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February 16, 2024

South Carolina Woman Sues Over State’s “Heartbeat Ban”

In another attempt to clarify South Carolina’s Senate Bill 474 (“S.B. 474”), which bans abortions once a “fetal heartbeat” can be detected, Planned Parenthood Atlantic, a physician, and a woman who traveled out of state to have an abortion, have brought an as-applied challenge in State court seeking clarification as to what point in pregnancy the S.B. 474 applies. Specifically, Plaintiffs assert that there is ambiguity as to whether S.B. 474 prohibits abortion at six weeks of pregnancy (when embryonic electrical activity can first be detected) or at nine weeks of pregnancy (when the heart forms).  Abortion providers have previously been unsuccessful when challenging the point in pregnancy to which S.B. 474 applies, with the South Carolina Supreme Court rejecting such a challenge in November 2023. 

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