South Carolina Republican Gov. Henry McMaster signed a bill banning most abortions into law Thursday afternoon.
The “SC Fetal Heartbeat Protection from Abortion Act” — which bans abortions after the detection of a "fetal heartbeat" — was passed by the South Carolina Senate by a vote of 30-13 on Jan. 28. It passed the South Carolina House Wednesday with an overwhelming majority was given final approval Thursday before being sent to the governor for his signature.
Ann Warner, CEO of the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network, said she was "extremely disappointed and disgusted" by the passage of the bill during a public health crisis.
"This is how our lawmakers are choosing to spend our time, our resources and our money right now. We have a lot of huge problems that we're grappling with as a state, and this bill to ban abortion solves none, and, in fact, creates many, many problems, and poses a lot of potential harm to so many people in our state," Warner said.
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and the Greenville Women’s Clinic have filed a lawsuit against the state to stop the bill from going into effect, citing the bill's unconstitutionality under Roe v. Wade.
"The fact is that there will be a lawsuit filed. And that this will get tied up in court. And it will not come into effect anytime soon," Warner said. "Because it's so blatantly unconstitutional, there's just, there's just no way. It's a fantasy that the proponents of this bill have: that South Carolina is going to be the one to, you know, reverse Roe v. Wade."
According to reporting by The Post and Courier, the lawsuit against the bill, filed by Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and the Greenville Women’s Clinic, called for a hearing on the bill Friday. As of Friday, a federal judge temporarily blocked the "fetal heartbeat" bill signed Thursday by McMaster from becoming law for 14 days. The judge said she will renew the 14-day order ahead of a March 9 hearing on an "extensive preliminary injunction."
In law, an injunction is when a court compels or forces to party to do, or refrain from performing, a specific act.
The defendants in the lawsuit include South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, director of Department of Health and Environmental Control Edward Simmer and the S.C. Board of Medical Examiners' president Anne Cook, in addition to other members of the board.
This article was updated at 3:25 p.m. on Feb. 19, 2021.