For Immediate Release: May 23, 2023
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina will soon join the 22 states that protect babies with a heartbeat thanks to the Senate’s passage of S. 474. The bill now heads to Gov. Henry McMaster, who called the legislature back to pass a measure protecting life and prevent painful late-term abortions in South Carolina. As North Carolina’s General Assembly last week overrode Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto to establish a 12-week protection, South Carolina and Virginia are the only remaining southern states that allow late-term abortion.
- 474 protects life at the point that a heartbeat is detected with exceptions for rape, incest, life of the mother, and fatal fetal anomaly. The state’s current law allows for unborn lives to be taken until 22 weeks gestation – seven weeks beyond the point when a baby can feel pain. To increase support for mothers, the measure requires biological fathers to pay child support beginning from the date of conception.
SBA Pro-Life America’s Southern Regional Director Caitlin Connors celebrated the bill’s passage:
“South Carolina’s heartbeat protection reflects the will of the people and the science. A heartbeat is one of the key vital signs of life, and once that heartbeat is detected, a baby has more than a 90% chance of surviving to birth. This measure will save thousands of individuals each year who will enrich the lives of others and the state of South Carolina.
“We thank South Carolina House members for their persistence during marathon days last week when Democrats introduced 1,000 amendments as a stall tactic in their effort to continue late-term abortions, and we’re grateful the Senate today sent this much needed protection to Gov. McMaster’s desk.”
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.
Passage of South Carolina’s heartbeat bill comes on the heels of a string of pro-life victories in the states this legislative session season. Most recently, in addition to North Carolina, Nebraska yesterday enacted a 12-week protection to eliminate elective painful, late-term abortion.
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.