The South Carolina Supreme Court upheld the state’s six-week ban on abortion Wednesday, reversing a previous decision.
The court, which became a conservative majority due to Justice Kaye Hearn retiring at the age of 72 in February, ruled in January that a similar law passed in 2021 violated a woman’s right to privacy under the state constitution. State legislators passed a new six-week ban in May and were immediately sued by Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, but this time the court determined in a 4-1 decision that South Carolina has a “compelling interest in protecting the lives of unborn children,” according to the ruling.
“That finding is indisputable and one we must respect,” the court wrote. “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. It would be a rogue imposition of will by the judiciary for us to say that the legislature’s determination is unreasonable as a matter of law—particularly on the record before us and in the specific context of a claim arising under the privacy provision in article I, section 10 of our state constitution.”
BREAKING NEWS! The South Carolina Supreme Court has upheld the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act. #southcarolinasupremecourt #scfetalheartbeat #prolife #life4sc #savethebabyhumans pic.twitter.com/gX491Hulz8
— SC Citizens for Life (@LIFEforSC) August 23, 2023
The “Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act,” bans abortion after a heartbeat is detected, often at six weeks, with limited restrictions in the cases of rape and incest, or to preserve the physical health of the mother, according to the legislation. Planned Parenthood argued in the lawsuit that the new law “blatantly disregards that precedent” set by the court’s previous ruling on the issue.
Chief Justice Donald Beatty was the sole holdout, writing in his dissent that the majority “abandoned previous precedent,” according to court documents.
“Today, however, the majority has abandoned the precedent established just months earlier by this Court and, despite its insistence otherwise, has turned a blind eye to the obvious fact that the 2021 Act and the 2023 Act are the same,” Beatty wrote. “The result will essentially force an untold number of affected women to give birth without their consent. I am hard-pressed to think of a greater governmental intrusion by a political body.”
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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