South Carolina bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy

The legislation went into effect immediately after it was signed by Governor Henry McMaster.

South Carolina Republican Governor Henry McMaster signed a bill into law Thursday that limits most abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy. The legislation became effective immediately.

The legislative proposal, known as the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act, passed the state House of Representatives by a vote of 82 to 33. Shortly thereafter, state senators were able to do the same with 27 votes in favor and 19 against.

Now, with the governor's signature, women in South Carolina are prohibited from having an abortion "after a fetal heartbeat has been detected, with exceptions for rape or incest during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, medical emergencies or fatal fetal anomalies."

The law also establishes that biological parents will be obligated to pay child support from the moment of conception.

"This is a great day for life in South Carolina," McMaster said after signing the bill, noting that it will save the lives of many unborn children.

The governor also addressed the legal challenges the legislation may face after Planned Parenthood vowed to file a lawsuit in state court.

"We stand ready to defend this legislation against any challenges and are confident we will succeed. The right to life must be preserved, and we will do everything we can to protect it," he said.

Recently, Nebraska's Republican Governor Jim Pillen also signed a bill that prevents abortions, though in Nebraska it is for those after 12 weeks. As in South Carolina, the measure went into effect immediately.