Burnette Shutt & McDaniel part of Planned Parenthood legal team in abortion case

COLUMBIA, SC – Three attorneys from Burnette Shutt & McDaniel are part of the legal team challenging South Carolina’s abortion ban.

Malissa Burnette, Kathleen McDaniel, and Grant Burnette LeFever joined Planned Parenthood Federation of America; and the Center for Reproductive Rights in filing the federal lawsuit on behalf of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and Greenville Women’s Clinic.

On March 19, the judge issued a injunction blocking implementation of the law while the case is decided. In her ruling, she called the state’s arguments “fanciful, misbegotten and misguided.”

The law, signed Feb. 18 and passed in mere weeks, would require doctors to perform ultrasounds to check for “fetal heartbeats” — or an embryo’s cardiac activity. If one is detected, an abortion could be performed only in cases involving rape, incest or if the mother’s life were in danger. In the case of rape or incest, the doctor must report to law enforcement, even against the patient’s will.

Fetal heartbeats are detectable by ultrasound as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. That’s before many women are even aware that they’re pregnant.

More than a dozen other states have passed so-called “heartbeat laws.” None has been implemented so far. Federal courts have struck down at least three of the laws, and others remain blocked while the case proceeds.

Under the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade, states must allow abortion until the fetus reaches viability, which is between 24 and 28 weeks into the pregnancy.

Burnette and McDaniel also represent Planned Parenthood in a lawsuit challenging South Carolina’s elimination of all Medicaid funding for clinics in the state. If implemented, the executive order would prohibit low-income South Carolina residents from seeking family planning, cancer screenings and a range of other services at Planned Parenthood clinics.

In October, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the state’s appeal of a decision that required the funding to continue as the case proceeds.