with a vote of 79-35, and it was finalized for McMaster’s signature on Thursday. The bill prohibits an abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected during an ultrasound with very few exceptions. McMaster is the latest Republican Governor to sign a so-called “heartbeat bill.”
“This is a great day. It’s a happy day,” McMaster told a room full of onlookers at the state Capitol. “There are a lot of happy hearts beating right now.”
He went on to say, “This step we take today was long in coming and monumental in consequence. If there’s not a right to life, then what life is there? What rights exist, if not the elementary, fundamental, profound right to life?”
The South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act states the following:
“A doctor must perform an ultrasound on a person seeking an abortion to determine if there is a fetal heartbeat. If a heartbeat is found, a doctor cannot perform an abortion unless the physician believes it is a medical emergency, the pregnancy is the result of a rape or incest or there is a fetal anomaly, the bill says. Abortion providers who provide the procedure outside those parameters could face fines and imprisonment.”
The new law is challenged as the Supreme Court of the United States sways towards a conservative side, with former President Donald Trump’s appointees showing a willingness to take on the 1973 landmark ruling of Roe v. Wade. As it stands currently, abortions can occur at about 24 weeks of pregnancy.