South Carolina governor signs bill banning most abortions

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) on Thursday signed a bill into law that would ban most abortions in the state, the latest state to enact stringent abortion restrictions.

The new law, dubbed the “South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act,” prohibits abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected and mandates that doctors conduct an ultrasound before performing an abortion to see if a heartbeat can be detected. The law contains exceptions for a fetus that is conceived by rape or incest, or if the mother’s life is in jeopardy.

Fetal heartbeats can be detected six to eight weeks into a pregnancy, sometimes before a woman is even aware she is pregnant.

Already a lawsuit: Democrats and abortion rights advocates have panned the legislation. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and Greenville Women’s Clinic already said Thursday they will file a lawsuit to try to block the law from taking effect.

“Abortion is a critical component of comprehensive reproductive health care, and everyone deserves to have access to the health care they need, without politicians controlling when, how, or why,” said Katherine Farris, chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.