By Holly Gatling, Executive Director, South Carolina Citizens for Life
COLUMBIA, S.C. – In a unanimous 5-0 decision, the South Carolina Supreme Court has temporarily blocked the Fetal Heartbeat Act while the State Senate Medical Affairs Committee heard historic testimony for restoring legal protection to the unborn.
In a five-page decision, the high court granted Planned Parenthood and several abortionists the injunction which now means abortions are legal in South Carolina through the 20th week. In 2016 the General Assembly passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act that stopped most abortions at 20 weeks when the baby is scientifically known to feel pain.
According to Fox Carolina (WMBF) breaking news, Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office released the following statement, “While we are disappointed, it’s important to point out this is a temporary injunction. The court didn’t rule on the constitutionality of the Fetal Heartbeat law. We will continue to defend the law.”
“Although we temporarily enjoin the enforcement of the [Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion] Act, we nevertheless recognize the plenary authority of the legislature to legislate and make public policy decision,” the Court wrote in explanation of granting the injunction. The law had been enjoined by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals until the Dobb’s decision sent the abortion issue back to the states. The Fetal Heartbeat Act went into effect on June 27th, but Planned Parenthood then asked a state judge, Casey Manning, to stop the law on the grounds that it violates the State Constitution. Judge Manning declined to issue the injunction and instead sent it to the South Carolina Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, the South Carolina Senate Medical Affairs Committee heard historic testimony Wednesday for restoring legal protection to the unborn members of the human family. For the first time in nearly 50 years, the lawmakers had the opportunity to consider such legislation after the United State Supreme Court overturned the lethal pro-abortion Roe and Casey decisions that made killing the unborn legal.
The hearing occurred one day after the State House Judiciary Committee passed the Human Life Protection Act (H5399) that will be debated by the full House beginning on August 30, 2022. If the Human Life Protection Act passes the S.C. House, it moves to the Senate for action. The Medical Affairs Committee hearing was for fact finding and not for decision making on any bill.
Most of the pro-life witnesses urged the Senators to give serious consideration to the language that is up for consideration in the House. The hearing began at 9 a.m. with expert witnesses including physicians and lawyers who were invited to give professional testimony. Witnesses in the afternoon signed up electronically to testify after the Medical Affairs Committee published the hearing information on the State House webpage (scstatehouse.gov).
Many pro-life witnesses encouraged the senators to reject exceptions that would allow for the abortion of babies conceived in rape and incest or who were diagnosed with pre-natal disabilities. Jennifer Popik, J.D., Director of Federal Legislation for the National Right to Life Committee, told the Senators the language of House Bill 5399 protects the life of the mother and the child. She added her own compelling personal testimony of her twin daughters born with a rare genetic disorder. “The girls have enriched our lives and those around them,” she said noting that although identical twins they have sharply different personalities. “It’s okay to be different,” she said. She urged against any amendment that devalues the lives of children with disabilities.
Likewise, Dr. Robert Jackson, an upstate family physician, told the senators that the last baby he delivered was his own son, Thomas, born during a snow storm. Now 22, Thomas, who was born with Down Syndrome, is known as “The Professor.” Dr. Jackson said, “God didn’t send him here to learn. God sent him here to teach.” Although nonverbal, Thomas shows love indiscriminately to everyone “black, white, Republican, or Democrat.”
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