COLUMBIA, S.C. (TheBlaze/AP) — South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has signed legislation outlawing most abortions at 20 weeks beyond fertilization.
The law took effect Wednesday with the Republican governor’s signature. The only exceptions are if the mother’s life is in jeopardy or a doctor determines the fetus can’t survive outside the womb.
These bans are now in effect in 13 states and blocked by court challenges in three other. South Dakota’s ban takes effect July 1.
Under the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling establishing a nationwide right to abortion, states were permitted to restrict abortions after viability. But the ruling offered no legal definition for viability, saying it could range between 24 and 28 weeks into a pregnancy. The high court has yet to rule on the 20-week bans.
South Carolina state Rep. Wendy Nanney, who sponsored the bill, told WIS-TV she hopes this is the first step in “get[ting] rid of abortion altogether.”
“I firmly believe life begins at conception and anything we can do to protect human life I’m all for,” the Greenville Republican said.
The bill only affects hospitals, since the state’s three abortion clinics already do not perform the procedures beyond 15 weeks. A doctor at a hospital in South Carolina who does perform an abortion could face up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine, according to WIS-TV.
The South Carolina House approve the bill 79-29. The Senate passed it 36-9.