Planned Parenthood suffers loss in legal challenge to South Carolina’s fetal heartbeat law

Pro-life officials on Friday celebrated a South Carolina judge’s denial of a Planned Parenthood motion to weaken the state’s six-week abortion ban.A state judge in Columbia ruled against the reproductive health care organization’s demand for a preliminary injunction that would slacken South Carolina’s six-week abortion restriction to nine weeks, according to The State newspaper.While Planned Parenthood could reportedly appeal Fifth Circuit Judge Daniel Coble’s decision, proponents of the 2023 law expressed confidence the Palmetto State will remain a safe haven for the unborn.”South Carolina’s heartbeat law secured another legal victory yesterday, with the trial court denying Planned Parenthood’s preliminary injunction,” Brandon Charochak, a spokesman for Republican Gov. Henry McMaster, told Fox News Digital.NORTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR VETOES ABORTION BILL, BUT GOP LEGISLATURE MAY OVERRIDE “Life will continue to be protected in South Carolina, and the governor will continue his fight to protect it,” he said.The state law defines a “fetal heartbeat” as “cardiac activity or the steady and repetitive rhythmic contraction of the fetal heart, within the gestational sac,” according to the Charleston Post & Courier. Coble wrote in his Thursday decision that the state legislature clearly intended a six-week time frame in that regard.In its filing, Planned Parenthood reportedly argued that since the new law was enacted, 75% of women who sought abortions were denied the procedure because of the time constraint. The organization also alleged almost 7/8 of those patients could have undergone an abortion if they were permitted at the nine-week mark.SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR SIGNS FETAL HEARTBEAT BILLCritics also argued that many women do not know they are pregnant yet at six weeks.The State of South Carolina, however, testified that an unborn baby’s heart is beating “steadily, repetitively and rhythmically” six weeks in, even if the organ is not fully formed yet.In a statement to Fox News Digital, Planned Parenthood-South Atlantic president and CEO Jenny Black expressed disappointment in Coble’s decision.”Given the impact of this case on thousands of patients across South Carolina who have been unfairly denied abortion care, we will continue to demand that the courts apply the law as written. This fight is not over,” Black said.”Our highest priority is giving our patients the care they need — no matter what. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic remains committed to helping every patient navigate the unjust and inhumane confines of South Carolina’s abortion ban.”The heartbeat law had not been without its past legal impediments. In 2023, the South Carolina Supreme Court struck down a preceding six-week ban, citing right-to-privacy concerns.It later upheld a second attempt at a six-week prohibition that was drafted a few months after the original denial.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPAt the time, the Center for Reproductive Rights argued in a statement that the only situational change was the retirement and replacement of a female justice who led the majority opinion striking down the prior law.The new law does contain exceptions for the life and health of the mother, as well as in cases of rape or incest, so long as those are reported to law enforcement within 12 weeks.The state only has three listed abortion providers, all in its major cities: Greenville, Columbia and Charleston. 
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