South Carolina lawmakers send 6-week abortion ban to governor

South Carolina lawmakers in the Senate passed legislation Tuesday to ban abortion after fetal cardiac activity is detected, which occurs at ...

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South Carolina lawmakers in the Senate passed legislation Tuesday to ban abortion after fetal cardiac activity is detected, which occurs at around the sixth week of a pregnancy, which is often before most people know they are pregnant. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

May 24 (UPI) — Lawmakers in the Republican-controlled South Carolina legislature have passed controversial legislation to ban most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, sending it to the desk of Gov. Henry McMaster who said he will sign it into law “as soon as possible.”

“Tonight, our state is one step closer to protecting more innocent lives,” the Republican governor tweeted on Tuesday.

The bill, which passed the state Senate 27-19 on Tuesday and the state’s House 82-32 on May 17, prohibits abortions following the detection of fetal cardiac activity, which generally occurs at about six weeks’ gestation, which is before most people know they are pregnant.

The ban is enforced under threat that performing physicians will lose their medical license.

Exceptions up to 12 weeks’ gestation are in place for pregnancies the result of rape and incest and for fetal anomalies and if the pregnant person’s life is at risk.

The move comes as some two dozens states have moved to restrict, limit or ban abortion following the conservative-leaning Supreme Court revoking federal protections for the medical procedure last summer when justices overturned the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade ruling.

Though passed by the legislature and soon to be signed, the ban’s future is in doubt as less than half a year ago, the state’s Supreme Court overturned a similar six-week abortion ban by ruling it violated the state’s Constitution that includes a provision that references a citizen’s right to privacy.

Caitlin Connors, southern regional director of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life American organization, celebrated the passing of the law in a statement saying the ban will “save thousands of individuals each year who will enrich the lives of others and the state of South Carolina.”

Democrats in the state rebutted the prohibition as a “draconian” ban that will hurt communities across the state.

“This cruel ban rips away a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions with her doctor, and puts it in the hands of out-of-touch politicians who care nothing about women’s healthcare and all about their MAGA agenda,” South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Christale Spain said in a statement.

The American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina called Tuesday “a sad day for all South Carolinians who value personal freedom and bodily autonomy.”

“Abortion is healthcare. Abortion is our right. The fight for reproductive freedom does not end here, and the ACLU of South Carolina will stay in the fight until everyone is able to exercise their right to choose,” it said in a statement.

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