South Carolina Governor Signs 6-Week Abortion Restriction

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster greets lawmakers ahead of his State of the State addres
AP Photo/Meg Kinnard

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) signed a bill on Thursday restricting abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. 

The Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act, S. 474, protects unborn babies by limiting 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. Doctors in the state who do not comply with the law could face felony charges punishable by two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. 

McMaster said the law went into effect immediately. 

“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.”

Before the bill’s passage, abortions were legal through 22 weeks of pregnancy in the state. McMaster had signed a similar bill into law in 2021; however, that law was challenged and permanently enjoined by the South Carolina Supreme Court earlier this year. The sponsors of the current legislation crafted the measure in the hopes of withstanding a legal challenge and satisfying the state Supreme Court justices. 

Following the bill’s passage, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic announced that it filed a lawsuit, along with Greenville Women’s Clinic and two physicians, asking a state court to block the law. The abortion-giant affiliate said in a tweet that a hearing has been scheduled for Friday morning.

“State lawmakers have once again trampled on our right to make private health care decisions, ignoring warnings from health care providers and precedent set by the state’s highest court just a few months ago,” said Jenny Black, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.

“The decision of if, when, and how to have a child is deeply personal, and politicians making that decision for anyone else is government overreach of the highest order. We will always fight for our patients’ ability to make their own decisions about their bodies and access the health care they need. We urge the court to take swift action to block this dangerous ban on abortion,” Black continued.

In stark contrast, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America issued a statement celebrating the new “life-saving law.”

“Twenty-five states now have laws to protect life between conception and 12 weeks. Not even a full year after Dobbs, the pro-life movement can celebrate that we are at the halfway point in the states thanks to the incredible momentum we have seen in North Carolina, South Carolina and Nebraska in just the last week and a half,” said Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser.

“Today, we congratulate South Carolina on becoming the 23rd state to protect babies with a heartbeat. The way Gov. McMaster and pro-life legislators persisted to get a heartbeat protection across the finish line this year is a reflection of their compassion, respect for the people’s will, and adherence to the science,” Dannenfelser continued. “Every year, thousands more irreplaceable South Carolinians will be allowed to live and discover that unique purpose in this world which only they can fulfill.”


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.