COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina 'fetal heartbeat' bill became law, effective immediately, after Governor Henry McMaster signed it Thursday afternoon.
"It is a duty that we share, as Americans and South Carolinians, to protect life above all else," the Governor said in his speech before signing the bill.
Many celebrated the new abortion law at the State House. One supporter told News 19, "family has always been important to me, life has always been important to me and so I want to stand and fight for the things that matter most."
Others were upset that the state is now banning abortions after about six to eight weeks of pregnancy. A woman against the bill said, "I think that it should be allowed far past a few weeks, after a woman can even realize she's pregnant. It's totally unfair."
The law, which bans most abortions in South Carolina, is set to face a tough legal battle with pro-choice organizations.
The Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood South Atlantic have filed a lawsuit. They've also requested the federal district court stay the law immediately. If the request is granted, the law can’t be enforced while it's being challenged in court.
"These things have happened in other states and in every single one of the other states, bills similar to this have been stayed," explained Susan Dunn, the Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union South Carolina. "There’s every reason to believe, because precedent is on the side of those requesting the stay, that this statute will not go into effect until it's tested in court."
The governor said South Carolina is ready for the fight.
"This step we take today was long in coming and monumental in consequence. But our battles are not over, yet I believe the dawn of victory is upon us," said McMaster during his speech.
The bill, which faced much opposition from Democrats, was fast tracked into law thanks to the Republican majority of the General Assembly.
Planned Parenthood’s hearing for the restraining order will be just one day after the bill passed on Friday, February 19.