COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – Gov. Henry McMaster signed the Fetal Heartbeat Bill into law Thursday afternoon.
The signing came hours after the S.C. House voted 74 to 39 to officially pass the bill (S.1).
It bans most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Most doctors said this is around 6 or 8 weeks into a pregnancy. Previous SC law allowed abortions up to 20 weeks into pregnancy.
There are exceptions for rape, incest, the health of the mother and fetal anomalies under the new law.
The bill passed in the Senate last month.
When deliberations on the bill began on the House floor Wednesday, nearly all Democrats walked out of the chamber.
They held a press conference voicing their opposition to the legislation.
Some of them returned to the chamber after the press conference as House Republicans spoke on the bill. No changes were made to the bill on the floor before the bill was given second reading.
Various groups have indicated they will challenge the ban in court once it becomes law. Planned Parenthood of South Carolina and Greenville Women’s Clinic filed a federal lawsuit asking for a judge to block the ban on abortions.
The full lawsuit can be read here: