Legislative Update

SCBAPTIST CONVENTION OFFICE OF PUBLIC POLICY
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
6/21/2023

HEARTBEAT BILL AT THE SC SUPREME COURT

As I am sure you know, the hard fought battle over the Heartbeat Bill cannot be considered won until the S.C. Supreme Court weighs in.  On May 25, Gov. Henry McMaster signed the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act (S474) into law.  Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations immediately filed lawsuits to prevent the new law from taking effect. 

On May 26, Judge Clifton Newman issued a ruling blocking the law from being enforced until the South Carolina Supreme Court has an opportunity conduct a review.  Governor McMaster asked the Court to expedite their consideration of the bill, which they agreed to do scheduling oral arguments for Tuesday morning, June 27, at 9:30am.

The Court struck down the previous Heartbeat Bill on the grounds it violated the S.C. Constitution’s right-to-privacy clause.  Below are some of the key factors that have changed since that decision:

  • Justice Kay Hearn, who wrote the majority opinion striking down the previous Heartbeat Bill, stepped down from the Court in accordance with a mandatory retirement rule requiring justices to step down at age 72.  The Legislature selected S.C. Appeals Court Justice Gary Hill to replace Hearn.  Justice Hill is considered by many observers to be an originalist who will be much more likely to vote to uphold the law. 
  • The new heartbeat law was written specifically to address the courts issues regarding the original legislation. 
  • South Carolina, with its 22-week window for abortion, has become a destination state for the procedure with all of our neighboring states having passed laws limiting abortion.

Please pray…and encourage your congregation this Sunday to join you and thousands of South Carolina pro-life believers in praying that God will grant favor to those who will defend the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act in their arguments before the Court. Pray that the bill will be upheld by the court greatly reducing the number of abortions in South Carolina.    It is unclear when the Court will make its decision.  Watch for future Legislative Updates from your SC Baptist Office of Public Policy so you can stay informed. 

He must increase, I must decrease

Dr. Tony Beam
Director
The SCBaptist Office of Public Policy

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