Just one day after South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signed The South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act, the law has been blocked by a U.S. District Judge. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and Greenville Women’s Clinic filed a lawsuit against the law mere hours after it was enacted. They are represented by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and Burnette Shutt & McDaniel, P.A.
U.S. District Court Judge Mary Geiger Lewis, an appointee of President Barack Obama, heard arguments concerning the ban on the afternoon of February 19 and issued an order temporarily striking down the law until the court issues a decision. She is the same judge who blocked McMaster’s executive order banning abortion businesses from receiving Medicaid funds in 2018, a case which the Supreme Court declined to hear, thereby denying the state’s right to exclude abortion businesses from receiving funding.
Planned Parenthood announced on Friday that it had halted its abortion procedures in the state as it awaited the judge’s decision to block the law. Greenville Women’s Clinic did not state if they were open or closed. Both are now free to begin committing abortions again.
The state’s “heartbeat bill” aims to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. It includes discriminatory exceptions for rape, incest, and fetal diagnosis, as well as cases of medical emergency though abortion is never medically necessary. A doctor who commits abortions after the preborn child’s heartbeat is detectable could face a felony charge, fines, and jail time.
The human heart begins to beat between 16 and 22 days post-fertilization before most women even know they are pregnant. At this age, the baby already has eyes and a brain, and her lungs are forming. By six weeks and two days, the baby has recordable brain waves.
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