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Hearing set for lawsuit challenging SC abortion law

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 10:34 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - An appellate court is set to debate a lawsuit challenging South Carolina’s abortion law about a week after the U.S. Supreme Court considers a similar measure in Mississippi.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has tentatively calendared the South Carolina case for oral arguments the week of Dec. 6.

Planned Parenthood is suing South Carolina over the measure, which requires doctors to perform ultrasounds to check for a so-called “fetal heartbeat.”

If cardiac activity is detected, the abortion can only be performed if the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest, or if the mother’s life is in danger.

A judge has blocked South Carolina’s law pending the outcome of a challenge to Mississippi’s new abortion law, which the U.S. Supreme Court expects to hear Dec. 1.

“While the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case related to Mississippi’s law offers great hope and promise for protecting the lives of the unborn, we must defend South Carolina’s Fetal Heartbeat Act against every challenge at every level,” Gov. Henry McMaster said. “As I’ve said before, the right to life is the most precious of rights and the most fragile. We must never let it be taken for granted or taken away. And we must protect life at every opportunity, regardless of cost or inconvenience.”

McMaster signed the South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act into law on Feb. 18. Two groups filed a lawsuit asking a court to prevent its enforcement that same day.

On Feb. 19, a federal district court issued a temporary restraining order blocking the law and then extended it on March 5.

The court then issued the preliminary injunction on March 19.

Copyright 2021 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.