South Carolina’s governor has appealed to block a new abortion law
COLOMBIA, SC – The governor of South Carolina wants a new abortion law to take effect, arguing on Wednesday that a judge’s decision to enforce the entire measure — and not just the parts being challenged in court — is a trial. During “crosses the limits of federal judicial power.”
Henry McMaster’s brief with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asks appellate judges to overturn a lower court order on the “Protection from South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Abortion Act.” “The Republicans signed the measure into law earlier this year.
The law requires doctors to perform an ultrasound to check for a heartbeat in a fetus, which can usually be detected about six weeks after conception. If cardiac activity is detected, an abortion can only be performed if the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest, or the mother’s life is in danger.
Planned Parenthood attorneys immediately sued, and the entire law has been blocked from taking effect during the trial. In their brief, McMaster’s attorneys argued that the decision represented a “surpassing federal power to interfere with state law.”
“This Court should not consider such judicial intrusion on the legitimate sovereign interests of South Carolina as an unnecessary quashing of state law,” the state attorneys wrote. They argued that a clause such as a requirement to have an ultrasound done “is a standalone provision which avoids any invalidity of any other provision.”
McMaster, along with other defendants including State Attorney General Alan Wilson, also argue that the groups that have filed the lawsuit do not have a reasonable position to challenge the law.
“The right to life is the most precious and most delicate of rights. We must protect life at every opportunity, whatever the cost or inconvenience,” McMaster said in a statement on Wednesday.
Lawyers for Planned Parenthood have not responded in court.
Action taken by a High Court can also determine the outcome in this case. A lower court judge has said she is willing to stay on pending motions following a US Supreme Court decision to take a case from Mississippi – which seeks to impose an abortion ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The court will hear that case in the fall, with a possible decision in the spring of 2022.
About a dozen other states have passed similar or more restrictive abortion restrictions, which could take effect if the U.S. Supreme Court upholds abortion rights in the landmark 1973 ruling Roe v. reverses Wade. Federal law takes the place of state law.
According to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 90% of miscarriages occur in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy.
Opponents have argued that many women do not know they are pregnant at six weeks, especially if they are not trying to conceive. And, he argues, with such an early deadline, the law gives women little time to consider whether an abortion should take place.
Meg Kinnard can be contacted at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.