South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has signed a bill into law that will ban abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy.
South Carolina is the latest among a number of Republican-led states like Florida and North Carolina that have significantly curtail abortion rights in the past year.
The Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act will begin saving the lives of unborn children immediately, according to Republican governor McMaster.
Under the law, women would only be allowed to obtain an abortion past the earliest stages of pregnancy under very few circumstances, including, in the event of a serious risk of substantial, irreversible impairment of a major bodily function to the pregnant person, or if performed to prevent their death; In the case of a diagnosis of a fatal fetal anomaly; and in certain cases of sexual assault or incest only up to the twelfth week of pregnancy and only if the doctor reports the assault to the sheriff in the county where the abortion is provided, potentially against the wishes of the patient.
Abortion is already difficult to access in South Carolina, with only three abortion clinics in the state and a range of limitations on access imposed by state lawmakers. South Carolina women are three times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth than the average U.S. woman, says Planned Parenthood.
“South Carolina lawmakers are playing politics with people’s lives, blocking access to essential health care while ignoring soaring rates of maternal and infant mortality in our state,” said Jenny Black, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.
A new report from ANSIRH shows how health care providers have been unable to provide the standard of care in states with abortion bans since the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, leading to harm and negative health outcomes for patients.
The White House condemned the legislation, saying Republican officials are dismantling women’s rights across the South, putting their health and lives in jeopardy.
“South Carolina’s ban will cut off access to abortion for women in the state and those across the entire region for whom South Carolina is their closest option for care,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
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