South Carolina Legislature Passes Heartbeat Law Saving Babies From Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 23, 2023   |   7:02PM   |   Columbia, South Carolina

The South Carolina legislature has given final approval to a bill that would save babies from abortions by banning abortions after 6 weeks when an unborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected. The measure will now go to South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, who will sign it into law.

In a vote of 27-19, the Senate on Tuesday voted to approve House changes made to a six-week abortion ban — S. 474 — that would prohibit abortions once the heartbeat is able to be discerned.

The bill now heads to McMaster, who called the legislature back to pass a measure protecting life and prevent painful late-term abortions in South Carolina.

Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey said the state needed to pass the bill to protect babies and stop the influx of people from other states having abortions.

In February, DHEC reported that 504 South Carolina residents received an abortion, compared to 482 visitors, according to Massey. And in March, 525 S.C. residents and 433 visitors received abortions.

“The abortion landscape has changed considerably even from our last debate on the issue just last month,” Massey, R-Edgefield, said, referring to the upper chamber’s vote in April to reject a near-total abortion ban. “South Carolina has become the abortion capital of the southeast, and there’s really no other way to say that.”

The pro-life bill includes exceptions for rape and incest no more than 12 weeks, fatal fetal anomaly and the mother’s life. Under House modifications, the bill includes several new requirements, such as requiring child support to start at conception and allowing a judge to decide if a minor can have an abortion should a parent or guardian be unavailable.

Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, a leading pro-life group, applauded passage. SBA’s Caitlin Connors celebrated the bill’s passage:

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“South Carolina’s heartbeat protection reflects the will of the people and the science. A heartbeat is one of the key vital signs of life, and once that heartbeat is detected, a baby has more than a 90% chance of surviving to birth. This measure will save thousands of individuals each year who will enrich the lives of others and the state of South Carolina,” she told LifeNews. “We thank South Carolina House members for their persistence during marathon days last week when Democrats introduced 1,000 amendments as a stall tactic in their effort to continue late-term abortions, and we’re grateful the Senate today sent this much needed protection to Gov. McMaster’s desk.”

South Carolina will soon join the 18 states that protect babies from abortions at 15 weeks or earlier.

The state’s previous heartbeat law was struck down by the state Supreme Court, which left open the possibility of passing a new measure. The legislature was in the middle of finishing work on the heartbeat law when the session ended and McMaster ordered a special legislative session so the bill could move forward.

The bill passed by an 82-33 vote in the House, largely along party lines with two Democrats in the chamber joining Republicans.

According to the State Department of Health and Environmental Control, there currently are 1,000 abortions per month occurring in the Palmetto State largely because of out-of-state abortion traffic. That means the law would save hundreds of babies every month and thousands every year.