Boston, Mass., Aug 23, 2023 / 14:23 pm (CNA).
South Carolina’s Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a law protecting unborn babies with detectable heartbeats from abortion is constitutional and can go into effect.
The ruling ended a circuit court’s injunction that had temporarily blocked the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act, which was signed by Republican Gov. Henry McMaster in May. Planned Parenthood and Greenville Women’s Clinic had requested the injunction, claiming the law violates constitutional rights to privacy, equal protection, and substantive due process.
The 4-1 ruling is a victory for pro-life legislators in the state, which passed a similar law in 2021. That law was blocked more than a year later and struck down by the state Supreme Court in January of this year.
Since then, Justice Kaye Hearn — who was the only female on the court and wrote the majority opinion striking down the 2021 bill — retired because of age requirements and was replaced by Justice Garrison Hill.
In his opinion representing the majority, Justice John Kittredge wrote that “the Legislature has found that the state has a compelling interest in protecting the lives of unborn children.”
“That finding is indisputable and one we must respect. The Legislature has further determined, after vigorous debate and compromise, that its interest in protecting the unborn becomes actionable upon the detection of a fetal heartbeat via ultrasound by qualified medical personnel,” he wrote.
McMaster said in an online post Wednesday: “The Supreme Court’s ruling marks a historic moment in our state’s history and is the culmination of years of hard work and determination by so many in our state to ensure that the sanctity of life is protected.”
“With this victory, we protect the lives of countless unborn children and reaffirm South Carolina’s place as one of the most pro-life states in America,” he added.
SBA Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement: “Life is winning in the Palmetto State and in hearts and minds nationwide.”
“Today’s decision respects the compassionate will of South Carolinians and their legislators, who have repeatedly expressed their desire to protect babies from brutal abortions and provide true aid to mothers.”
“We are so thankful to Gov. McMaster for being a champion of life, Attorney General [Alan] Wilson and his team for fighting for the people, and all our allies for their persistence. From this moment on, thousands of lives will be saved,” she said.
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic’s president, Jenny Black, released a statement on X in reaction to the ruling.
“This abortion ban takes away people’s ability to control what happens to their bodies, forcing many South Carolinians to remain pregnant against their will,” she said in the statement.
If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!