South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) signed the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act Thursday morning, legislation that protects babies in the state from abortion from the time a heartbeat is detected.
McMaster’s signature on the bill now makes South Carolina the 23rd state to protect babies with a heartbeat and marks that half of the United States is now saving babies from abortion at or before 12 weeks.
With my signature, the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act is now law and will begin saving the lives of unborn children immediately. We stand ready to defend this legislation against any challenges because there is no more important right than the right to life.
— Gov. Henry McMaster (@henrymcmaster) May 25, 2023
McMaster (pictured above) was joined by members of the South Carolina General Assembly and leaders of the pro-life community as he signed S. 474 into law.
The act, which is effective immediately, prohibits abortions once a fetal heartbeat has been detected, with exceptions for rape and incest during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, the life of the mother, and fatal fetal anomalies.
“With my signature, the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act is now law and will begin saving the lives of unborn children immediately,” McMaster said in a statement. “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,” the governor asserted.
Previously, in South Carolina, abortion was lawful until 22 weeks’ gestation.
The act also requires biological fathers to pay child support beginning from the date of conception.
“South Carolina is the third state within ten days to establish a law protecting unborn children,” noted Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. “The North Carolina General Assembly overrode Gov. Roy Cooper’s (D) veto on a 12-week protection last week and Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen (R) on Monday signed a 12-week law.”
South Carolina has become the 23rd state to protect babies with a heartbeat!
Gov. @henrymcmaster & pro-life legislators' persistence in passing this protection reflects their compassion, respect for the people’s will, & adherence to the science.
Release: https://t.co/RmKGoNFKx9 pic.twitter.com/5u5SkGU4UI
— SBA Pro-Life America (@sbaprolife) May 25, 2023
“Twenty-five states now have laws to protect life between conception and 12 weeks,” said SBA Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “Not even a full year after Dobbs, the pro-life movement can celebrate that we are at the halfway point in the states thanks to the incredible momentum we have seen in North Carolina, South Carolina and Nebraska in just the last week and a half.”
“Today, we congratulate South Carolina on becoming the 23rd state to protect babies with a heartbeat,” the pro-life leader added. “The way Gov. McMaster and pro-life legislators persisted to get a heartbeat protection across the finish line this year is a reflection of their compassion, respect for the people’s will, and adherence to the science.”
SBA Pro-Life America also noted that, in May, Montana established “new laws to prevent taxpayer-funded abortions, require abortionists to report women harmed by abortion pills, protect the lives of abortion survivors, and require the licensing of abortion facilities.”
Similarly, in North Dakota, Gov. Doug Burgum (R) signed legislation protecting babies at all stages, and, in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a heartbeat law in April.
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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Henry McMaster” by Henry McMaster.