The South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act has been challenged in court since February, when the law was signed by Gov. Henry McMaster. Friday's preliminary injunction comes after the district court granted and extended a temporary restraining order requested by Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.
In her decision Friday, U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis said that the abortion provider had "established a substantial likelihood of success" in arguing that the law was unconstitutional.
Lewis criticized the state's defense, saying, "It is nothing short of baffling when Defendants here make the fanciful, misbegotten, and misguided argument that the Act is constitutional, although surely, all the while knowing fullwell that it is not."
South Carolina's was just the one of many controversial laws seeking to restrict abortions when a heartbeat is detected.
Other states have encountered legal challenges to their heartbeat bills with the Supreme Court declining to hear cases in which the legislation was blocked by lower courts.
Last week, McMaster defended his interest in fighting for the bill. "That’s a fight worth having right there. The right to life is very important," he said in a statement.
"This state is overwhelmingly in favor of that bill, and we will do whatever it takes – how long it takes – to see that that right to life is protected in South Carolina."
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic celebrated Lewis' decision, according to WCSC.
"Today we celebrate the court’s decision on behalf of our patients who can continue to come to us, their trusted health care provider, to access abortion and other essential health services," said CEO Jenny Black.
"We urge Gov. McMaster to take heed of the court’s decision and focus on improving health outcomes for people in South Carolina rather than attempting to ban abortion or restrict access to health care."