Federal Appeals Court ‘Blocks’ Pro-Life South Carolina Heartbeat Bill

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday to affirm a federal district court’s ruling that blocked South Carolina’s pro-life fetal heartbeat bill from going into effect. The bill, signed into law in early 2021, is intended to outlaw all abortions in the state if a fetal heartbeat is medically detected, which usually occurs around the sixth week of pregnancy.

As soon as the bill was adopted, Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit contesting it and secured a temporary injunction that prevented the statute from being enforced until the case was resolved. That ruling was appealed to the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, where a three-judge panel maintained the injunction order.

South Carolina took the position that Planned Parenthood lacks legal standing to bring a lawsuit on behalf of women and that the district court should not have blocked the entire law. At the same time, the provision regarding fetal heartbeats was being prosecuted. The appeals court rejected the state’s positions.

The appeals panel decided that the entire South Carolina law prohibits abortions after a heartbeat is detected, and therefore the entire law should be blocked.

Following the verdict, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson stated that the state has not yet determined whether to seek a review of the panel’s decision before the entire Fourth Circuit Court bench. He said that South Carolina would evaluate every available means to protect unborn life in the state as the case continues forward.

The Washington Post unsurprisingly praised the appeals court ruling, citing “medical experts” who say that standard medical procedures do not detect an actual heartbeat but a “flutter of electric movement.” Corporate media often relies on these “expert” statements to take a pro-abortion industry stance in their reporting. They also use various euphemisms in place of the term “heartbeat,” like “clusters of pulsing cells” or “cardiac rhythm.”

The nation awaits the Supreme Court’s decision in the potential landmark case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which is expected by the end of the court’s current term in June. In Dobbs, the State of Mississippi has asked the Supreme Court to expressly overturn the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that prohibits states from regulating abortion before fetal viability.