South Carolina’s new law banning most abortions at about six weeks will not yet go into effect, after a judge temporarily halted its implementation, pending review by the state Supreme Court.
Judge Clifton Newman ruled about 24 hours after Governor Henry McMaster signed the bill into law. The decision means South Carolina’s previous ban after about 20 weeks of fertilization continues for the time being.
“The status quo must be maintained until the Supreme Court reviews its decision,” Newman said. “It will end there.”
the The law was issued Tuesday By the General Assembly is similar to the ban on abortion once heart activity is detected that lawmakers passed in 2021.
The state supreme court decided in a 3-2 ruling that the 2021 law violated the state constitution’s right to privacy. Legislative leaders said the new law made technical amendments that would influence at least one justice to change his mind, and the writer of the January ruling has since retired.
The law went into effect as soon as it was signed and Planned Parenthood immediately sued, saying it had put South Carolina abortion clinics into limbo with canceled appointments from patients in their pregnancies, and doctors had to review the new regulations carefully.
The abortion rights group said the new law is so similar to the old one that clinics and women seeking treatment would be harmed if it were allowed to remain in effect until a full judicial review.
The majority opinion in the state Supreme Court ruling overturning the 2021 law said that although lawmakers have the power to protect life, the privacy clause of the state constitution ultimately gives women time to decide whether or not they want to have an abortion. I do not know that they are pregnant after six weeks of pregnancy.
Judge Kay Hearn wrote the opinion. She has since had to retire because she turned 72 and has been replaced by a man, making South Carolina the only Supreme Court in the country without a woman on the bench.
Changes in the new law are directed at another justice in the majority, John Fu, who wrote his own opinion saying the 2021 law was poorly written because lawmakers have not shown it has done any work to determine whether six weeks is enough for a woman to know she is pregnant.
A few suggested that he would have found a complete ban on abortion constitutionally more stringent, saying that if the fetus had all human rights, the ban would be like child abuse or rape laws that do not violate privacy rights.
The new law includes exceptions for fatal fetal abnormalities, patient life and health, and rape or incest for up to 12 weeks. The doctors could face criminal charges of up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Most Southern states enacted stricter abortion laws in the past year, and abortion opponents said that’s why South Carolina has seen a sharp increase in the number of abortions performed and patients out-of-state.
Abortion is prohibited or severely restricted in much of the South, including bans throughout pregnancy in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia. In Georgia, this is only allowed for the first six weeks.
Most abortions after 12 weeks of gestation will be banned in North Carolina starting July 1 after the state’s Republican-controlled legislature successfully overridden a Democratic governor’s veto earlier this month.