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South Carolina’s Fetal Heartbeat Act Upheld by South Carolina Supreme Court

Aug 23, 2023 | 2023 Press Releases, Press Releases, Press Room

WASHINGTON – Today, the South Carolina Supreme Court upheld South Carolina’s 2023 Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act in a 4-1 ruling.

South Carolina Supreme Court Justice John Kittredge, writing for the majority, concluded:

…the legislature has found that the State has a compelling interest in protecting the lives of unborn children. That finding is indisputable and one we must respect. The legislature has further determined, after vigorous debate and compromise, that its interest in protecting the unborn becomes actionable upon the detection of a fetal heartbeat via ultrasound by qualified medical personnel.

“South Carolina’s new law will save hundreds of lives each month,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “We thank the South Carolina legislature and Governor Henry McMaster for their dedication to protecting the right to life. We also praise our South Carolina affiliate, South Carolina Citizens for Life, for their hard work and diligence in seeing the bill pass and become law.”

Governor McMaster signed the law on May 25, 2023, two days after the South Carolina Senate approved the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act in a vote of 27-19. Less than two weeks before, the South Carolina House passed the law by a vote of 82-33.

Lisa Van Riper, president of South Carolina Citizens for Life, stated at the time, “This act not only protects unborn children with a detectable heartbeat from abortion on demand, but also signals that the child in the womb is a welcome member of our society.”

According to the South Carolina State Department of Health and Environmental Control, there are approximately 1,000 abortions per month—largely due to out-of-state abortion traffic. Enactment of the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act is expected to reduce the number of abortions occurring in South Carolina to 200-250 per month.

Founded in 1968, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of affiliates in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia and more than 3,000 local chapters, is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement, National Right to Life works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.