South Carolina Gov. Henry Mcmaster signed into law on Thursday a bill that banned most abortions in the state. Immediately after, Planned Parenthood sued, which effectively stopped the legislation from taking effect.
South Carolina’s “Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act” shares many similarities to abortion restriction legislations that a dozen other states already have. All of them are also being challenged in court.
The state’s lawmaking body passed the bill on Wednesday with a 79-35 vote. It came after hearing hours of testimonies from both sides. They listened to what people who support abortion and what those who disapprove of it had to say. The House then gave its approval on Thursday.
Immediately after this, Planned Parenthood revealed that it is going to file a lawsuit. The bill was “blatantly unconstitutional,” according to Planned Parenthood South Atlantic president and CEO Jenny Black.
Those who support laws that restrict or ban abortion continue to try to get this issue before the Supreme Court. They’re hoping that with the three justices appointed by President Donald Trump, they can overturn Roe v. Wade. However, Black pointed out that the Supreme Court had ruled that abortion is acceptable in the eyes of the law until the fetus becomes viable outside the womb of the mother.
She added that state bills or laws that try to stop abortion “are plainly absurd,” adding that “There is no other way around it.”
The state’s Attorney General, Alan Wilson, announced on Thursday that his office “will vigorously defend” the legislation in court. He said he believes nothing is “more important than protecting life.”
Planned Parenthood Immediately Files Lawsuit
State lawmakers who supported the bill went to celebrate its approval on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood’s suit against the said law says it is a “flagrant violation” of a long-settled Supreme Court precedent. It added that there is a high number of women in South Carolina, many of whom are African American, who pass away while giving birth or immediately after doing so. It also argues that the ban would greatly affect low-income women the most.
South Carolina’s new abortion law specifies that doctors need to perform ultrasounds first to check the heartbeat of the fetus. If they do find one, an abortion can only be performed if the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest or if there is a health condition that puts the mother at risk.
The said law, however, does not punish the pregnant woman who gets an abortion. Instead, it punishes the one who performed it, who could be charged with a felony. If found guilty under this new law, a person charged may receive a punishment of two years in prison or get fined $10,000.