South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed a bill on Thursday that prohibits an abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected during an ultrasound with very few exceptions, calling it a “happy day.”
“This is a great day. It’s a happy day,” the politician said during a packed event at the state Capitol. “There are a lot of happy hearts beating right now.”
According to CNN, the South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act specifically 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 detected, the doctor cannot perform the procedure unless it is believed it is a medical emergency; the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, or there is a fetal anomaly, the bill states.
A fetal heartbeat starts at between 90 and 110 bpm during the first weeks of pregnancy.
Any abortion providers who provide the procedure to patients outside of the bill’s expressed parameters could face fines and imprisonment.
McMaster has become the latest Republican to sign a so-called “heartbeat bill,” which was passed by the South Carolina General Assembly on Wednesday with a vote of 79-35, and finalized on Thursday.
Governor McMaster praised the bill saying, “This step we take today was long in coming and monumental in consequence,” he 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?”
The state’s new law banning most abortions is already facing a challenge in court as Planned Parenthood asked a federal judge to stop the state from enforcing it on Friday.