South Carolina Supreme Court Strikes Down Heartbeat Law Banning Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 5, 2023   |   1:26PM   |   Columbia, South Carolina

The South Carolina Supreme Court has struck down the state’s heartbeat law banning abortion as unconstitutional because of a “right to privacy” even though privacy rights don’t allow someone to kill another person. The law prohibits killing babies in abortions when their heartbeat is detectable.

Earleir this year, a federal judge allowed the state’s heartbeat law protecting babies from abortions when their heartbeat can be detected at 6 weeks to take effect following the Supreme Court’s monumental decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

But abortion advocates took the abortion ban to state court in a legal challenge and won a victory today in their efforts to keep their abortion businesses open to kil babies.

“Six weeks is, quite simply, not a reasonable period of time” for a woman to know she is pregnant and “take reasonable steps to terminate that pregnancy,” the state’s high court said in its ruling.

“The State unquestionably has the authority to limit the right of privacy that protects women from state interference with her decision, but any such limitation must be reasonable and it must be meaningful in that the time frames imposed must afford a woman sufficient time to determine she is pregnant and to take reasonable steps to terminate that pregnancy. Six weeks is, quite simply, not a reasonable period of time for these two things to occur, and therefore the Act violates our state Constitution’s prohibition against unreasonable invasions of privacy,” Justice Kaye Hearn wrote in the majority opinion.

The decision is a misread of the privacy provisions of the state constitution. As AP reports, “In South Carolina, lawyers representing the state Legislature have argued that the right to privacy should be interpreted narrowly. During oral arguments this past October, they argued historical context suggests lawmakers intended to protect against searches and seizures when they ratified the right in 1971.”

The state’s Right to Privacy Amendment was passed in 1970, three years before the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We are beyond disappointed in the South Carolina Supreme Court’s decision,” said Lisa Van Riper, president of South Carolina Citizens for Life. “The court ruled in favor of the economic interests of the abortion industry whose primary source of income is killing unborn children.”

Van Riper continued, “We disagree with the majority opinion whose interpretation of the right to privacy is an overreach.”

Representative John McCravy, R-Greenwood, and chairman of the S.C. House Family Caucus said, “The U.S. Supreme Court, through their Dobbs decision this summer, handed the issue of abortion to state legislatures. Unfortunately, the South Carolina Supreme Court followed the path of the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade by creating a constitutional right to an abortion where none exists. Today’s decision fails to respect the concept of separation of powers and strips the people of this state from having a say in a decision that was meant to reflect their voices. Instead, South Carolina is left with a decision that is not reflective of our state’s political process or will.”

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Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, the Greenville Women’s Clinic abortion business, and two abortionists sued the state to overturn the Fetal Heartbeat Act after the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the federal injunction against it.

The State Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) Abortion Report for 2021 shows that the Planned Parenthood facilities in Charleston and Columbia collectively killed 3,604 babies waiting to be born in South Carolina. That is 57 percent of the 6,279 abortions committed in South Carolina in 2021. The Greenville Women’s Clinic, also a plaintiff in the lawsuit to overturn the Fetal Heartbeat Act, killed 2,603 unborn babies in 2021, according to the DHEC report. Planned Parenthood killed 1,832 unborn black babies while Greenville Women’s Center killed 1,031 unborn back children, according to DHEC records.

The heartbeat law could save as many as half or more of those babies from abortions until the state has a full-fledged abortion ban in place.

A Fall Trafalar Group poll in South Carolina shows 61% of state residents want abortions banned — either when the unborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected or starting from conception.

As LifeNews reported, the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, with a 6-3 majority ruling in the Dobbs case that “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion” — allowing states to ban abortions and protect unborn babies. The high court also ruled 6-3 uphold the Mississippi 15-week abortion ban so states can further limit abortions and to get rid of the false viability standard.

Chief Justice John Roberts technically voted for the judgment but, in his concurring opinion, disagreed with the reasoning and said he wanted to keep abortions legal but with a new standard.