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Gov. Henry McMaster Appeals Preliminary Injunction of Fetal Heartbeat Bill, Continues Fight for Unborn Children in South Carolina

July 7, 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster – joined by other defendants – has appealed the federal district court’s preliminary injunction of the South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act (Fetal Heartbeat Act) to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

“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,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “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.”

The appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit challenges the federal district court’s preliminary injunction order on two primary grounds and requests that the order be reversed and that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit remand the case for dismissal. The two primary issues argued in the filing are:

  • The plaintiffs in the case, which consist of abortionists and abortion centers operating in South Carolina, lack both third-party constitutional standing and statutory standing necessary to bring suit against the law, and;
  • The federal district court erred in enjoining the entirety of the Fetal Heartbeat Bill by disregarding the Act’s severability clause and erroneously imposing its own views of the Act’s purposes.

In addition to appealing the preliminary injunction order, Governor McMaster and other defendants will continue to oppose this challenge and defend the merits of the Fetal Heartbeat Act at the district court level while the appeal is pending.

To view a copy of the new filing, click here.

Sequence of events related to the lawsuit:

  • On February 18, 2021, Governor McMaster signed the Fetal Heartbeat Bill into law after it received bipartisan approval by the S.C. General Assembly.
  • Plaintiffs file lawsuit on the same day, claiming the law was unconstitutional.
  • Federal district court issues temporary restraining order on February 19, 2021, and extends it on March 5, 2021.
  • Governor McMaster, along with S.C. House Speaker Jay Lucas, successfully intervenes to defend the new law on March 9, 2021.
  • Federal district court issues preliminary injunction order on March 19, 2021.
  • Governor McMaster, along with other defendants, appeal the federal district court’s preliminary injunction order to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on April 2, 2021.
  • Governor McMaster, joined by other defendants, files opening brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit today, July 7, 2021.