Judge Temporarily Blocks South Carolina Heartbeat Abortion Law

REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

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Arjun Singh Contributor
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A judge in South Carolina blocked the state’s fetal heartbeat abortion law Friday, one day after it was signed into law and challenged by pro-abortion groups.

Judge Clifton Newman of the Circuit Court of South Carolina issued the injunction pending a decision from the South Carolina Supreme Court about the bill, a similar version of which that court struck down in January. Newman’s decision reverts South Carolina’s abortion limit back to 22 weeks, according to Abortion Finder. (RELATED: South Carolina Enacts Six-Week Abortion Ban, Planned Parenthood Sues Immediately)

“The status quo should be maintained until the Supreme Court reviews its decision,” Newman said, according to the Associated Press, adding that “[i]t’s going to end up there.” Newman issued the ruling in favor of the plaintiffs, who filed their suit in Richland County on Thursday.

Republican Gov. Henry McMaster of South Carolina signed the Fetal Heartbeat and Abortion Protection Act on Thursday after its controversial passage by the legislature. The law would ban abortion after the appearance of a fetal heartbeat, usually after six weeks of pregnancy, with few exceptions, and raise penalties on doctors and personnel who violated the law.

Another law, seeking to ban abortions after conception, was rejected by the state’s Senate after being opposed by several Republican women senators.

Since the state’s previous fetal heartbeat law was overturned in January, by a 3-2 vote, South Carolina’s Supreme Court has seen a change in composition, with Justice Kaye Hearn, the author of the opinion, having retired from the court, while technical changes in the new law make it likely to sway another judge, according to the AP.

It is unclear when the Supreme Court will take up the lawsuit, which is pending in the circuit court. “We will continue fighting to protect the lives of the unborn in South Carolina and the constitutional law that protects them. I hope that the Supreme Court will take this matter up without delay,” said McMaster, per an email from his spokesperson to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Planned Parenthood did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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