A South Carolina circuit court judge rejected a challenge to the Palmetto State’s ‘heartbeat bill’ – a piece of pro-life legislation which suddenly grew teeth in the aftermath of the U.S. supreme court’s bombshell decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
S.C. circuit court judge Casey Manning refused to block the implementation of the state law prior to a decision on its constitutionality being issued by the S.C. supreme court.
The South Atlantic office of national abortion provider Planned Parenthood had asked Manning to declare the heartbeat bill an unconstitutional invasion of privacy – and to enjoin the state from enforcing it prior to the supreme court ruling on the matter.
Signed into law last February, the ‘heartbeat bill’ banned a majority of abortions in the Palmetto State once a fetal heartbeat was detected. Exceptions were made for cases involving rape or incest.
Manning declined to discuss an(other) injunction of this law, instead issuing an order that sent the matter to the state supreme court “to definitively resolve not only the constitutionality of the heartbeat bill but also to determine whether there is a right to abortion in the South Carolina Constitution more generally.”
“This court respectfully requests that the supreme court consider removing this case to its original jurisdiction,” Manning wrote in his order.
Original jurisdiction refers to the right of a particular court to hear a certain case ahead of any other court – if it chooses to do so. In asking the state supreme court to take the case, Manning concurred with a motion made by S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson on behalf of the state.
“This is a monumental case and we argued to judge Manning that it should be moved to the South Carolina supreme court,” said Robert Kittle, a spokesman for the attorney general.
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Earlier this year, the U.S. supreme court overturned Roe v. Wade via the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision. According to that ruling (.pdf), “the (U.S.) Constitution does not confer a right to abortion.”
The court added that Roe v. Wade “must be overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives.”
Will the South Carolina supreme court see the issue the same way?
We shall see … assuming the five justices agree to hear the case.
Attorney Kevin Hall of the Columbia office of the Womble Bond Dickinson law firm appeared before judge Manning on behalf of S.C. speaker of the House Murrell Smith and S.C. Senate president Thomas Alexander.
“Speaker Smith and president Alexander are pleased with judge Manning’s decision to facilitate transfer of this case to the S.C. supreme court,” Hall told me shortly after the hearing.
Hall declined to speculate on whether – or when – the court might decide to hear the case. The justices could decline to take the case, which would kick it back to Manning’s court.
While I have made my personal view on this issue abundantly clear over the years (I believe life is the “indispensable liberty” and that it begins at conception), this news outlet is home to differing views on the subject. Those views are not only welcomed, but it is my intention for FITSNews to continue serving as a place where anyone with an intelligent take on any issue is invited to share it with our readers.
Count on this news outlet to continue tracking this issue as it makes its way through the courts … and as it makes its way through the S.C. General Assembly.
THE ORDER …
(Via: S.C. Fifth Judicial Circuit)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has LOTS of hats (including that old school Toronto Blue Jays’ lid pictured above).
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