Fetal Heartbeat Bill Is Now Law - Legal Challenges Already Underway

Feb 19, 2021

Gov. Henry McMaster signed the Fetal Heartbeat Bill into law at the Statehouse on Thursday, Feb.18, 2022
Credit Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

South Carolina has a new, restrictive abortion law. The House of Representatives this week gave final passage to the Fetal Heartbeat Bill which bans most abortions, and Gov. McMaster signed it into law.

While the new law is now in effect, it’s already being challenged in court by two groups, Planned Parenthood and the Greenville Women’s Clinic. Federal courts have found similar laws in other states to be unconstitutional, and the US Supreme Court has yet to rule on just how far a state can go in outlawing abortions. State Attorney General Alan Wilson has vowed to vigorously defend it in court.

The new law makes it illegal for a doctor to perform an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually at around 6 to 8 weeks of a pregnancy.

The House passed the bill on a mostly party line vote with Republicans strongly supporting the measure.