Today, the South Carolina Supreme Court ceased to be a part of the judicial body of government, deciding instead to join Progressives as part of the South Carolina Legislature. In a dubious 3-2 decision, the Court ruled the 2021 Heartbeat Bill to be unconstitutional under Article 1 Section 10 of the South Carolina Constitution, which says:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures and unreasonable invasions of privacy shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, the person or thing to be seized, and the information to be obtained. (1970 (56) 2684; 1971 (57) 315.)”

Writing for the majority, Justice Kaye Hern wrote:

 “The State unquestionably has the authority to limit the right of privacy that protects women from state interference with her decision, but any such limitation must be reasonable and it must be meaningful in that the time frames imposed must afford a woman sufficient time to determine she is pregnant and to take reasonable steps to terminate that pregnancy. Six weeks is, quite simply, not a reasonable period of time for these two things to occur, and therefore the Act violates our state Constitution’s prohibition against unreasonable invasions of privacy,” 

So…we have 3 South Carolina Supreme Court justices who believe a section of the state constitution written to protect citizens from unreasonable searches and warrants issued by the State without probable cause grants a woman the right to kill her unborn baby.  When the SC Constitution speaks of an “unreasonable invasion of privacy” the context and purpose is to protect all citizens from an unreasonable invasion of privacy.  I can think of no invasion of privacy more unreasonable than an abortionist invading the womb of a pregnant women in order to end the life of a child.  By extending an imagined constitutional protection to a pregnant woman to take the life of her unborn child, the Court chose to violate the genuine constitutional protection of that child.  In doing so, the South Carolina Supreme Court turned the federal Supreme Court ruling nullifying the implied woman’s right to privacy on its head. 

What now?  First, the South Carolina Legislature begins its 2023 session next Tuesday.  Senators and House members alike should hear from you concerning this outage. 

Second, the SC Supreme Court has a vacancy that must be filled by the SC Legislature in February.  Please pray for and then call for a Justice to be selected who will interpret rather than re-write the state constitution.  There is no logical reason why a Legislature dominated by Republicans who ran and will continue to run as conservatives shouldn’t be willing and able to appoint a conservative, non-activist judge to the SC Supreme Court. 

Finally, the legislature should take immediate action to protect life.  Justice Few, in his descent from the majority wrote that an outright ban on abortion beginning at conception would fall within the State’s authority to limit the right of privacy because it would, in essence, declare that a baby is a person beginning at conception and therefore, deserves to be protected by any right to privacy that may exist in the constitution.  

So…let’s rally around protecting life by protecting it beginning at conception.  It’s logical, biblical, and according to Justice Few, constitutional. 

He must increase, I must decrease

Dr. Tony Beam

Director: SCBC Office of Public Policy

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