In a unanimous decision, the South Carolina Supreme Court temporarily blocked the state’s six-week abortion ban.
The six-page order was signed on August 17 by the five sitting judges.
The order means that for the time being, as the litigation continues, abortion clinics in the state can perform abortion procedures for up to 20 weeks, which was state law before the legislature did not pass the six-week ban.
“Although we temporarily prohibit the application of the law, we nevertheless recognize the full authority of the Legislature to make laws and to make decisions of public policy, subject only to the constraints imposed by the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of South Carolina,” the judges wrote.
The justices said that although the US Supreme Court ruled in June that there is no right to privacy in the federal Constitution, it is an “arguably proximate question” whether South Carolina’s own state constitution grants some right to privacy that may affect state laws regarding abortion.
“We always knew we had to fight to defend the ‘Fetal Heartbeat Act,'” said Brian Symmes, spokesman for Governor Henry McMaster. we will prevail in state court.”
The unanimous decision handed down by the South Carolina Supreme Court on Wednesday comes as Lawmakers consider more restrictive ban on abortion after the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. This week, the House Judiciary Committee proposed a near-total ban on abortion that would exclude the life and health of the mother only exceptionally.
South Carolina’s six-week ban, which prohibits abortions generally around six weeks of pregnancy and allows certain exceptions, had been blocked by federal courts but took effect in June after the US Supreme Court decision.
“We applaud the court’s decision to protect the people of South Carolina from this cruel law that interferes with a person’s private medical decision-making,” Jenny Black, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, said Wednesday.
“For more than six weeks, patients were forced to travel hundreds of miles to have an abortion or suffer the devastating consequences of a forced pregnancy. Today, the court granted our patients a welcome reprieve, but the fight to restore bodily autonomy to the people of South Carolina is far from over.
Journalist Joseph Bustos contributed to this report.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.