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McMaster supportive of stricter anti-abortion laws in SC if Roe is overturned

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 8:40 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - After Monday night’s report of a leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion indicated a majority of justices were poised to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, which currently protects women’s right to an abortion across the country,

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said he would be “very pleased” if the draft is in line with the high court’s ultimate ruling.

McMaster, a Republican, said he does not believe Roe has legal basis in the U.S. Constitution and told reporters Tuesday that he would be supportive of more aggressive anti-abortion legislation than what is already in place in South Carolina. The governor added he does not believe there should be exceptions for rape or incest in abortion bans.

“The more we can protect life in South Carolina, the better it will be for everybody involved,” McMaster said. “But we have laws, as you know, that we passed that are a lot better than a lot of other states and certain better than Roe against Wade.”

Last year, McMaster signed the “Fetal Heartbeat Bill” into law, which bans most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, typically around six weeks, making it one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the country.

While the legislation is on the books, it is currently blocked from taking effect following a federal court ruling the governor’s office most recently appealed in March.

The Supreme Court’s ultimate ruling could change that.

“Once that decision is issued, then we will know exactly what is necessary for us to do here in South Carolina,” McMaster said.

Other conservative lawmakers at the State House have proposed even more restrictive abortion legislation, including a bill that would ban all abortions, with no exceptions for rape or incest.

Under the legislation, S.988, people who administer or induce abortions would be prosecuted for murder.

The bill, which has yet to pass either chamber at the State House with just five days left in the current legislative session, was written to go into effect if Roe was totally or partially overturned.

“Ultimately I think you’ll have a lot of states addressing their laws and making them much more stringent than they are today,” McMaster said.

Lawmakers will wrap up their regular legislative session next week, leaving little time for them to pass a more restrictive abortion bill before they leave Columbia in anticipation of a Supreme Court ruling this summer.

However, McMaster said a special session to take up abortion legislation at that point would not be out of the question.

“If it’s necessary, I will call them back into session to address the issue,” he said.

The governor also called the reported leak of the draft opinion “outrageous,” saying he believes it “ought to be criminal” because it undermines the public’s confidence in the Supreme Court.

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