BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) – Gov. Henry McMaster signed a bill into law Thursday afternoon that bans nearly all abortions in South Carolina.
“If there is not a right to life, then what right is there? What rights exist if not for the elementary, fundamental right to life,” said the governor.
But before pen was put to paper, the legal challenges to the bill began, as did objections of opponents in the legislature.
The measure requires doctors to perform ultrasounds to check for a heartbeat. If one is detected then an abortion can not be performed.
Anyone who performs an abortion could go to prison for two years and faces a $10,000 fine. The woman who is pregnant cannot face criminal charges, according to the bill, but could face a fine.
Democratic opponents say there was not the time for this bill to be debated or voted on.
“We must make sure we take care of these living situations that are in front of us right now,” said Hampton Rep. Shedron Williams. “And then we feel that it should have come forward after we have addressed or at least slowed the progression of COVID-19, unemployment, the safety of our children, essential workers and our seniors becoming vaccinated.”
More than that, many Democrats believe the bill goes too far and doesn’t take women’s rights into account.
“Get out of these people’s house,” Williams said. “That should be a situation between woman and God; woman and her mate or her husband and God. This should not be a situation that the General Assembly tells a woman what they can or cannot do with their body.”
“It’s a deception bill to make people feel good, but it’s not helping children. It is not helping women and definitely not biblical,” said St. Helena Island Rep. Michael Rivers Sr.
Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit right after the bill was signed into law by the governor, calling it “blatantly unconstitutional”.
“What if a child is born with severe medical conditions?” wondered Williams. “Do you force a father to go out and get a job, two jobs, three jobs to make sure this is paid without government assistance?”
“They won yesterday but I think they really lost,” Rivers said. “Because in the long run, people are going to realize that, wait a minute, my uncle John, my husband, my brother is telling their mom, their sisters what they can do with their body? God doesn’t even do that, he gives them free will.”
The lawmakers say the bill won’t stop abortion, but could stop safe abortion.
“No doubt about it,” he said. “Abortions haven’t just started; it’s gone on forever, and it is not going to stop.”
“That’s one of the biggest dreads that they have because it’s going to happen,” explained Williams, adding, “Just by placing something on paper means it’s not going to stop. You are going to have doctors that are still going to perform and they will pay the $10,000 fine.”
More than a dozen states have passed similar bills in the past. All of those are still tied up in court and have not taken effect.
“We are going to waste money in litigation at a time when we don’t have money for schools,” said Rivers. “It doesn’t make any sense.”