Republican South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster of South Carolina issued an executive order Friday to create an additional legislative session in an attempt to resolve several remaining pieces of legislation, including a heartbeat abortion bill.
The state’s previous fetal heartbeat act was ruled unconstitutional by the state’s Supreme Court in 2022, and Republican lawmakers have been working during the current session to pass new legislation restricting abortions. As the legislative session came to a close, McMaster signed an executive order Thursday evening to recall lawmakers to the state capitol on May 16 to resolve several remaining tasks, including a new abortion ban. (RELATED: Pro-Life Pregnancy Center Reportedly Vandalized With Decapitated Chicken and Mutilated Lamb)
“The General Assembly has made progress on a few items this year, such as expanding school choice, repealing certificate of need, restructuring of the Department of Health and Environmental Control, passing a shield law, and approving a large incentive package for Scout Motors bringing jobs and prosperity to the state, but they have not finished their business,” McMaster said during a press conference Friday, according to WSOC-TV, a local media outlet. “[T]he General Assembly must complete the state budget, and they must pass legislation that stops our state from becoming a destination for abortions. Therefore, I am directing the General Assembly to return for a special session to complete the important business at hand.”
I will hold a State House news conference tomorrow morning to announce my plans to call the General Assembly back for a special session and announce the appointment of the next Comptroller General.
— Gov. Henry McMaster (@henrymcmaster) May 11, 2023
The state’s original ban, which prohibited abortions after a heartbeat was detected with exceptions for certain fetal anomalies and in some cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother, was struck down in January by the South Carolina Supreme Court, which ruled that the ban violated a woman’s right to privacy. As a result, Republican lawmakers began drafting a new bill that still prohibited abortions after a heartbeat was detected, while also broadening the exemptions to include “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function, or psychological or emotional conditions” that threaten the life of the mother up to 12 weeks.
The new bill additionally removed a previous requirement for a physician to offer to let the mother hear the unborn child’s heartbeat if the pregnancy was determined to be after eight weeks. If passed, any person, excluding the mother, who violates the perimeters outlined in the bill is “punishable by a fine of $10,000, imprisonment for not more than two years, or both.”
McMaster did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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