South Carolina Supreme Court takes up state’s abortion ban

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Over 18 months of authorized backwards and forwards will come to a head Wednesday in a case that would decide the scope of abortion restrictions in South Carolina.

The South Carolina Supreme Court will hear arguments over whether or not the state structure prohibits a 2021 ban on abortions after cardiac exercise is detected, usually round six weeks, with exceptions for pregnancies attributable to rape or incest or endangering a mom’s life.

The arguments come a day after the South Carolina Senate once more rejected a proposal to ban almost all abortions within the state. A convention committee was established to work out the variations between the House and Senate payments.

The lawsuit — introduced by Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, Greenville Women’s Clinic and abortion suppliers — is the newest problem since Republican Gov. Henry McMaster signed the restrictions into legislation in February 2021.

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic virtually instantly sued. The effort proved profitable when a U.S. District Court decide suspended the legislation on its second day in impact and a federal appeals courtroom upheld that ruling a couple of year later.

But the restrictions took impact shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court in June overturned Roe v. Wade.

After that ruling, abortion suppliers turned to the South Carolina structure’s rights to privateness and equal safety of their effort to guard entry. In August, the state’s excessive courtroom briefly blocked the ban because the justices weighed the brand new lawsuit. Abortion is presently banned at 20 weeks in South Carolina.

The South Carolina legislature in 1974 codified the U.S. Supreme Court’s determination in Roe v. Wade. A “conflict in the law” arose when lawmakers retained that language within the 2021 ban, the justices on the state’s highest courtroom wrote within the preliminary injunction order. The 2021 ban was additionally “unusual,” the justices wrote, in that it relied on Roe’s overruling.

“At this preliminary stage, we are unable to determine with finality the constitutionality of the Act under our state’s constitutional prohibition against unreasonable invasions of privacy,” the justices wrote in August.

South Carolina ratified the suitable to privateness in 1971. Because it didn’t explicitly point out “abortion,” the state’s lawyers argue that the right to privacy should be applied more limitedly against searches and seizures.

The abortion providers’ lawyers argue that rights do not have to be expressly mentioned to still provide protections. They also argue that a broader legal understanding of “privacy” had already been established at that time through federal cases like 1965’s Griswold v. Connecticut, where the U.S. Supreme Court protected the use of contraception by a married couple.

The abortion providers also challenged the section of the 2021 ban that requires a physician to report allegations of rape or incest made by someone seeking an abortion to a sheriff. Their lawyers argue that the measure forces the disclosure of medical information that is covered by the right to privacy in one’s “papers” and “effects.”

The state’s attorneys argue that the suitable to privateness could also be waived by a voluntary disclosure in such conditions. Further, the attorneys argue the supply promotes state pursuits in defending “the lifetime of the unborn” and “maternal health” as well as “victims of crimes.”

The abortion providers’ lawyers argue that the state could still protect crime victims without conditioning “access to vital medical care” on a “coerced” disclosure.


James Pollard is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit nationwide service program that locations journalists in native newsrooms to report on undercovered points.

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