South Carolina allows abortion past 6 weeks of pregnancy, overturns fetal heartbeat bill

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On Thursday, the South Carolina Supreme Court struck down the state’s fetal heartbeat bill which prevented the abortion of babies after their cardiac activity was detected in the womb, and said the law violated the “right to privacy” according to the state’s constitution. 

The Associated Press reports, that Justice Kaye Hearn wrote in the majority opinion, “The State unquestionably has the authority to limit the right of privacy that protects women from state interference with her decision, but any such limitation must be reasonable and it must be meaningful in that the time frames imposed must afford a woman sufficient time to determine she is pregnant and to take reasonable steps to terminate that pregnancy.”

“Six weeks is, quite simply, not a reasonable period of time for these two things to occur, and therefore the Act violates our state Constitution’s prohibition against unreasonable invasions of privacy,” Justice Kaye Hearn added.

The state Supreme Court decision returns restrictions to a window of 20 weeks for a woman to get an abortion. The fetal heartbeat bill limited the time to about six weeks, as that is how long it takes for a baby’s heart to grow and begin beating.

In February of 2021, GOP Governor Henry McMaster signed the fetal heartbeat bill into law. Soon after several lawsuits challenged the law and it was eventually suspended in federal court. 

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