A South Carolina judge upholds the ban on abortion after the sixth week of gestation

Planned Parenthood tried to expand the interpretation of the law until the ninth week of pregnancy, but was unsuccessful.

A state judge in Columbia upheld the state's ban on abortion starting at the sixth week of pregnancy, despite Planned Parenthood's attempts to have the restriction apply beginning at the ninth week of gestation.

Richland County Judge Daniel Coble upheld the South Carolina law that prohibits abortions after the fetus' heartbeat can be detected and explained that the legislation intends to establish the sixth week of pregnancy as the period in which abortion is prohibited in the state.

Planned Parenthood sought to expand the law's interpretation to the ninth week of pregnancy, arguing that a fetus's heart is not fully formed until that point. However, the state argued that "an embryo’s heart is beating steadily, repetitively and rhythmically" at six weeks, even if it is not fully developed.

Following the court decision, the office of Republican Governor Henry McMaster celebrated the victory and stressed that now "life will continue to be protected in South Carolina." However, Planned Parenthood could still appeal the Fifth Circuit judge's decision.

“This fight is not over. Our highest priority is giving our patients the care they need — no matter what. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic remains committed to helping every patient navigate the unjust and inhumane confines of South Carolina’s abortion ban,” the organization said.

Importantly, Planned Parenthood is one of the leading abortion providers in the country. A report from the same organization reflects that during 2023, they performed 40% of the abortions registered throughout the country, totaling more than 390,000 procedures.