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Monday, December 4, 2023

Planned Parenthood sues to stop South Carolina 'heartbeat' abortion restrictions

Planned Parenthood is suing South Carolina to overturn the new “Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion” law, which restricts abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.

Within an hour of Republican Gov. Henry McMaster signing the bill Thursday morning, Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers filed the lawsuit in state court, alleging the law is unconstitutional. 

“State lawmakers have once again trampled on our right to make private health care decisions, ignoring warnings from health care providers and precedent set by the state’s highest court just a few months ago,” said Jenny Black, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. 

“The decision of if, when, and how to have a child is deeply personal, and politicians making that decision for anyone else is government overreach of the highest order,” Black added.

Planned Parenthood filed an emergency motion asking the court to block the law from taking effect while the lawsuit proceeds.

“Unless S.B. 474 is enjoined, these patients will be forced to travel out of state and wait days or weeks for an abortion, if they can obtain an abortion at all, and endure financial, physical, and emotional costs of forced pregnancy,” attorneys argued, according to court documents. 

Planned Parenthood’s complaint points out that the new heartbeat law is “nearly identical” to a law struck down by the South Carolina Supreme Court in January. In a 3-2 decision, the high court said the previous law infringed on a woman’s right to privacy under the state Constitution. Planned Parenthood had welcomed that decision as a “win for freedom” and a “monumental victory” for abortion rights in the South. 

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has pledged to defend the law in court.

“The General Assembly is sending another common sense pro-life bill to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law,” Wilson tweeted Tuesday. “We’ve defended the right to life in court before, and we’re ready and prepared to do it again if necessary.”


Fox News’ Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.

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