Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit against South Carolina in light of new abortion restrictions that Governor Henry McMaster (R) signed into law on Thursday.
The lawsuit, jointly filed by Planned Parenthood and Greenville Women’s Clinic, seeks to challenge the South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act, which prohibits abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected in most circumstances. Similar laws have been passed in other states, but they have been ensnared in legal challenges, according to The Associated Press.
“Important health care decisions should be made by individuals in consultation with their trusted medical providers and their families, not politicians. Abortion is a critical component of comprehensive reproductive health care, and everyone deserves to have access to the health care they need, without politicians controlling when, how, or why,” said Dr. Katherine Farris, Chief Medical Officer for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.
Planned Parenthood has also called the South Carolina law’s restrictions “absurd.”
As South Carolina’s governor signed into law an unconstitutional abortion ban, @PPFA and @ReproRights sued immediately to prevent this absurd restriction on health care — in the middle of a pandemic — from taking effect. https://t.co/NIwEF98TbP
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) February 18, 2021
A federal courthouse will hold a hearing Friday on whether the new restrictions can stay in place amidst the challenge to the law, which South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson plans to “vigorously defend” in court. “My office will vigorously defend this law in court because there is nothing more important than protecting life,” said Wilson in a statement Thursday.
The law doesn’t apply to abortion for other circumstances, such as for rape and incest, if the life of the mother is in danger, or if the child would not be viable outside the womb because of a fetal abnormality, and as such, those abortions can continue in the state, reports The Post and Courier. South Carolina has three abortion clinics, all of which are operated by either Planned Parenthood or the Greenville Women’s Clinic, the plaintiffs in the case.
McMaster has also vowed to defend the law against challenges: “Today, we made history. The Heartbeat Bill is now the law of South Carolina and we will defend it with everything in us because there is nothing more important than protecting the sanctity of life.”
Today, we made history. The Heartbeat Bill is now the law of South Carolina and we will defend it with everything in us because there is nothing more important than protecting the sanctity of life! pic.twitter.com/n9ldH3CUAJ
— Gov. Henry McMaster (@henrymcmaster) February 18, 2021
March For Life, the organization that puts on the annual pro-life march in Washington, D.C., called the legislation a “major step forward.”
Gov. @henrymcmaster has taken a major step forward in promoting and protecting the dignity of the unborn through the signing of the South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act.
— March for Life (@March_for_Life) February 18, 2021