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South Carolina Supreme Court strikes down heartbeat law

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signing the heartbeat law. Associated Press/Photo by Jeffrey Collins

South Carolina Supreme Court strikes down heartbeat law

The South Carolina Supreme Court struck down a law Thursday that protects babies after a heartbeat is detected, saying it violates a right to privacy in the state constitution. The law included exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and protecting the life of the mother. Republican Gov. Henry McMaster signed the law in 2021, and Planned Parenthood South Atlantic sued in July. Now, the state protects babies in most cases after 20 weeks. 

What was the court’s reasoning? It usually takes about six weeks to detect a fetal heartbeat. The majority opinion, written by Justice Kaye Hearn, says six weeks is not enough time for a woman to know if she’s pregnant, and then take the necessary steps to get an abortion. She said that forcing women to get an abortion within such a short period constitutes an unreasonable invasion of privacy—something that’s prohibited in the state constitution. 

Dig deeper: Read Leah Savas’ article in Vitals on the challenges pro-lifers face now that Roe v. Wade, the case that legalized abortion, is overturned.

Mary Muncy

Mary Muncy is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. She graduated from World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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