COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) — Not long after South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed a six-week abortion ban into law, abortion providers in the state filed a lawsuit challenging the new restrictions.
Thursday morning, Governor McMaster signed S.474 into law surrounded by a group of Republican state lawmakers. The act took effect immediately.
In a statement released Thursday announcing the signing of the bill, the Governor said, “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.”
The Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion prohibits abortions about six weeks into a pregnancy. It contains exceptions for the life or health of the mother, medical emergencies, fatal fetal anomalies, and, up to twelve weeks of pregnancy, in cases of rape or incest.
The Governor had called state lawmakers back for a special session to debate various issues including abortion. The new law is similar to a six-week ban that was struck down by the state Supreme Court in a 3-2 in January.
Supporters said they made enough changes in the bill to address the justice’s concerns. They also believe the new make up of the court could lead to a different result this time around.
Critics argue the ban is unconstitutional because it’s fundamentally the same legislation as the 2021 Fetal Heartbeat Act, a six week ban on abortions. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, Greenville Women’s Clinic and two physicians filed the lawsuit in state court Thursday challenging the law.
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic President and CEO Jenny Black said in a statement released Thursday, “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.”
According to court records, a hearing for a temporary injunction has been scheduled for Friday morning in Richland County. Abortion providers and others are asking a South Carolina judge to temporarily block the law amid the ongoing legal battle.
You can read the lawsuit by clicking or tapping here. You can also read the state Attorney General’s response to the temporary injunction motion here.