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South Carolina governor signs 6-week abortion restriction

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster (right) on Thursday signed a bill restricting abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.

The Fetal Heart Rate and Abortion Protection Act, S. 474, protects unborn babies by limiting abortions after detection of a fetal heartbeat, except rape or incest during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, medical emergencies or abnormalities fatal fetuses. State doctors who fail to comply with the law could face felony charges punishable by two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

McMaster said the law took effect immediately.

“With my signature, the Fetal Heart Rate and Abortion Protection Act is now law and will immediately begin saving the lives of unborn children,” McMaster said in a statement. “This is a great day for life in South Carolina, but the fight is not over. We stand ready to defend this legislation against any challenge and are confident that we will succeed. The right to life must be preserved and we will do everything we can to protect it.

Prior to the bill’s passage, abortions were legal up to 22 weeks of pregnancy in the state. McMaster had signed a similar bill in 2021; however, this law was challenged and permanently enjoined by the South Carolina Supreme Court earlier this year. The sponsors of the current legislation crafted the measure in hopes of withstanding a legal challenge and satisfying state Supreme Court justices.

Following the bill’s passage, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic announced that it had filed a lawsuit, along with the Greenville Women’s Clinic and two physicians, asking a state court to block the law. The giant abortion affiliate said in a tweet that a hearing was scheduled for Friday morning.

“State lawmakers have once again trampled on our right to make private health care decisions, ignoring warnings from health care providers and the precedent set by the state’s highest court there. just a few months ago,” said Jenny Black, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. .

“The decision of if, when and how to have a child is deeply personal, and politicians making that decision for anyone else is an excess of government power. We will always fight for the ability of our patients to make their own decisions about their bodies and access the health care they need. We urge the court to take swift action to block this dangerous ban on abortion,” Black continued.

In stark contrast, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America issued a statement celebrating the new “life-saving law.”

“Twenty-five states now have laws to protect life between conception and 12 weeks. Not even a year after Dobbs, the pro-life movement can celebrate that we’re halfway through the states thanks to the incredible momentum we’ve seen in North Carolina, South Carolina and Nebraska over the last week and a half,” said Susan B. Anthony, President of Pro-Life America, Marjorie Dannenfelser.

“Today we congratulate South Carolina on becoming the 23rd state to protect babies with heartbeats. The way Governor McMaster and pro-life lawmakers have persisted in getting heartbeat protection heart to the finish line this year is a reflection of their compassion, respect for the will of the people, and dedication to science,” Dannenfelser continued. “Each year, thousands more North Carolina Irreplaceable South will be allowed to live and discover that unique purpose in this world that only they can fulfill.”

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