Gov. McMaster signs South Carolina fetal heartbeat bill into law

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 10:47 AM EDT|Updated: May. 25, 2023 at 5:47 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) - Gov. Henry McMaster signed the six-week abortion ban bill into law in a private ceremony Thursday, according to a statement from his office.

The governor was joined by lawmakers and advocates to sign S.474, or the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act into law. It bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is typically around six weeks of pregnancy. It also contains exceptions for the mother’s life and health, medical emergencies as well as fatal fetal anomalies.

For cases of rape or incest, abortions are allowed up to 12 weeks under the new law.

With McMaster’s signature, the law is effective immediately in South Carolina.

(Source: Henry McMaster/YouTube)

“With my signature, the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act is now law and will begin saving the lives of unborn children immediately,” said McMaster. “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.”

Planned Parenthood, the Greenville Women’s Clinic and two doctors all later filed a lawsuit in Richland County to challenge the law, citing the South Carolina Supreme Court’s decision that struck down a previous version earlier this year.

Stay with WMBF News for updates.