South Carolina Republican Gov. Henry McMaster signed a bill Thursday that aims to ban virtually all grounds for abortion. The bill found wide acceptance among lawmakers and will likely soon become law. But a day after the legislation passed the state’s lower house, Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion company, filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the measure from going into effect.

The bill was introduced under the name “South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Abortion Protection Act,” which is similar to abortion restriction laws previously passed by a dozen states. Although all are pending the Court’s provisions, since federal law, which takes precedence over state law, currently permits abortion.

“Today, we made history. The Heartbeat Bill is now the law of South Carolina, and we will defend it with everything in us because there is nothing more important than protecting the sanctity of life!” McMaster, a Republican, said in a statement on Twitter.

If passed, the bill would ban most abortions in the state once a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually around six weeks of pregnancy. The House gave its approval to the bill in a 79-35 vote on Wednesday. The Senate had already passed the bill in late January. 

While the measure would not punish a pregnant woman for undergoing an illegal abortion, it would punish the person who performed the abortion, who could be charged with a felony, sentenced to up to two years in prison, and fined $10,000 if convicted.

Thus, South Carolina joined a group of states that with different nuances have passed their version of legislation banning abortions, at least from when the unborn child’s heart is heard.

Most of these bills have resulted in a series of legal challenges in the courts. And now the states are hoping that with more lawsuits, they can join together to challenge, in the Supreme Court, federal legislation that classifies the right to choose to have an abortion as “fundamental.” 

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson issued a statement Thursday saying his office “will vigorously defend this law in court because there is nothing more important than protecting life,” Fox News reported.

As usual, every time this type of state law is passed, the abortion company Planned Parenthood files lawsuits claiming that the new legislation is unconstitutional. 

The lawmakers who promoted this legislation celebrated the victory after the House vote. “We’re about to do what I’ve been trying to do for 25 years: shut down the abortion industry in South Carolina,” Republican Sen. Larry Grooms told Fox News.

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