COLUMBIA, S.C., May 26 (UPI) -- Gov. Nikki Haley on Wednesday signed a bill making it illegal in her state to have an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The law is effective immediately and only allows for exceptions when the life of the mother is threatened or if there is a fetal abnormality that is likely to produce a stillborn. The signing makes South Carolina the 13th state in the U.S. to enact such abortion limitations.
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is based a 2005 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that concluded "fetal perception of pain is unlikely before the third trimester." The third trimester of a pregnancy begins at 28 weeks.
"After twenty weeks, the unborn child reacts to stimuli that would be recognized as painful if applied to an adult human, for example, by recoiling," the bill says.
Doctors convicted of violating the law would be fined or imprisoned up to three years on a third offense.
South Carolina joins Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin in the ban, which still keeps in line with the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973, which said states could restrict abortions after the fetus becomes viable in 24th to 28th week of pregnancy.