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South Carolina's statehouse

COLUMBIA, South Carolina, May 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — If South Carolina’s “Heartbeat bill” reaches Gov. Henry McMaster’s desk, he will put his name to it.

The bill has been forwarded to the state Senate by Palmetto State’s House of Representatives.  

“I’ll sign it immediately, and it will go into effect,” the governor told the Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends. “A number of states have already done it. I think about five.”

“The momentum around the country is towards protecting life, and South Carolina is a pro-life state.”

McMaster predicts that the bill will be debated in the state senate next year and that it will pass.

The bill differs from Alabama’s Heartbeat law in that it makes some exceptions, the governor said.

“The main point is once that heartbeat is detected, then abortion is illegal — (with) exceptions.”

The fetal heartbeat can be detected after six weeks, but McMaster was reluctant to say this is when personhood begins.

“You’ve got to draw the line somewhere,” he said. “There’s a lot of people who say that you’re a person at conception. This says that once that heartbeat is detected, you can’t take that life.”

The governor said his state had passed a law two years ago criminalizing abortion once babies can feel pain, which is about 20 weeks “unless there are exceptions.”

“Life is precious,” McMaster said. “I think we need to focus on the life of that child, and that’s what this bill does.”

Introduced in January 2019, South Carolina’s Heartbeat bill, H. 3020, requires anyone committing an abortion to first perform an ultrasound to test for a fetal heartbeat and offer to show the ultrasound images to the pregnant woman. If a heartbeat is found, aborting the baby anyway would subject the abortionist to a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to two years in jail, except in cases of a physical medical threat to the mother.”

One of the findings of the state legislature in favor of the bill is that “fetal heartbeat is a key medical predictor that an unborn human individual will reach live birth.” The legislature cited  medical evidence that although up to 30 percent of natural pregnancies end in spontaneous miscarriages, less than five percent of them do after the heartbeat is detectable.