South Carolina Human Heartbeat Protection Act (S 96)
This law was last updated on Jan 9, 2017
S 96 would require a physician who is to perform or induce an abortion, or an allied health professional working in conjunction with the physician, to conduct an abdominal ultrasound test to determine whether the embryo or fetus has a detectable heartbeat. No ultrasound test is required in the case of an emergency.
If a fetal heartbeat is detected during the ultrasound test, the person performing the test shall inform the pregnant woman in writing: (1) that a fetal heartbeat was detected; (2) the statistical probability of bringing the fetus to term based upon his gestational age; and (3) that an abortion is prohibited pursuant to this code section.
The bill would prohibit an abortion if the abdominal ultrasound test detects a heartbeat and the pregnancy is in any week following the twelfth week of pregnancy commencing with conception rather than computed on the basis of the menstrual cycle.
It would not be a violation of this provision to perform an abortion if (1) the abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the mother; (2) a fetal heartbeat was not detected by the abdominal ultrasound test; (3) the pregnancy results from rape or incest; or (4) there is a medical emergency.
The penalty for violating this law, where violation is determined by the State Board of Medical Examiners, would result in the revocation of the medical license of the physician performing or inducing the abortion. The penalty provided in this item would be in addition to any other penalties provided by law.
A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks of pregnancy—two weeks after a woman’s first missed period—and well before many women even realize that they are pregnant.
Identical to S 623, which failed to pass in 2013.