Mary Margaret Olohan, DCNF
A federal judge temporarily blocked South Carolina’s near total abortion ban Friday barely a day after the governor signed it into law.
Republican South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signed the South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act into law Thursday after it overwhelmingly passed the state’s house Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis put a 14-day temporary restraining order on the law Friday, the Associated Press reported.
“We believe the Heartbeat Law is constitutional and deserves a vigorous defense to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary,” South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said in a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Every generation has a right and a duty to revisit issues as important as this one,” he continued. “The Heartbeat Law protects life. Nothing is more important or fundamental. Today’s temporary restraining order is only a first step, but the legal fight has just begun. We look forward to further arguing why this law should be valid.”
McMaster responded to news that the judge had blocked the abortion ban in a Friday tweet.
“No lawsuit can weaken our resolve to fight for life,” the governor said.
Like I said – we will defend this law every step of the way. No lawsuit can weaken our resolve to fight for life. https://t.co/u5gZsw9sA5
— Gov. Henry McMaster (@henrymcmaster) February 19, 2021
The heartbeat law would require testing for a heartbeat before an abortion can be performed and would ban abortions if the unborn baby’s heartbeat could be detected. The bill, which allows exceptions in cases of rape and incest, would not punish the mother for getting an illegal abortion but would hold the person who performed the abortion liable.
During a press conference Wednesday, McMaster called the bill “one of the most pro-life in the country.”
Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights announced Thursday that they were suing to stop the bill from being implemented.
“Even after voters elected pro-sexual and reproductive health majorities in both chambers of Congress and the presidency, state legislatures across the country are doubling down on their attempts to systematically block access to abortion,” Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson said in a statement. “To make a dangerous situation worse, South Carolina politicians just used an abortion ban to target and re-victimize sexual assault survivors — all while the pandemic rages on. This is politics at its worst.”
“Planned Parenthood will continue doing what these elected officials refuse to do: ensure every person has access to basic health care, including abortion, if and when they need it,” she added. “No matter what.”