The South Carolina Supreme Court Strikes Down the State’s Ban on Abortion After Fetal Cardiac Activity Detected

Following the U.S. Supreme Court's June 2022 ruling on Dobbs, which returned abortion decisions to the states, there was news on Thursday of another state high court issuing an opinion on the practice—this time, in South Carolina.

The Associated Press reported:

“COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a ban on abortion after cardiac activity is detected—typically around six weeks—ruling the restriction enacted by the Deep South state violates a state constitutional right to privacy.

“The 3-2 decision comes nearly two years after Republican Gov. Henry McMaster signed the restriction into law. The ban, which included exceptions for pregnancies by rape or incest or pregnancies that endanger the patient’s life, drew lawsuits almost immediately.

“Justice Kaye Hearn wrote for the majority that the state ‘unquestionably’ has the authority to limit the right of privacy that protects a woman from state interference with her decision. But she added any limitation must afford a woman sufficient time to determine she is pregnant and ‘take reasonable steps to terminate that pregnancy.

“‘Six weeks is, quite simply, not a reasonable period of time for these two things to occur,’ Hearn added.”

The AP reported that South Carolina law at the moment “bars most abortions at the gestational age of 20 weeks.”

States across the country have weighed in on abortion's legality, including Georgia in November 2022 when it reinstated the Peach State's “fetal heartbeat” law (banning abortion at about six weeks) and, more recently, Arizona in late December when it determined that abortion was legal up to 15 weeks. Future rulings regarding this important issue will affect states across the nation.

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