A judge temporarily blocked South Carolina's six-week abortion ban Friday until the state's Supreme Court can address a legal challenge brought by Planned Parenthood, the Washington Post reported.
"We will continue fighting to protect the lives of the unborn in South Carolina and the constitutional law that protects them. I hope that the Supreme Court will take this matter up without delay," South Carolina's Republican Governor Henry McMaster wrote Friday in response.
Gov. McMaster signed South Carolina's Senate Bill 474 into law Thursday.
"This is a great day for life in South Carolina, but the fight is not over. We stand ready to defend this legislation against any challenges and are confident we will succeed. The right to life must be preserved, and we will do everything we can to protect it," Gov. McMaster said in a statement Thursday.
The bill bans most abortions after six weeks, with exceptions for life and health of the mother as well as fatal fetal anomalies. Women pregnant as a result of rape or incest can legally seek abortions up to 12 weeks of pregnancy under certain conditions.
"With my signature, the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act is now law and will begin saving the lives of unborn children immediately," he wrote in a post on Twitter after signing the legislation.
"We stand ready to defend this legislation against any challenges because there is no more important right than the right to life."
As expected, the legal challenge was filed immediately after the legislation was signed.
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, Greenville Women's Clinic, Dr. Katherine Farris and Dr. Terry Buffkin are named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
Several parties were named as defendants in Planned Parenthood's legal challenge to SB 474. Among the defendants are the state of South Carolina, the state's attorney general, the state's director of the Department of Health and Environmental Control, multiple members of the state's Board of Medical Examiners, multiple members of the state's Board of Nursing, and solicitors for South Carolina's fifth, ninth, and thirteenth judicial circuits.
"While I respect Judge Newman’s decision, I remain convinced that the heartbeat bill is constitutional and that the Supreme Court will agree," South Carolina Senate President Thomas Alexander (R) said in a statement acquired by WLTX.
Gov. McMaster responded to the Judge Clifton Newman's decision to temporarily block the abortion ban by urging the state's high court to move as quickly as possible to determine its constitutionality.
"Moments ago, before 5pm, we filed an emergency motion requesting the S.C. Supreme Court to resolve this issue quickly. The life of every South Carolinian - born or unborn - is precious and it’s His gift to us," Gov. McMaster tweeted.
"The status quo should be maintained until the Supreme Court reviews its decision," Judge Newman said, as reported by the Associated Press. "It's going to end up there."
Until the Palmetto State's Supreme Court addresses the matter, the state's former law, which bans abortions after roughly 20 weeks, remains in effect.
Judge Clifton Newman, who was elected by South Carolina's General Assembly to serve as a circuit court judge in 2000, also presided over Alex Murdaugh's murder trial.
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