Statement of South Carolina Citizens for Life and the National Right to Life Committee on the SC Supreme striking down the Fetal Heartbeat Bill.

By Holly Gatling, Executive Director, South Carolina Citizens for Life

COLUMBIA, S.C – On Thursday, January 5, 2023, the South Carolina Supreme Court, in a 3-2 decision, overturned the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act.

“We are beyond disappointed in the South Carolina Supreme Court’sdecision” said Lisa Van Riper, President of South Carolina Citizens for Life. “The effect of the court ruling will be to favor the economic interest of the abortion industry over the lives of unborn children.

“We disagree with the majority opinion that the right to privacy was intended to relate to abortion,”Mrs. Van Riper continued. The State Constitution Right to Privacy Amendment was passed in 1970, three years before the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1970 the law in South Carolina prohibited abortion except in the rarest of circumstances.

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias called the local court’s decision “an insult” to the people of South Carolina. South Carolina Citizens for Life is an affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee, the nation’s oldest and largest single-issue right-to-life organization with more than 3,000 chapters nationwide.

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision gives states the ability to listen to the people and pass laws that protect unborn children,” Mrs. Tobias said. “The South Carolina Supreme Court decision is an insult to the citizens of South Carolina wo voted for pro-life legislators to pass pro-life laws.”

Governor Henry McMaster also disagreed with the majority opinion. “Our State Supreme Court has found a right in our Constitution which was never intended by the people of South Carolina,” he said. “With this opinion, the court has clearly exceeded its authority. The people have spoken through their elected representatives multiple times on this issue. I look forward to working with the General Assembly to correct the error.”

Mrs. Van Riper noted the particular danger to black unborn children. “We are especially concerned for the disproportional number of black children who die in South Carolina’s abortion business. According to the State Department of Health and Environmental Control, black people make up 28 percent of South Carolina’s population, yet nearly 45 percent of all abortions occurring in our state are black babies. This is genocide. This is the worst form of racism.”

She noted, however, the 3-2 decisionrecognizes some right of the state legislature to regulated abortion. Since 1990 South Carolina Citizens for Life has lobbied successfully for 16 life-saving laws. Abortion have declined by more than 50 percent in our state. “We will continue to advocate for a woman’s right to hear her baby’s heartbeat before an abortion and to have access to information about reversing the so-called abortion pill.”  According to DHEC, chemical abortion or the abortion pill is the primary method of abortion and is used in more than 70 percent of all abortions occurring in South Carolina.

Representative John McCravy, R-Greenwood, and chairman of the S.C. House Family Caucus said, “The U.S. Supreme Court, through their Dobbs decision this summer, handed the issue of abortion to state legislatures. Unfortunately, the South Carolina Supreme Court followed the path of the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade by creating a constitutional right to an abortion where none exists. Today’s decision fails to respect the concept of separation of powers and strips the people of this state from having a say in a decision that was meant to reflect their voices. Instead, South Carolina is left with a decision that is not reflective of our state’s political process or will.”

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said his office will be working with Governor McMaster and the General Assembly to “review all available options moving forward.”