South Carolina AG Asks State Supreme Court to Uphold Heartbeat Law Banning Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jan 30, 2023   |   6:32PM   |   Columbia, South Carolina

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson urged the state Supreme Court on Monday to reconsider its decision to strike down a law that protects unborn babies from abortion once their heartbeat is detectable.

Wilson’s office filed the petition Monday in response to the 3-2 ruling by the South Carolina Supreme Court earlier this month, News 19 reports. The court ruled that the pro-life law violates the state constitutional right to privacy in response to a lawsuit from Planned Parenthood.

“We respectfully disagree with the court’s decision and believe the intent of the South Carolina Constitution is clear,” Wilson said in a statement. “The framers of our privacy provision did not conceive this provision as creating a right to abortion.”

The law, which passed in 2021, would protect unborn babies by prohibiting abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. It allows exceptions for rape, incest and cases when the mother’s life is at risk.

Wilson’s request has a chance of being granted. Justice Kaye Hearn, who wrote the majority opinion, just retired, and the South Carolina General Assembly has the task of appointing a new justice, according to the report. “… while the vote is later this week, Judge Gary Hill is all but assured to be the choice. That’s because two other potential candidates dropped out ahead of the vote. He should be seated on the bench by the time the court considers Wilson’s request,” the report continues.

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Pro-life Republicans lead the state legislature, and Gov. Henry McMaster is pro-life.

“I remain optimistic that we will prevail in our historic fight to protect and defend the right to, and the sanctity of, life,” McMaster said last week.

The governor also voiced support for legislation to ban the killing of all unborn babies in elective abortions.

The state health department reported 6,279 abortions in 2021. The heartbeat law could save as many as half or more of those babies from abortions.

A recent Trafalar Group poll in South Carolina found 61 percent of residents want abortions banned either when the unborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected or starting from conception.