Update 5/26/23: A South Carolina judge on Friday placed an injunction on the state’s pro-life ‘heartbeat bill’ which was signed into law on Thursday. Senate Bill 474, the “Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act,” took effect immediately after it was signed by Gov. Henry McMaster, but Planned Parenthood South Atlantic filed an immediate lawsuit.
Judge Clifton Newman of the South Carolina Circuit Court granted a temporary restraining order Friday morning, blocking the law from being in effect while the legal case against it is heard.
McMaster said he will continue to fight for the law and hopes the Supreme Court “will take up this matter without delay.”
In a statement, he added, ” We are ready to defend this legislation against any challenges and are confident we will succeed. The right to life must be preserved, and we will do everything we can to protect it.”
5/25/23: South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed Senate Bill 474, the “Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act,” on Thursday. The measure protects most preborn children from abortion after about six weeks, when the embryonic heartbeat is detectable, though a preborn child’s heart first begins to beat 16 to 21 days post-fertilization. The law is effective immediately, though it has already been legally challenged by abortion groups.
“With my signature, the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act is now law and will begin saving the lives of unborn children immediately,” 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 challenges and are confident we will succeed. The right to life must be preserved, and we will do everything we can to protect it.”
With my signature, the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act is now law and will begin saving the lives of unborn children immediately. We stand ready to defend this legislation against any challenges because there is no more important right than the right to life.
— Gov. Henry McMaster (@henrymcmaster) May 25, 2023
The law will protect most preborn children after six weeks, though it does contain exceptions for the life of the mother or fatal fetal anomalies, as well as allowing abortion up to 12 weeks for victims of rape and incest with a requirement that doctors report the crime to local law enforcement.
Following McMaster’s signature, abortionists and abortion groups including Planned Parenthood, Greenville Women’s Clinic, and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit in the state court.
“Abortion providers have asked a state trial court to block S. 474 on the grounds that it violates South Carolinians’ constitutional rights to privacy, equal protection, and substantive due process by banning abortion, providing inadequate protections for patients’ health, conditioning sexual assault survivors’ access to abortion on the disclosure of their personal information to law enforcement, violating the Medicaid Act, and improperly targeting Planned Parenthood through an unconstitutional bill of attainder,” Planned Parenthood said in a statement.
“The Act is an affront to the dignity and health of South Carolinians. Decisions related to having a family are some of the most personal that South Carolinians will ever make,” the lawsuit filing said. “Pregnancy itself is physically, emotionally, and financially challenging, and having a child is an enormous, life-altering decision. There are myriad factors that go into whether and when to have or add to a family.”
The state had previously passed a ‘heartbeat bill‘ in 2021, though that was struck down by the state’s supreme court in January. Since that ruling, one of the supreme court justices has been replaced, meaning should this law make its way to the high court, it could receive a different outcome.
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