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What defines a heartbeat? Judge hears arguments in South Carolina abortion case

Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina’s ban on abortions after roughly six weeks is back in court and centered on the definition of fetal heartbeat. A state circuit judge on Thursday began considering Planned Parenthood’s request to block the new law until courts can decide. A ruling is expected in a few weeks. Even the justices who upheld the law in August noted there appeared to be two definitions of “fetal heartbeat” at which the window ends for an abortion. The state contends heartbeat occurs around six weeks when an ultrasound detects cardiac activity. But the law also mentions when the major parts of the heart come together, often around nine weeks.

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