SC’s fetal heartbeat bill will likely pass soon; Here’s what the law says.

SC’s fetal heartbeat bill will likely pass soon; Here’s what the law says.
Gov. Henry McMaster has said he intends to sign the Fetal Heartbeat Bill into law as soon as the state's General Assembly passes it. (Source: Live 5/File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina General Assembly is expected to pass the state’s Fetal Heartbeat Bill.

The final vote could come Wednesday afternoon, which would then send the bill to Gov. Henry McMaster’s desk.

Here’s a look at the bill as it now stands:

What would this bill do?

The bill would ban most abortions in South Carolina because abortions would not be allowed once a fetal heartbeat is detected. That usually happens around six to eight weeks after conception.

What are the penalties?

Doctors or healthcare providers who perform an abortion in violation of the law could face a felony charge with a $10,000 fine, two years in jail or both.

Are there exceptions?

Abortion would still be allowed in the following instances:

  • Rape
  • Incest
  • Fetal anomaly
  • Carrying the baby would harm the mother’s life.

Doctors must give the sheriff the patient’s contact info within 24 hours if an abortion is performed on a woman who was pregnant as a result of rape or incest.

How can I contact my lawmaker to express support or opposition to the law?

You can find contact information for your lawmakers here.

All of the lawmakers who represent you in state government are accessible and want to hear from their constituents.

What comes next?

The bill is expected to pass as early as Wednesday and will go to the governor’s desk. McMaster has indicated he will sign the bill into law.

But pro-choice groups like Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union are expected to immediately file a lawsuit claiming the law is unconstitutional.

Will it the law take effect in South Carolina immediately?

It is expected that any litigation surrounding the law would prevent it from immediately taking effect.

Some Republican lawmakers hope the bill will be used to challenge Roe v. Wade in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Democrats and some legal experts say that is unlikely, however, since other states have already passed similar laws that are waiting to be taken up by the high court.

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