HomeoldJustice Kittredge Invokes Dred Scott, Plessy, Korematsu Cases During Fetal Heartbeat Legal...

Justice Kittredge Invokes Dred Scott, Plessy, Korematsu Cases During Fetal Heartbeat Legal Challenge in South Carolina Supreme Court

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The five justices of the South Carolina Supreme Court, including one newly elected member, heard oral arguments in the abortion industry’s challenge to the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act. This act is a revised law that is similar to the law that the court previously struck down in January.

The current law, S474, which Governor Henry McMaster signed on May 25, was immediately challenged in court by Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses operating in South Carolina. One argument put forth by the attorney representing Planned Parenthood was that the recently enacted Fetal Heartbeat law is essentially no different from the law that was struck down by a 3-2 vote just five months ago. Therefore, the attorney argued, the new law should also be overturned.

Justice John Kittredge, who authored one of two dissenting opinions in January, forcefully disagreed, stating, “It would be untenable for this court to be bound by a precedent indefinitely.” Such an outcome would infringe upon the plenary authority of the General Assembly to make policy decisions, thereby necessitating a revisit of the matter.

He underscored his argument by referencing three egregious precedents set by the U.S. Supreme Court that upheld slavery, segregation, and the internment of Japanese citizens during World War II. “If we were to examine historical cases such as Dred Scott, Plessy v. Ferguson, and Korematsu, it would be reasonable to conclude that there is a desire to have these cases overturned.

Another point that was the subject of considerable debate during the arguments was the question of when a woman becomes aware that she is pregnant. Assistant Deputy Solicitor General Thomas Hydrick asserted that women can discern their pregnancy as early as seven to 10 days after conception. He also cited data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicating that 45% of all abortions in the United States occur by the sixth week of pregnancy. Chief Justice Donald Beatty, a proponent of abortion rights, countered that the evidence presented in the record did not substantiate the argument. “Forty-five percent is not 51 percent,” he stated.

The hearing lasted approximately one hour and fifteen minutes and can be accessed via the following link or below.

The court did not provide any indication of when a decision might be forthcoming. In the meantime, abortions remain legal in South Carolina up to 20 weeks post-fertilization. The Palmetto State has become the abortion destination state of the Southeast due to the fact that Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina have enacted legislation that protects unborn children at earlier stages of development. In Florida and Georgia, the unborn child is protected from the moment the fetal heartbeat can be detected. In North Carolina, a three-day waiting period is required before an abortion can be performed.


Chelsea Garcia is a political writer with a special interest in international relations and social issues. Events surrounding the war in Ukraine and the war in Israel are a major focus for political journalists. But as a former local reporter, she is also interested in national politics.

Chelsea Garcia studied media, communication and political science in Texas, USA, and learned the journalistic trade during an internship at a daily newspaper. In addition to her political writing, she is pursuing a master's degree in multimedia and writing at Texas.

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