State House

South Carolina Attorney General Appeals Supreme Court’s ‘Heartbeat Bill’ Ruling

Alan Wilson: “The intent of the South Carolina Constitution is clear …”

South Carolina attorney general Alan Wilson is asking South Carolina’s supreme court to reconsider its recent ruling striking down the state’s 2021 heartbeat bill

Wilson’s office released the following statement Monday morning:  

“Today, we filed in the South Carolina supreme court our petition to rehear the fetal heartbeat law ruling. We respectfully disagree with the Court’s decision and believe the intent of the South Carolina Constitution is clear. The framers of our privacy provision did not conceive this provision as creating a right to abortion.”

In a 3-2 decision earlier this month, the court struck down the measure – which outlawed most abortions after the point a fetal heartbeat was detected. The law also required abortion providers to give mothers an opportunity to hear the child’s heartbeat, view an ultrasound and receive information about the baby’s development.

Exceptions were provided for rape, incest and the mother’s health. Governor Henry McMaster signed the measure into law in February 2021. It was immediately enjoined by federal courts, but became law last summer when the U.S. supreme court struck down Roe v. Wade.

The law was challenged at the state level by the South Atlantic office of national abortion provider Planned Parenthood on the grounds it violated privacy protections enshrined in the S.C. Constitution (Article I, Section 10).

Chief justice Donald Beatty and associate justices John Few and Kaye Hearn agreed with that interpretation.

“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,” Hearn wrote for the majority.

In a dissenting opinion, associate justice John Kittredge said the state legislature had clearly spoken on the subject of abortion “in a democratic process through their elected representatives.”

“The majority of the court has opted for a judicial resolution of this policy dispute,” Kittredge added, blasting his colleagues for making “a stunning departure from settled law.”

“The legislative policy determination gives priority to protecting the life of the unborn child,” Kittredge noted.



Mark Powell (Provided)

J. Mark Powell is an award-winning former TV journalist, government communications veteran, and a political consultant. He is also an author and an avid Civil War enthusiast. Got a tip or a story idea for Mark? Email him at [email protected].



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