Lowcountry political group leaders react to SC’s fetal heartbeat bill now in effect

Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 2:31 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 28, 2022 at 4:22 PM EDT
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BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - A federal judge has lifted a block on South Carolina’s so-called “fetal heartbeat bill” in the wake of last week’s Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade.

The South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat Protection From Abortion Act, which Republican Gov. Henry McMaster signed into law in February 2021, had been blocked from being enforced since right after McMaster signed it.

That changed on Monday, when a federal judge stayed the injunction that was blocking it, Attorney General Alan Wilson said.

“There was just instant emotion, devastation, people immediately wanting to know what can we do,” Emily Mayer, 3rd vice chair for the Democratic Party of Beaufort County, said.

Republicans feeling differently, as they look forward to what happens next.

“I think this is the first domino effect for what’s to come and when I say that, I think the biggest obstacle now is we need to start focusing on adoption reform and mental health,” Logan Cunningham, vice president of the Bluffton Republican Club, said.

Cunningham says they need to support mothers in those ways, but believes this decision brings fathers back into the discussion as well.

“The argument needs to be made for men to be treated with the equality to have that opinion to say, ‘I would like to keep this child as well,’ and I think this is a step to open up those conversations,” Cunningham said.

A protest like the ones seen around the country was held in Bluffton on Saturday.

“The beauty of choice is that should somebody not want to seek an abortion due to religious beliefs or personal beliefs, then they do not have to access abortion, but we cannot be restricting people who do need that access for a myriad of reasons,” Mayer said.

The bill includes exceptions for rape, incest, fetal anomalies and threats to the health of the mother. The bill also stipulates that doctors must give the sheriff the patient’s contact info within 24 hours if an abortion is performed on a woman who was pregnant as a result of rape or incest.

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