For Immediate Release: May 25, 2023
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HALF of States Now Have Laws to Protect Babies by 12 Weeks
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Gov. Henry McMaster today signed South Carolina’s Fetal Heartbeat and Protection From Abortion Act to save thousands of lives annually by protecting babies at a point when they have more than a 90% chance of surviving to birth. South Carolina is the third state within ten days to establish a law protecting unborn children. The North Carolina General Assembly overrode Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto on a 12-week protection last week and Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen on Monday signed a 12-week law.
S. 474, which goes into effect immediately, protects life at the point when a heartbeat is detected with exceptions for rape, incest, life of the mother, and fatal fetal anomaly. The state’s previous law allowed for unborn lives to be taken until 22 weeks gestation – seven weeks beyond the point when a baby can first feel pain. To increase support for mothers, the measure requires biological fathers to pay child support beginning from the date of conception.
Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser congratulated South Carolina on establishing a new lifesaving law:
“Twenty-five states now have laws to protect life between conception and 12 weeks. Not even a full year after Dobbs, the pro-life movement can celebrate that we are at the halfway point in the states thanks to the incredible momentum we have seen in North Carolina, South Carolina and Nebraska in just the last week and a half.
“Today, we congratulate South Carolina on becoming the 23rd state to protect babies with a heartbeat. The way Gov. McMaster and pro-life legislators persisted to get a heartbeat protection across the finish line this year is a reflection of their compassion, respect for the people’s will, and adherence to the science. Every year, thousands more irreplaceable South Carolinians will be allowed to live and discover that unique purpose in this world which only they can fulfill.”
In 2021, Gov. McMaster signed a law to protect the unborn when a heartbeat is detected. That law was challenged and permanently enjoined by the South Carolina Supreme Court on Jan. 5 of this year. Sponsors of S. 474 have crafted the measure to withstand a legal challenge and satisfy the majority of state Supreme Court justices.
The advancement of protections in North Carolina, South Carolina and Nebraska mirror the pro-life momentum seen in other states during the 2023 legislative session season. Montana, this month, established new laws to prevent taxpayer funded abortions, require abortionists to report women harmed by abortion pills, protect the lives of abortion survivors and require the licensing of abortion facilities. North Dakota Gov. Burgum signed a measure protecting babies at all stages. Florida Gov. DeSantis signed a heartbeat law in April. A Wyoming measure prohibiting dangerous abortion pills was also recently signed.
Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America is a network of more than one million pro-life Americans nationwide, dedicated to ending abortion by electing national leaders and advocating for laws that save lives, with a special calling to promote pro-life women leaders.