COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSAV) — Gov. Henry McMaster has signed off on a bill that’s been one of his chief priorities since he took office in 2017.
The Republican governor on Thursday approved the South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act after the House voted 74-39 on its third reading.
Moments after the second vote, Planned Parenthood announced that it was filing a lawsuit. The “South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act,” like other similar laws currently being challenged, is “blatantly unconstitutional,” said Jenny Black, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson released a statement, saying: “My office will vigorously defend this law in court because there is nothing more important than protecting life.”
“Our battles are not over. Yet I believe that the dawn of victory is upon us,” McMaster said.
The measure bans most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Most doctors said this is around 6 or 8 weeks into a pregnancy. There are exceptions for rape, incest, the health of the mother and fetal anomalies.
The measure will not punish a pregnant woman for getting an illegal abortion, but the person who performed the abortion could be charged with a felony, sentenced up to two years and fined $10,000 if found guilty.
A dozen states passed similar measures before South Carolina, including Georgia. All of them are tied up in lawsuits.
Contributions by WSPA, Associated Press