Is Planned Parenthood right to sue SC over abortion ban?


Fact Box

  • Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case, ruled that access to safe and legal abortion is a constitutional right.
  • Planned Parenthood offers many services including birth control, abortions, STD and HIV testing, cancer screening, well-woman exams, vaccines, PrEP and PEP, pregnancy services, transgender services, vasectomy and sterilization, condoms, and more. 
  • Planned Parenthood is based in New York City but has a network of 53 affiliates nationwide that operate more than 600 health centers.
  • Thursday, February 18, South Carolina’s Governor Henry McMaster banned most abortions via the South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act. The bill was passed in a majority vote: 79-35 on Wednesday.
  • After the bill was passed, Planned Parenthood reacted by filing a lawsuit saying, “the act is blatantly unconstitutional.”

Andrew (Yes)

Abortion is one of America's most divisive issues, so it's not surprising that it is in the courts again. In fact, this is a primary function of the judicial system, and Planned Parenthood is right to use it to stave off legislative overreach. Even the South Carolina Governor, Henry McMaster, seemed to indicate that there would be legal challenges, saying 'our battles are not yet over, but I believe the dawn of victory is upon us,' in response to the legislation's passing. Just as it is the anti-abortion lobby's prerogative to do everything in their power to limit abortion rights, groups that work for women's rights, such as Planned Parenthood, should use every possible avenue to leave options open for women in need; particularly via the judicial system.

Since the Supreme Court's 1973 ruling in favor of abortion rights, states and interest groups have attempted to chip away at the ruling using various strategies. This particular tactic involves placing limits based on the detection of a fetal heartbeat and has been used in several states. Unfortunately, the science shows that fetal heartbeats can be detected well in advance of fetal viability, typically around twenty-four weeks. This was reflected in a statement by Iowa District Court Judge Michael Huppert when he struck down a heartbeat law in Iowa, 'It is undisputed that such cardiac activity is detectable well in advance of the fetus becoming viable.' Fetal heartbeat laws are just an attempt by special interest groups to erode women's rights; Planned Parenthood is right to use legal action to stop them.

Bill (No)

Planned Parenthood has a clear financial incentive to oppose the new South Carolina law that recognizes that most abortions stop a beating heart. Planned Parenthood claims the motivation for its lawsuit is purely unselfish, citing a 'person's right to end a pregnancy.' However, far from believing that it's a right, the nation is split on its views of abortion. Half of Americans think the act is morally wrong. In fact, the new law in South Carolina restricting abortions passed by a vote of 79-35

Legislators were wise to take away Planned Parenthood's talking points by allowing abortions in the case of rape or incest and when the mother's health is endangered. While Planned Parenthood would like people to believe that these circumstances are common, they account for only about 1.5% of all abortions.

The South Carolina law may result in people being more mindful of the consequences of sexual activity. It may also increase birth control use, which is one of the services that Planned Parenthood offers. However, while it touts benign services like sex education, Planned Parenthood (with an annual budget of $1.6 billion) derives most of its non-government revenue from its 40% market share in abortion 'services.' In fact, a staggering 96.1% of Planned Parenthood clients seeking help regarding pregnancies end up having abortions at their clinics. As a result, Planned Parenthood performs hundreds of thousands of abortions per year.

Planned Parenthood's lawsuit in South Carolina aims to protect its business interests, as the vast majority of its abortion 'services' would be outlawed, and its abortion-related revenue would disappear.

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