South Carolina Governor Signs Abortion Ban; Planned Parenthood lawsuits

COLUMBIA, SC (AP) – The South Carolina governor signed a bill Thursday that bans most abortions, one of his top priorities since he took office more than four years ago. Planned Parenthood immediately sued, effectively preventing the new law from taking effect.

South Carolina’s “Abortion and Fetal Heartbeat Protection Act is similar to the abortion restriction laws that a dozen states have previously passed. They are all tied up in court. Federal law, which takes precedence over state law, currently allows abortion.

“There are many happy hearts beating in South Carolina right now,” proclaimed Republican Gov. Henry McMaster during a Statehouse ceremony attended by lawmakers who made the proposal a reality.

Immediately after you signed the bill, A group of legislators and members of the public, standing shoulder to shoulder and wearing masks to protect themselves against the coronavirus, began chanting the words “Praise God” to the tune of “Amazing Grace.”

The House passed the bill 79-35 on Wednesday. after hours of emotional speeches from both supporters and opponents, and on Thursday he gave final approval to the measure. Moments after Thursday’s vote, Planned Parenthood announced that it was filing a lawsuit. The South Carolina law, like those of other states currently being challenged, is “blatantly unconstitutional,” said Jenny Black, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.

Supporters of restrictive abortion laws are trying to take the matter before the United States Supreme Court in hopes that, with three justices appointed by former Republican President Donald Trump, the court can overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision supporting abortion rights. The Supreme Court has previously ruled that abortion is legal until the fetus is viable outside the womb, months after a heartbeat can be detected, Black noted.

State bills to restrict or ban abortion “are clearly absurd,” he said. “There is no other way to avoid it.”

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson issued a statement Thursday saying his office “will vigorously defend this law in court because there is nothing more important than protecting life.” He stood near McMaster while the governor signed the bill.

Opponents of abortion have pushed for the ban for years, but it got stuck in a procedural hurdle in the Senate. Republicans won three Senate seats in the November elections, and the bill was dubbed “Senate Bill No. 1.” show it was the top priority.

“We are about to do what I have been trying to do for 25 years: shutting down the abortion industry in South Carolina,” Republican Sen. Larry Grooms said moments before the governor signed the bill.

Democrats say Republicans wasted taxpayer money by passing a bill that everyone knew would be challenged in court. They also argue that there are more important issues that need your attention, such as COVID-19, health care, and education.

“We are tired of the hypocrisy,” said House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford. Rutherford said Democrats are also fed up with lawmakers across the aisle telling them they don’t care about life.

“We worry about life until death. We care about the birth. … We care about the people who eat, the people who don’t die because they can’t get vaccinated, ”he said.

The Planned Parenthood and Center for Reproductive Rights lawsuit argues that the new South Carolina law “is a flagrant violation of nearly five decades of established Supreme Court precedent.” The lawsuit says that a high rate of women, especially African Americans, die during or immediately after childbirth in South Carolina. The abortion ban would hit low-income women the most, who would not be able to travel to a nearby state where abortion is still allowed, the lawsuit says.

A hearing to determine whether the law should be suspended while the lawsuit is heard is scheduled for Friday afternoon.

Like Democratic lawmakers, Black said the focus on abortion not only wastes money fighting established law, it also ignores a number of other important issues.

“If legislators are really interested in improving life, we have a long list of priorities that they can focus on,” he said.

South Carolina law requires doctors to perform ultrasounds to check the fetal heartbeat. If one is detected, abortion can only be performed if the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest or if the mother’s life is in danger.

The measure does not punish a pregnant woman for undergoing an illegal abortion, but the person who performed the abortion could be charged with a felony, sentenced up to two years and fined $ 10,000 if convicted.


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