Earlier today, Henry McMaster today was joined by members of the General Assembly and members of the pro-life community to sign S. 474, the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act, into law. The bill protects life by prohibiting abortions after a fetal heartbeat has been detected, with exceptions for rape or incest during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, medical emergencies, or fatal fetal anomalies.
“With my signature, the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act is now law and will begin saving the lives of unborn children immediately,” said Governor Henry McMaster. “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.”
The Act went into effect with McMaster's signature. South Carolina’s legislation allows limited exceptions to save the mother’s life when the fetus has a fatal anomaly that would prevent it from surviving outside the womb, and for victims of rape and incest.
The exception for sexual assault survivors only applies before 12 weeks into a pregnancy, and it requires the doctor who performed the abortion to report the crime to the local sheriff within 24 hours of the procedure.
After the bill was signed, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and Greenville Women’s Clinic, filed a lawsuit in Richland County, asking a court to temporarily block the legislation’s enforcement and ultimately strike it down.