South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) plans to file a petition to overturn an injunction of the state’s Fetal Heartbeat Act following Friday morning’s historic Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. The law would effectively ban all abortions after 6 weeks in the state, but would include exceptions for rape, incest, fetal anomalies, or if the mother’s life is in danger. However, if a doctor were to perform an abortion outside of those parameters, they could face felony charges, up to two years in jail, and a $10,000 fine.
The law, which was signed by the governor in February 2021, had previously been blocked by a federal judge after Planned Parenthood filed suit.
Gov. McMaster issued the following official statement:
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a resounding victory for the Constitution and for those who have worked for so many years to protect the lives of the most vulnerable among us. By the end of the day, we will file motions so that the Fetal Heartbeat Act will go into effect in South Carolina and immediately begin working with members of the General Assembly to determine the best solution for protecting the lives of unborn South Carolinians.”
The current law in South Carolina bans abortion after 20 weeks, but a fetal heartbeat can be detected after 6 to 7 weeks, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
South Carolina’s Republican leaders will petition the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to review the federal injunction of the law. However, South Carolina Democratic leaders, including Democratic nominee for governor Joe Cunningham, vehemently opposed the decision. Cunningham issued the following statement:
“This is a dark day in American history. The four walls of a doctor’s office simply aren’t big enough for a woman, her partner, her doctor, and the government. But the government has decided to force themselves in anyway. Governor McMaster and radical politicians in Columbia have already pledged to ban all abortions in South Carolina with no exceptions for rape, incest, or life of the mother. The only thing standing in the way of this draconian reality is my veto pen. As governor, I won't hesitate to use that pen to stand up for women and their right to control their own bodies.”