The South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has signed a bill on Thursday prohibiting an abortion if their is a fetal heartbeat detected during an ultrasound with very few exceptions. He becomes the first Republican to sign the heartbeat bill.
“This is a great day. It’s a happy day,” the Republican said during a packed event at the state Capitol. “There a lot of happy hearts beating right now.”
The South Carolina Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act states that a doctor must perform an ultrasound on a person seeking an abortion to determine if there is a fetal heartbeat.
If the heartbeat is found, a doctor cannot perform an abortion unless the physician believes it is a medical emergency, the pregnancy is the result of a rape or incest, or there is a fetal anomaly, the new bill says.
Abortion providers who provide the procedure outside those parameters could face fines and imprisonment.
The South Carolina General Assembly passed the bill on Wednesday 79-35, and it was finalized on Thursday according to the records online.
“South Carolina politicians just used an abortion ban to target and re-victimize sexual assault survivors — all while the pandemic rages on,” Planned Parenthood President and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson said in a statement Thursday. “This is politics at its worst.”
McMaster, meanwhile, praised the ban as a long-awaited priority for the state.
“This step we take today was long in coming and monumental in consequence,” McMaster said, asking, “If there’s not a right to life, then what life is there? What rights exist, if not the elementary, fundamental, profound right to life?”
After signing the bill, the governor held it high, while the packed crowd stood in applause. Members of the audience who attend the signing sang a chorus of “praise God” as the event came to a close.
Thanks to our friends at CNN for contributing to this article.