S.C. Supreme Court abortion decision: Aiken Republicans applaud, Dems mourn

Aug. 23—South Carolina Republicans are once again celebrating and South Carolina Democrats are once again mourning a court decision on abortion.

The South Carolina Supreme Court issued a 4-1 ruling Wednesday morning upholding the state's fetal heartbeat act and making it immediately enforceable.

The act establishes that no abortion can take place after the detection of cardiac activity. Cardiac activity usually begins around the fifth or sixth week of a pregnancy. There are exceptions allowing abortion in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal anomalies and for the physical health of the mother.

S.C. Rep. Bill Taylor, R-eastern Aiken County: "I applaud the wisdom of the Supreme Court for its historic ruling that will save countless lives in the years to come. It is my long-held belief that the lives of the unborn deserve our protection. While I believe life begins at conception, the Fetal Heartbeat law is a political compromise supported by a vast number of South Carolinians."

S.C. Rep. Bill Clyburn, D-Northside of Aiken: "I wasn't surprised. It passed the South Carolina General Assembly [and the General Assembly changed the composition of the court to make it more favorable toward the law]. I still believe abortion decisions should be between women and their doctors."

S.C. Rep. Melissa Oremus, R-Midland Valley: "Finally people with some common sense have upheld what we know is that all lives matter at every stage. Life begins at conception, and we must do everything we can to protect the unborn. Now the real work begins on educating our young people on how to be responsible, making sure that every mother has all the resources she needs to care for her children. Pro life means from conception to the grave."

South Carolina Democratic Party Chairwoman Christale Spain: "Thanks to the MAGA Republicans in our legislature, an all-male court has upheld horrifying and dystopian legislation that bans abortion in South Carolina before many women even have the chance to find out they're pregnant. Doctors and nurses will be threatened with fines and jail time just for providing vital health care, rape and incest victims will be forced to share the crimes committed against them just to get the care they need, and women in rural, low-income, and communities of color across the Palmetto State who already face insurmountable barriers to health care will be disproportionately impacted.

"As a woman I understand firsthand how devastating this decision is for us. My heart breaks for the women who will be denied health care, for the women who can't afford to travel out of state to get the health care they need, and for the families who have once again had a vital freedom ripped away from them because of dangerous Republicans who care more about controlling women's bodies than delivering for our hard working families. This cruel abortion ban is the same extremism MAGA Republicans are fighting to take nationwide, but this isn't the end of our fight. South Carolinians will see the extreme legislators who made this happen at the ballot box next year."

S.C. Rep. Bill Hixon, R-North Augusta: "I'm excited. It's what I voted for. I'm glad they finally approved something that will make South Carolina a better state and let the whole United States know South Carolina is pro-life. I'm not shocked. The court has good conservative judges except one and he [Chief Justice Donald Beatty] is retiring."

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic President and CEO Jenny Black: "Today's decision puts the dangerous politicization of South Carolina's highest court on full display and will cause irreparable harm to the people of South Carolina. This abortion ban is nearly identical to the ban struck down by this court just months ago — the only thing that has changed is the makeup of the court. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic's doors remain open, and we will continue to provide abortion care in South Carolina under the severe restrictions of this law, but we know that's not enough. This abortion ban takes away people's ability to control what happens to their bodies, forcing many South Carolinians to remain pregnant against their will. Planned Parenthood and our partners will keep fighting for our patients' ability to control their own bodies, lives, and futures — no matter what."

U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan: "Today's ruling from the S.C. Supreme Court is a monumental win for the right to life. I commend the South Carolina General Assembly for ensuring the passage of a Constitutionally sound bill that will stop the killing of babies once a heartbeat is detected. I'm grateful for all the South Carolinians who devoted years of work that culminated with this ruling to save innumerable lives from the ruthless practice of abortion."

Planned Parenthood Federation of America President and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson: "Today's state Supreme Court decision will have profound impacts on basic health care in South Carolina and across the region, where access for so many has already been cut off. It is not only a stunning reversal of a decision made just seven months ago but an exceedingly dangerous and cynical move by the court that has chosen to do the bidding of anti-abortion politicians in the legislature. South Carolina already ranks among the worst states in the country for maternal mortality — particularly for Black women. We know abortion bans like S.B. 474 only exacerbate this public health crisis and will continue to needlessly cost lives. Despite the court's ruling, Planned Parenthood and its partners will never turn our backs on South Carolinians and will continue doing whatever we can to get patients access to the services they need. This is not the end of our fight."

Gov. Henry McMaster: "The Supreme Court's ruling marks a historic moment in our state's history and is the culmination of years of hard work and determination by so many in our state to ensure that the sanctity of life is protected," said Governor Henry McMaster. "With this victory, we protect the lives of countless unborn children and reaffirm South Carolina's place as one of the most pro-life states in America."

Center for Reproductive Rights President and CEO Nancy Northup: "With today's decision, the court has turned their backs on South Carolinians and their fundamental rights. The South Carolina Supreme Court took an extreme step backwards by letting this six-week ban go into effect, despite striking down a nearly identical ban just seven months ago. A change in the court's makeup shouldn't change the enduring protections of South Carolina's constitution. South Carolinians' rights should not be up for debate. Under this cruel ban, people across the South will be forced to travel even further just to get the essential healthcare they need. The right to make deeply personal health care decisions should not depend on where you live, and we will not stop fighting for reproductive freedom in South Carolina and across the country."

S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson: "The South Carolina Supreme Court's historic decision to uphold the state's Fetal Heartbeat Act is a huge win in our efforts to protect the unborn and save innocent lives. I appreciate all the hard work of our state legislature and am proud of the South Carolina Attorney General's Office team that defended this law in court."

South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Drew McKissick: "We have fought tirelessly to protect the lives of our unborn children, and today in South Carolina, we have won. This decision reaffirms the hard work of the South Carolina Republican Party to ensure the lives of the unborn have someone fighting for them."