SC Supreme Court Declines To Reverse Its Decision on Pro-Life Law

Feb 8, 2023

COLUMBIA, SC – Today, the South Carolina Supreme Court denied an appeal to rehear its previous ruling on the state’s pro-life law that protects life by prohibiting abortions after a baby’s heartbeat has been detected at approximately six weeks gestation. 

Last month on January 5 in a 3-2 decision, the Court overturned South Carolina’s Fetal Heartbeat and Protection Act and ruled that is an unreasonable restriction upon a woman’s right to privacy to prevent her from having an abortion. 

On February 18, 2021, Governor Henry McMaster signed the South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act, which would require an abortion provider to test for a detectable fetal heartbeat prior to performing the procedure. If a heartbeat is detected, abortion is prohibited, except for a medical emergency. 

The day after Governor McMaster signed the law into effect, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, a local abortion facility, Greenville Women's Clinic and two physicians, Katherine Farris, M.D. and Terry Buffkin, M.D, filed a federal lawsuit against the governor and various legislative leaders. 

The Court wrote, “Today we consider whether The Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act (‘the Act’) violates a woman's constitutional right to privacy, as guaranteed in article I, section 10 of the South Carolina Constitution. We hold that the decision to terminate a pregnancy rests upon the utmost personal and private considerations imaginable, and implicates a woman's right to privacy. While this right is not absolute, and must be balanced against the State's interest in protecting unborn life, this Act, which severely limits—and in many instances completely forecloses—abortion, is an unreasonable restriction upon a woman's right to privacy and is therefore unconstitutional.”

Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief in Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, et al., v. South Carolina, et al., & G. Murrell Smith Jr., et al., on behalf of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) and the Frederick Douglass Foundation that supports South Carolina’s decision to protect innocent and defenseless human life in the womb and emphasizes that all states have a compelling interest in preventing eugenic abortions. 

The NHCLC and Frederick Douglass Foundation represent millions of African Americans and Hispanics. These minority communities have been the direct target of abortion, and most Planned Parenthood’s abortion clinics are in black and Hispanic neighborhoods. Liberty Counsel also filed an amicus brief on behalf of the NHCLC and the Frederick Douglass Foundation at the U.S. Supreme Court in the Dobbs abortion case. In overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the High Court cited to this brief acknowledging that abortion has disproportionally impacted the black community. 

Abortion has a dark eugenic foundation that violates key protections of the South Carolina Constitution. The founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, and the early abortion movement purposefully attempted to utilize abortion as a means of population control among those populations they considered lesser than white Americans. Even though Planned Parenthood masquerades as a benevolent organization claiming to offer “women’s health care services” to disadvantaged women, the abortion organization is primarily the reason why black babies are aborted in America three times more often than white babies, and Hispanic preborn children are killed 1½ times more often than whites. 

Liberty Counsel’s Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “There is no privacy interest in killing another human being. Judicial activists undermine the rule of law by becoming a law unto themselves. The people of South Carolina need to amend the Constitution to protect life. The lives of innocent unborn children should not be decided by three people. Life is a gift from our Creator.” 

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