Judge shoots down Planned Parenthood's challenge to South Carolina's 'Heartbeat bill'

 May 18, 2024

The abortion debate in America continues to play out state-by-state in the court system, as pro-abortion groups level challenges in states where abortion laws are "strict."

According to the Washington Examiner, Planned Parenthood lost a challenge in court last week to extend the legal cutoff mark for performing abortions from the state law's current six weeks to nine weeks.

Planned Parenthood argued that it believes the baby's heart is fully formed at nine weeks, contrary to arguments by pro-life advocates who say the baby's heart begins to beat at the six-week mark.

The state signed into law its "Heartbeat bill" in 2023, in the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, similar to other states' actions on the abortion issue.


Richland County Judge Daniel Cobles issued the ruling shooting down Planned Parenthood's challenge to the bill, making it clear that the six-week rule will remain the law of the land.

"This court holds that it is clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that the General Assembly intended, and the public understood, that the time frame of the act would begin around the six-week mark," Cobles said.

The judge's ruling was also quickly celebrated by Gov. Henry McMaster (R-SC), who signed the bill into law last year.

"South Carolina’s heartbeat law secured another legal victory yesterday, with the trial court denying Planned Parenthood’s preliminary injunction. Life will continue to be protected in South Carolina, and the governor will continue his fight to protect it," McMaster's office said in a statement.

Fox News noted:

The state law defines a "fetal heartbeat" as "cardiac activity or the steady and repetitive rhythmic contraction of the fetal heart, within the gestational sac," according to the Charleston Post & Courier. Coble wrote in his Thursday decision that the state legislature clearly intended a six-week time frame in that regard.

Planned Parenthood responds

Not surprisingly, Planned Parenthood wasn't happy with the judge's final decision, as Planned Parenthood-South Atlantic president and CEO Jenny Black explained to Fox News Digital.

"Given the impact of this case on thousands of patients across South Carolina who have been unfairly denied abortion care, we will continue to demand that the courts apply the law as written. This fight is not over," Black said.

She added, "Our highest priority is giving our patients the care they need — no matter what. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic remains committed to helping every patient navigate the unjust and inhumane confines of South Carolina’s abortion ban."

Given the fact that South Carolina will be a crucial swing state in the 2024 election on top of abortion rising to the top of the list of white-hot political topics, it'll be interesting to see if the state holds the line.

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