A South Carolina judge halted the state’s six-week abortion ban on Friday, pausing the legislation from taking effect until the state Supreme Court can rule on the measure.
Judge Clifton Newman’s decision brings a temporary reprieve for those seeking abortions in the region after Gov. Henry McMaster signed the bill into law Thursday without advance notice.
The state’s abortion law now returns to the previous 22-week limit, which has been in place since last year.
Some residents were left in limbo in the recent hours since McMaster’s surprise signing of the bill, wondering if legal abortions being performed had suddenly become illegal.
“It’s extraordinarily difficult not only for the women themselves, but for their doctors — not just the doctors at Planned Parenthood — but hospitals all across the state who need to understand what to do in an emergency,” said Vicki Ringer, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood’s South Carolina chapter.
The events being played out in South Carolina are indicative of a larger issue that’s been occurring all over the country. Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, many states have been passing new abortion laws that leave residents scrambling to find legal access. Sometimes weeks, or even days, can make the difference between a legal or illegal abortion.
[ Nowhere to turn: South Carolina abortion ban leaves South with few options ]
When the bill was signed Thursday, Planned Parenthood immediately filed a lawsuit against the state. The abortion rights organization argued that the law was extremely similar to the six-week ban proposed and struck down by the state Supreme Court in 2021.
That bill had sought to restrict abortions once cardiac activity was detected, but judges ruled that it would violate the state constitution’s right to privacy.
Now, Newman argues the law should again be reviewed by the state’s highest judges.
“The status quo should be maintained until the Supreme Court reviews its decision,” said Newman. “It’s going to end up there.”
With News Wire Services