South Carolina leaders are fighting in court to be allowed to protect unborn babies from abortions.
On Friday, Gov. Henry McMaster, state House Speaker Jay Lucas and state Attorney General Alan Wilson filed a notice of their plans to appeal a judge’s ruling blocking the new state heartbeat law, The State reports.
“We have appealed the federal court’s preliminary injunction against the Fetal Heartbeat Bill,” McMaster said, according to WNCT 9. “No fight is more worthy of our time and energy than the fight to protect life in South Carolina.”
The pro-life Republican leaders plan to appeal to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals after federal Judge Mary Lewis blocked the law in March.
If enforced, the legislation has the potential to save thousands of babies’ lives. According to state health data, more than 5,100 abortions were done in 2019.
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The South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act prohibits abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, typically about six weeks of pregnancy. Exceptions are allowed in cases of rape, incest or risks to the mother’s life. Abortionists who violate the law could face a $10,000 fine or imprisonment for up to two years.
Planned Parenthood and the Greenville Women’s Clinic filed a lawsuit immediately after the law passed. Then last week, the pro-abortion groups asked for a summary judgment, arguing that
“the other party’s case has so little factual or legal basis that it should be thrown out,” according to The State.
But pro-life leaders hope the case will go to the U.S. Supreme Court and prompt the justices to overturn Roe v. Wade.
In March, state Attorney General Alan Wilson defended the pro-life law in court, telling Lewis that a “heartbeat is a key indicator of human life. As set forth in the General Assembly’s findings the presence of a heartbeat is a sign that the fetus is highly likely to survive until live birth,” according to The State.
A number of states have passed heartbeat laws in recent years, but all have been banned from enforcing them due to legal challenges by abortion activist groups. Other states with heartbeat laws include Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio and Tennessee. However, all of the states have been blocked from enforcing them by court orders.
Polls suggest many Americans support strong limits on abortion. A 2019 Hill-HarrisX survey found that 55 percent of voters said they do not think laws banning abortions after six weeks – when an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable – are too restrictive. Gallup polls also consistently have found that a majority of Americans think all or most abortions should be illegal.
Some pro-lifers have renewed hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold an abortion ban and overturn Roe v. Wade. Others, however, are hesitant because of concerns about losing the court battle and being forced to reimburse pro-abortion groups for their legal fees.
Though the high court currently has a conservative majority, Chief Justice John Roberts, who was nominated by a Republican president, has sided with the liberal justices on a number of occasions.
In 1973, the Supreme Court took away the states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion under Roe v. Wade, and instead forced states to legalize abortion on demand. Roe made the United States one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks.