South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat Protection from Abortion Act (S 32)
This law was last updated on Aug 29, 2019
S 32 would prohibit the performance of an abortion when a fetal heartbeat has been detected.
A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks of pregnancy—two weeks after a person’s first missed period—and well before many even realize that they are pregnant.
Prior to the performance or inducement of an abortion, the bill would require an abortion provider to perform an obstetric ultrasound on the pregnant person, “using whichever method the physician and patient agree is best under the circumstance.” The provider would be required to display the ultrasound images so that the pregnant person may view them, and record a written medical description of the ultrasound images of any present and viewable fetal cardiac activity.
If a pregnancy is at least eight weeks after fertilization, the abortion provider would be required to inform the pregnant person that it may be possible to make the heartbeat audible and ask them if they would like to hear the heartbeat.
The bill would prohibit a person from performing or inducing or attempting to perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant person before a physician determines whether the fetus has a detectable heartbeat.
A person who fails to first determine whether a fetal heartbeat is detectable would be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, be fined $10,000 or imprisoned up to two years, or both.
This would not apply to a physician who performs or induces the abortion if the physician determines that a medical emergency exists.
The bill would prohibit a person from performing or inducing or attempting to perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant person when a fetal heartbeat has been detected.
A person who violates this provision would be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, be fined $10,000 or imprisoned up to two years, or both.
This would not apply to a physician who performs a medical procedure that is designed or intended to prevent the death of the pregnant person or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant person.
The bill provides that the pregnant person who receives such an abortion may not be criminally prosecuted or subject to a civil or criminal penalty for violating any provisions of this law.
Women’s Right to Know Act
The bill would amend Section 44-41-330(A)(1) of the Women’s Right to Know Act to require the abortion provider to inform the pregnant person when a fetal heartbeat is detected, and the statistical probability of bringing the fetus to term based on the gestational age of the fetus.
Roe v. Wade
The bill provides that in the case of an overruling of Roe v. Wade, or any other court order or judgment restoring, expanding, or clarifying the authority of states to prohibit or regulate abortion entirely or in part, the attorney general may apply to the pertinent state or federal court for either or both of the following:
- A declaration that any one or more sections specified in this law are constitutional;
- A judgment or order lifting an injunction against the enforcement of any one or more sections specified in this law.
If the attorney general fails to apply for the relief within 30 days of Roe v. Wade being overruled, any county prosecutor would be able to apply to the appropriate state or federal court for such relief.
12/12/18 – Prefiled.
1/8/19 – Introduced; referred to Committee on Medical Affairs.