By Calvin Freiburger
With an impending signature from Republican Gov. Henry McMaster, South Carolina becomes the latest state to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, though the new law already faces a lawsuit by Planned Parenthood.
The bill requires anyone committing an abortion to first perform an ultrasound to test for a fetal heartbeat. If one is found, aborting the baby anyway would be a felony for which an abortionist could lose his medical license. It contains exceptions for rape, incest, medical threat to the mother, or fetal anomalies deemed “incompatible with life.”
The state Senate passed the bill 30-13 and the House 79-35, and McMaster is scheduled to sign it into law today in a ceremony at the state house:
The House passing the Heartbeat Bill is a major step forward in the pro-life movement here in South Carolina. Join me today at 12:30 p.m. on the second floor lobby of the South Carolina State House as I sign this legislation into law!
— Gov. Henry McMaster (@henrymcmaster) February 18, 2021
Planned Parenthood quickly moved to file a lawsuit against the law, calling it “in flagrant violation of nearly five decades of settled Supreme Court precedent.”
Heartbeat laws, which ban abortion well before the Supreme Court’s “fetal viability” threshold, are generally not expected to ban abortion in the near term, but instead are enacted in hopes of provoking a legal battle that would hopefully reach the nation’s highest court and instigate a review of Roe v. Wade, thereby potentially overturning decades of pro-abortion legal precedent and freeing the states to set their own abortion laws.
Such a case would present the biggest test yet of former President Donald Trump’s three appointees to the Supreme Court, and whether they will help comprise the majority needed to finally overturn Roe.
South Carolina joins Georgia, Missouri, Louisiana, Tennessee, Ohio, Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Dakota in enacting laws to limit abortions as early as a fetal heartbeat can be detected.