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Federal judge temporarily blocks South Carolina 'heartbeat' abortion ban

February 19, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 47.8%. 1 min read.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signs into law a bill banning almost all abortions in the state Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, in Columbia, S.C. On the same day, Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit to stop the measure from going into effect. The state House approved the ???South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act??? on a 79-35 vote Wednesday and gave it a final procedural vote Thursday before sending it to McMaster.?? (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)

A federal judge blocked South Carolina's so-called "heartbeat" abortion ban on Friday, a day after it was signed into law.

(CNN)A federal judge blocked South Carolina's so-called "heartbeat" abortion ban on Friday, a day after it was signed into law.

The South Carolina law -- the first such restriction passed in 2021 as anti-abortion advocates seek to limit access to the procedure -- would block the procedure at the detection of a fetal heartbeat, which can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy and before many people know they are pregnant.

The South Carolina law now joins nine other so-called gestational bans -- which bar abortions past a certain point in pregnancy -- passed in 2019, none of which have gone into effect.

Lewis wrote that the abortion providers demonstrated "a substantial likelihood of success" in their arguments that the law violated abortion seekers' rights, calling the law a "plainly unconstitutional ban on previability abortions. "

Abortion rights advocates had swiftly expressed opposition to the new law, which the South Carolina General Assembly passed on Wednesday and finalized on Thursday.

Before it was signed by South Carolina Republican Gov. Henry McMaster on Thursday, Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights challenged the measure.

Lawyers for the groups asked a federal judge to block the law on behalf of abortion providers Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and Greenville Women's Clinic, which operate the only three abortion clinics in South Carolina, according to court documents.

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic spokesperson Molly Rivera told CNN that they had stopped providing abortions as soon as the governor signed the bill.

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