South Carolina Enacts Six-Week Abortion Ban, Planned Parenthood Sues Immediately

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Arjun Singh Contributor
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Republican Gov. Henry McMaster of South Carolina signed legislation on Thursday that would restrict abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, and Planned Parenthood announced shortly after that they will be suing to block the law.

McMaster signed the “Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act,” which bans abortion procedures after a fetus’s heartbeat can be detected, usually occurring after six weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape and incest, or for the mother’s physical health. The bill passed South Carolina’s Senate on Tuesday, and Planned Parenthood of South Atlantic immediately filed a lawsuit in the Richland County Circuit Court to block the bill shortly after it received McMaster’s signature. (RELATED: South Carolina House Passes Six-Week Abortion Ban)

“My emails, texts, and DMs are filled with messages from frightened women – “I’m the sole breadwinner in a very physical, manual labor job. If I’m pregnant, I’ll be laid off. What do I do now to support my children?”,” wrote Vicki Ringer, Planned Parenthood’s director of Public Affairs on Twitter.

Democrats and other pro-abortion groups in South Carolina have strongly opposed the bill, with the state’s Democratic Party chairwoman calling it a “horrific bill…[that] bans abortion before many women know they’re even pregnant and threatens doctors and nurses with jail time.”

By contrast, McMaster said, “This is a great day for life in South Carolina, but the fight is not over,” after signing the bill. “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,” he added.

The bill is the latest in a series of abortion restrictions passed by Republican-led states. State Republicans claimed that visits from women out-of-state to have abortions influenced their passage of the bill, with state Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey saying, “South Carolina has become the abortion capital of the southeast.”

Attempts to restrict abortion to six weeks of pregnancy in South Carolina have faced recent roadblocks. In January, the South Carolina Supreme Court struck down an identical six-week abortion ban, arguing that it violated the state Constitution’s right to privacy — suggesting that this bill may be struck down, as well.

Additionally, another measure, House Bill 3774, which would have banned abortion from the moment of conception with few exceptions did not pass the state Senate by one vote, leading the Legislature to proceed with a six-week restriction bill. Three Republican women state senators joined two Democrats and an independent to filibuster that bill.

Speaking in Iowa yesterday, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, who is also running for president, said, “[t]he state is trying to protect the culture of life and that’s good news…the heartbeat bill is a step in the direction of that.” A spokesperson for South Carolina’s other Senator, Lindsey Graham, told the DCNF that he believes “15 weeks should be the national minimum standard” for abortion legislation, in response to the passage of the bill.

Planned Parenthood of South Carolina, certain members of the state’s congressional delegation and former Gov. Nikki Haley, a presidential candidate from the state, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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