South Carolina Supreme Court Blocks Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Ban

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Meanwhile, lawmakers person precocious a near-total termination prohibition successful the authorities legislature

The South Carolina Supreme Court connected Aug. 17 temporarily blocked the state’s instrumentality banning abortions aft a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is astatine astir six weeks gestation.

South Carolina’s abortion prohibition was signed into instrumentality by Republican Gov. Henry McMaster successful February 2021 but was blocked from being enforced soon aft by an Obama-appointed national judge.

The abortion ban did not travel into effect until aft the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24 overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. For astir 50 years, Roe had overturned authorities laws by prohibiting states from banning abortions anterior to erstwhile the fetus is deemed “viable”—or perchance capable to unrecorded extracurricular its mother’s womb—deemed astatine astir the 2nd trimester of gestation astatine 24 weeks.

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic sued successful July, arguing successful tribunal documents (pdf) that the fetal heartbeat termination prohibition “violates the South Carolina Constitution’s close to privateness and its guarantees of adjacent extortion and owed process.”

A justice connected July 26 had denied a request for a impermanent injunction to artifact the law’s enforcement arsenic litigation continues.

The unanimous bid from the South Carolina Supreme Court connected Aug. 17 grants a impermanent injunction to Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, as justices see the law’s compliance with the authorities constitution.

“At this preliminary stage, we are incapable to find with finality the constitutionality of the Act nether our state’s law prohibition against unreasonable invasions of privacy,” the tribunal wrote successful its bid granting a preliminary injunction.

The justices said that they “nevertheless admit the plenary authorization of the legislature to legislate and marque nationalist argumentation decisions” wrong the constraints of the U.S. and South Carolina constitutions.

Abortions up to 20 weeks of gestation are for present allowed successful the state, with exceptions to support the beingness of a large woman, oregon if determination is simply a “fetal anomaly.”

The state’s Supreme Court determination comes connected the aforesaid time that the South Carolina Senate’s Medical Affairs Committee began considering connection connected a abstracted termination prohibition that prohibits astir each abortions but erstwhile the beingness of the parent is astatine risk. There would be nary exception for pregnancies caused by rape oregon incest. The measure would not restrict contraception access.

The measure was precocious connected the erstwhile time by the Republican-dominated South Carolina House Judiciary Committee successful a 13–7 vote.

Republicans power some the authorities House and Senate, but they are a fewer seats abbreviated of a two-thirds majority.

Jenny Black, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, applauded the South Carolina Supreme Court’s determination connected the fetal heartbeat termination ban. She said successful a connection that the instrumentality “interferes with a person’s backstage aesculapian decision.”

“Today the tribunal has granted our patients a invited reprieve, but the combat to reconstruct bodily autonomy to the radical of South Carolina is acold from over. No substance what happens, we volition ne'er halt warring for our patients’ close to marque their ain decisions astir their bodies and futures,” Black said.

In a connection to outlets, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson’s bureau said: “While we are disappointed, it’s important to constituent retired this is simply a impermanent injunction. The tribunal didn’t regularisation connected the constitutionality of the Fetal Heartbeat law. We volition proceed to support the law.”

Speaker of the House Murrell Smith said helium was “extremely disappointed” successful the decision, but remained assured the measurement would yet clasp up.

“The instrumentality is the overwhelming volition of the South Carolina Legislature, and truthful a reflection of the volition of the radical of this state,” helium said connected Twitter. “However disappointing this determination whitethorn be, I stay assured of the law’s constitutionality and look guardant to it being the instrumentality of our authorities erstwhile again.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mimi Nguyen Ly


Mimi Nguyen Ly covers satellite quality with a absorption connected U.S. news. Contact her astatine [email protected]