South Carolina's Fetal Heartbeat Act goes intoeffect after injunction removed by federal court

The law limits abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

Updated: June 27, 2022 - 9:02pm

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South Carolina's Fetal Heartbeat Act is now law after a court ended an injunction against the law, which became law in February 2021.

U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis removed the prior injunction after Planned Parenthood South Atlantic notified the court that it would withdraw its request for a preliminary injunction following Friday morning's U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.

"We've spent nearly a year and a half defending the Fetal Heartbeat Act in court," South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster wrote. "Finally, it has gone into effect in South Carolina. This is why Friday's U.S. Supreme Court decision is so important — countless unborn children will be saved because of this law."

The law limits abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected and requires the health care provider to offer a mother to view an ultrasound, hear the heartbeat and view information on the fetus' development before an abortion.

South Carolina previously banned abortions after 20 weeks. A fetal heartbeat can be detected after six to seven weeks, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

"The Heartbeat Law is now in effect," South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said. "Once Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court, the decision on legally protecting the lives of unborn babies was returned to the states, so there was no longer any basis for blocking South Carolina's Heartbeat Law. Our state is now carrying out a government's most sacred and fundamental duty, protecting life."

Wilson said that there are exceptions to the law allowing abortions in cases of rape or incest, as long as the fetus is fewer than 20 weeks along, and if an abortion is necessary to save the mother's life.

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