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South Carolina Governor Henry McMasterSean Rayford/Getty Images

(LifeSiteNews) — A federal judge has rebuked yet another legal challenge to South Carolina’s law protecting unborn babies with detectable heartbeats, in the latest defeat for Planned Parenthood in the state.

South Carolina’s Fetal Heartbeat & Protection from Abortion Act bans most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, generally at the first six weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for rape and incest up to 12 weeks and exceptions for “medical emergencies,” not including mental conditions, or “fatal fetal anomalies.” Direct abortion is always gravely immoral and never needed nor ethically justified to save a mother’s life.

Republican Gov. Henry McMaster signed it in May 2023, while warning that he anticipated a legal battle and that his administration “stand[s] ready to defend this legislation against any challenges and are confident we will succeed. The right to life must be preserved, and we will do everything we can to protect it.”

The law was quickly hit with a temporary block, but the South Carolina Supreme Court upheld it in August and again in November. But rather than admitting defeat, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic filed yet another lawsuit, this time in federal court, which 5th Circuit Court Judge Daniel Coble rejected in a 31-page opinion dated May 16.

“[I]t is clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that the General Assembly intended, and the public understood, that the time frame of the Act would begin around the six-week mark,” he wrote. “The role of this Court is not to determine whether the law is good or bad, whether the policy should be one way or the other, or to be outcome determinative based on personal views. The role of this Court is to simply determine the intent of the legislature in the enactment of the law in question and whether the actions of the legislature are within the bounds of the constitution as derived from the will of the people.”

Coble declared that his court “will never supplement the will of the General Assembly with its own interpretation because it would be a direct violation of the Constitution and the sacrosanct doctrine of the separation of powers.”

Fourteen states currently ban all or most abortions, and another three, including South Carolina, ban abortion at around six weeks, with available data so far indicating that now-enforceable pro-life laws could effectively wipe out an estimated 200,000 abortions a year.

READ: 89,000 babies have been saved from abortion since end of Roe: report

But the abortion lobby is working feverishly to try to cancel out those deterrent effects by deregulated interstate distribution of abortion pills, legal protection and financial support of interstate abortion travel, constructing new abortion facilities near borders shared by pro-life and pro-abortion states, making liberal states sanctuaries for those who want to evade or violate the laws of more pro-life neighbors, and establishing “rights” to abortion in state constitutions.