A federal district court judge on Friday issued a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of South Carolina’s fetal heartbeat abortion act.
The act, which was signed into law by Governor McMaster last month, would prohibit an abortion if a physician is able to detect a fetal heartbeat, which can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, often before a woman even knows she is pregnant.
The act will only take effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned, either through a Supreme Court decision or a Constitutional amendment. Just one day after the governor signed the bill, judge Mary Geiger Lewis granted a motion for a temporary restraining order prior to a hearing on March 9.
In determining whether to issue the injunction Judge Lewis wrote that because Planned Parenthood v. Casey held that a woman has a right to terminate a pre-viable pregnancy and because the South Carolina act would prohibit abortions long before fetal viability, the plaintiffs, in this case, are likely to succeed in their argument that the act is unconstitutional. She wrote that “This case does not present a close call,” and that she was “unable to fathom how another court could decide this issue differently than how this Court has decided it.”
She further wrote that it was “nothing short of baffling” that the government argued that the act is constitutional “although surely, all the while knowing full well that it is not.” She dismissed the theory that the three most recently appointed Justices to the Supreme Court “are secretly scheming to overturn both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey because they are personally opposed to abortion,” noting that “such a suggestion is misinformed at best, and highly offensive at worst.”
She also chastised the press for routinely feeding the narrative that the courts are political by pointing out the name of the president who happened to appoint a judge or justice. In rejecting this notion, she wrote, “we are neither Democrat nor Republican courts. We are Article III constitutional courts. Period.”