MAR 16, 2022

21 other AGs file support for Attorney General Alan Wilson’s defense of South Carolina’s Fetal Heartbeat Law

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) – The attorneys general of 21 other states have filed an amicus brief supporting South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson’s defense of the state’s Fetal Heartbeat Law. Attorney General Wilson and Gov. Henry McMaster filed a petition last week asking the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to review a federal district court’s preliminary injunction of the law. You can read that petition here.

“The Fetal Heartbeat Law is about protecting the lives of unborn children, but it’s also about protecting the Constitution and the rule of law,” Attorney General Wilson said. “There’s nothing in the Constitution that justifies abortions and, in fact, we believe abortion violates the constitutional rights to life and equal protection.”

Gov. McMaster signed the Fetal Heartbeat Act into law on February 18, 2021. The law limits abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, requires abortion providers to give the mother the opportunity to see an ultrasound, hear her baby’s heartbeat, and receive information about her child’s development.

"From the day I signed the Heartbeat bill into law, we knew it would be an uphill battle - but a battle well worth fighting," said Governor Henry McMaster. "We’re grateful that Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and 20 other states share our goals of protecting the right to life and our concern with the three-judge panel's apparent disregard for South Carolina’s sovereign authority.”

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall led the amicus brief and was joined by the attorneys general of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.

In the brief, the attorneys general argue, “At least 24 states currently require an abortion provider to offer to display the image from an ultrasound so the pregnant mother can view it. Yet the courts enjoined South Carolina’s ultrasound disclosure law. Same for South Carolina’s requirement that abortion providers make the fetal heartbeat audible for the pregnant mother if she would like to hear it—a law that at least 16 other states have also enacted. And same for South Carolina’s requirement that an ultrasound be performed before an abortion is conducted—a requirement shared by at least 12 other states. The courts tread on South Carolina’s sovereign ability to decide for itself the purposes of its legislation, completely ignoring the State General Assembly’s clear intent, written in the text of the law, that if any part of the law were held unconstitutional then the remainder would not be invalidated.”

You can read the full brief here.

The American Center for Law and Justice also filed an amicus brief in support of the Attorney General’s petition. You can read that brief here. 

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