South Carolina Senate Passes ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion Bill

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Kate Anderson Contributor
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The South Carolina state Senate approved a bill banning abortion after a heartbeat is detected and sent the legislation to Republican Gov. Henry McMaster’s desk late on Tuesday.

McMaster had ordered the legislature back for an extra session on May 16 to make sure several pieces of legislation, including the “Fetal Heartbeat and Protection Act,” were voted on before the lawmakers adjourned. The state Senate voted Tuesday, 27 to 19, to send the bill to the governor’s desk, despite the state Supreme Court ruling last year that a similar ban was unconstitutional. (RELATED: Republican Governor Orders Legislature Back To Get Heartbeat Abortion Bill Over The Finish Line)

McMaster congratulated lawmakers Tuesday on Twitter for getting the measure passed and said he was ready to sign the bill into law. “The General Assembly has handled this issue in a thoughtful, transparent and collaborative manner,” McMaster wrote. “Tonight, our state is one step closer to protecting more innocent lives. I look forward to signing this bill into law as soon as possible.”

The bill bans abortions in the state after a heartbeat is detected with exceptions for rape, incest and if a physician determines that an abortion would be necessary to “prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent the serious risk of a substantial or irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.” The bill also requires the doctor to record a heartbeat if present and show the mother ultrasound pictures before performing an induced abortion.

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic in South Carolina posted on Twitter following the vote that they were ready to challenge the new law in court if necessary.

“BREAKING: The S.C. legislature just passed a ban on abortion after 6 weeks of pregnancy,” Planned Parenthood wrote. “The bill now heads to the governor, who is expected to sign the bill into law. We have just one thing to say to the state of South Carolina: ‘We’ll see you in court.'”

A similar law was struck down by the state’s Supreme Court last year due to concerns that the ban would infringe on a woman’s right to privacy under the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unlawful search and seizure.

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