COLUMBIA, S.C. (ChurchMilitant.com) - The culture of death has struck in America's deep south. In a 3–2 vote on Thursday, the South Carolina Supreme Court slashed a law protecting babies that reach six weeks old, about the time that a heartbeat can usually be detected.
In July 2022, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and Greenville Women's Clinic filed a lawsuit claiming that a law signed by Gov. Henry McMaster was unconstitutional on the grounds that it violated a woman's so-called "right to privacy."
The ruling nullifies a law that McMaster signed in February 2021, though it didn't go into effect until the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. In August 2021, the state's highest court temporarily blocked the law's enforcement. The law protects any unborn baby with a heartbeat, which can usually be detected at the six-week mark. At the time, McMaster called the bill a "major step forward in the pro-life movement here in South Carolina."
The South Carolina Catholic Conference also approved the 2021 bill. The conference's director, Michael Acquilano, celebrated the passage of the bill, declaring that it was "a historic day for the pro-life movement in South Carolina."
Republican South Carolina Supreme Court Justice Kaye Hearn, the second female member in the court's history, ruled:
We hold that the decision to terminate a pregnancy rests upon the utmost personal and private considerations imaginable, and implicates a woman's right to privacy. ... [T]his Act, which severely limits — and in many instances completely forecloses — abortion, is an unreasonable restriction upon a woman's right to privacy and is therefore unconstitutional.
Chief Justice Donald Beatty, the only Democrat on the court, claimed, "Our decision today is neither 'pro-choice' nor 'pro-life'; it merely recognizes that our state constitution grants every South Carolinian a right to privacy, equal protection, and due process of laws. This fundamental, constitutional mandate transcends politics and opinion."
In October 2022, Beatty claimed that six-week-old babies do not have heartbeats because, according to him, "It's really not a heartbeat. It's an electrical signal."
The state's privacy clause provides, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures and unreasonable invasions of privacy shall not be violated." But it does not include the right to abortion, like California or Colorado's constitution does.
South Carolina Supreme Court Justice John Kittredge, however, disagreed with Hearn's ruling, writing in his dissenting opinion, "Abortion presents an important moral and policy issue. The citizens, through their duly elected representatives, have spoken. The South Carolina legislature, not this court, should determine matters of policy."
Grayson Lambert, senior counsel for Gov. McMaster, argued, "At the end of the day, my friends on the other side, the petitioners, bear the burden to show that privacy falls within this language, and they can't do that."
Disagreeing with the ruling, McMaster blasted the court's decision, "With this opinion, the court has clearly exceeded its authority. The people have spoken through their elected representatives multiple times on this issue. I look forward to working with the General Assembly to correct this error."
On Thursday, Pro-abort White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre expressed her support for Hearn's ruling. She tweeted, "We are encouraged by South Carolina's Supreme Court ruling today on the state's extreme and dangerous abortion ban. Women should be able to make their own decisions about their bodies."
We are encouraged by South Carolina’s Supreme Court ruling today on the state’s extreme and dangerous abortion ban. Women should be able to make their own decisions about their bodies.— Karine Jean-Pierre (@PressSec) January 5, 2023
Jean-Pierre professes to be Catholic, yet is acting upon her same-sex attraction by being in a gay so-called marriage.
Church Militant reached out to several Catholic organizations in the State of South Carolina for comment on the court's ban, including South Carolina Citizens for Life, the South Carolina Catholic Conference and the Diocese of Charleston, but none responded before press time.