• Richard Easson

South Carolina Governor Signs “Fetal Heartbeat” Law, Planned Parenthood Sues

Since taking office in 2017, one of Republican South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster’s main priorities has been to sign a bill into law that would ban most abortions in the state. Today, he got exactly what he wanted, and the pro-life community couldn’t be happier.

The “South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act” allowed the state to join the ranks of a dozen others that have passed similar legislation over the years. The state’s House passed its bill by a vote of 79-35 yesterday with final approval given today followed by the governor signing it in a ceremony.

Not long after the measure was given final approval, Planned Parenthood said that it would file a lawsuit. The CEO of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, Jenny Black, called the bill’s passing “blatantly unconstitutional.” Black called similar state bills restricting abortions “plainly absurd” and said that “if lawmakers are really interested in making lives better, we have a long list of priorities they can focus on.”

Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit says that the new South Carolina law “is in flagrant violation of nearly five decades of settled Supreme Court precedent.”

Supporters of the new law are still attempting to get the abortion issue in front of the Supreme Court, especially since its three newest justices were picked by former president Donald Trump and could very well overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wadedecision that upheld abortion rights.

The new state law requires doctors to perform ultrasounds to detect a heartbeat in the fetus. If one is present, the abortion can only be performed if either rape or incest caused the pregnancy, or if the mother’s life is in danger.

The bill does not punish a woman who receives an illegal abortion, but charges the individual who performed it, if found guilty, with a felony that sentences them with up to two years in prison and slaps them with a $10,000 fine.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston issued a statement praising the governor’s signing of the bill into law.

Maria Aselage, a spokesperson for the Diocese, said, "This is a historic day in South Carolina in the Church’s effort to protect the unborn. Every human life is sacred from the moment of conception until natural death. This new law will save the lives of our most vulnerable from the moment their heartbeat is detected. Although we anticipate litigation on this issue, the battle to preserve life must include the courts in our system of government. We welcome the opportunity to defend the unborn and build a culture of life.”