An anti-abortion activist worships outside the U.S. Supreme Court four days after the court announced its decision to overturn federal abortion protections provided under Roe vs. Wade in Washington, D.C. on Monday as South Carolina abortion ban went into effect. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
June 28 (UPI) -- A South Carolina law to restrict most abortions has gone into effect after a federal judge lifted a block put against it, state officials said.
The state's Republican attorney general, Alan Wilson, announced Monday that its law to ban abortions after about six weeks was now in effect.
"Once Roe vs. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court, the decision on legally protecting the lives of unborn babies was returned to the states, so there was no longer any basis for blocking South Carolina's Heartbeat Law," Wilson said in a statement. "Our state is now carrying out a government's most scared and fundamental duty -- protecting life."
The legislation bans abortion when fetal cardiac activity is detected, which occurs around the sixth week of a pregnancy, often before most women know they are pregnant.
The law threatens doctors with felony charges and a two-year prison sentence for performing the medical procedure though there are exceptions if the fetus is the result of rape and incest and if the mother's life is in danger.
Though signed into law in February of last year, it was soon after blocked due to a challenge from Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.
However, court documents dated Monday state the Planned Parenthood branch had instructed the court that it was withdrawing its preliminary injunction.
In a statement, Jenny Black, the president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood South Atlanta, indicated that they planned to fight the law through different legal means.
"After last week's harmful Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe vs. Wade, it's clear that the best path to protect abortion access in South Carolina after around six weeks of pregnancy does not run through our existing federal court case," she said. "Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and our partners are dedicated to protecting reproductive freedom for all."
The state's Republican governor, Henry McMaster, celebrated the so-called heartbeat ban being instituted.
"Finally, it has gone into effect in South Carolina," he tweeted. "This is why Friday's U.S. Supreme Court decision is so important -- countless unborn children will be saved because of this law."
The announcement was made amid a flurry of lawsuit being field in states throughout the country in a last-minute ditch to prevent the abortion bans from going into effect following last week's ruling by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade, which provided the medical procedural with federal protections.
Faith Adams of Bangor, Maine, kneels in prayer at a praise and worship service outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on June 27, days after the court ruled to overturn the Roe vs. Wade abortion case. Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI | License Photo