SC Supreme Court Reverses Previous Stance and Upholds Pro-Life Law

Aug 23, 2023

COLUMBIA, SC – Today, the South Carolina Supreme Court upheld the state’s new “Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act” protecting unborn babies with a detectable fetal heartbeat after striking down the state’s previous six-week abortion ban earlier this year ruling it violated the state’s constitution.   

Justice John Kittredge wrote the 4-1 majority opinion and stated, “…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 state’s High Court noted the state’s legislature enacted the law after “vigorous debate and compromise” determining protecting the unborn becomes “actionable upon the detection of a fetal heartbeat.”

“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,” wrote the Court. 

Governor Henry McMaster stated, “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." 

The ruling is a complete reversal for South Carolina’s High Court. In January, the Court struck down the state’s original “Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act” in a 3-2 decision citing the six-week ban put an unreasonable restriction upon a woman’s right to privacy and allotted women insufficient time to decide about the pregnancy. However, this opinion was written by Justice Kaye Hearn, who recently retired, giving Justice D. Garrison Hill the chance to weigh in on the law. In addition, Justice John Few changed his opinion believing the new law was less “arbitrary,” and with the new law’s exceptions it was a “more reasonable standard by which to regulate most abortion.” 

After the Court struck down the original law, Gov. McMaster signed the new six-week law in May. 

Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief in defense of South Carolina’s original “heartbeat law.” However, the Court did not accept any amicus briefs while deliberating on this new law. Liberty Counsel’s brief in Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, et al., v. South Carolina, et al., & G. Murrell Smith Jr., et al., was filed 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, “We celebrate this decision and commend the South Carolina Supreme Court for reversing course. The sanctity of human life is a gift from our Creator. Therefore, every person, whether born or unborn, has a right to life. The goal of every state should be making the womb a safe place again.”

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