Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Judge blocks South Carolina's new strict abortion law pending state Supreme Court review


COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A judge on Friday granted a temporary stay on a new South Carolina law banning most abortions around six weeks of pregnancy until the state Supreme Court can review the measure. Are being given.

Judge Clifton Newman’s ruling came just 24 hours after Gov. Henry McMaster signed the bill into law. The decision means the ban reverts to South Carolina approximately 20 weeks after fertilization.

The law passed by the General Assembly on Tuesday is similar to a ban on abortion once cardiac activity is detected that lawmakers have already passed in 2021.

The state Supreme Court ruled in a 3-2 decision that the 2021 law violated the state’s constitution’s right to privacy. Legislative leaders said the new law makes a technical twist that should prompt at least one justice to change his mind, and the author of the January decision has retired.

The law went into effect as soon as it was signed, and Planned Parenthood immediately filed suit, saying it forced South Carolina abortion clinics to cancel appointments from patients along with their pregnancies and doctors to carefully review the new rules. put in limbo to do.

Abortion rights groups said the new law was so similar to the old law that it would harm clinics and women seeking treatment if it is allowed to remain in effect pending a full court review.

The majority opinion in the state Supreme Court’s 2021 decision to strike down the law said that although lawmakers have the authority to protect life, the privacy clause in the state constitution ultimately gives women the time to determine whether they want to have an abortion and most women don’t. It is not known until six weeks after conception that they are pregnant.

Justice Kaye Hearn wrote the opinion. She has since had to retire as she turned 72 and was replaced by a man, making South Carolina the only high court in the country with no women on the bench.

The changes to the new law are directed at John Few, another justice in the majority, who wrote his opinion that the 2021 law was poorly written because legislators did not do any work to determine whether the six Is the week time enough or not? The woman found out that she was pregnant.

Some suggested that they would have found a constitutionally even stricter absolute ban on abortion, saying that if a fetus had all the rights of a person, the ban would be like child abuse or rape laws that violate privacy rights. Don’t do it.

The new law includes exceptions for fatal fetal anomalies, the life and health of the patient, and rape or incest up to 12 weeks. Doctors could face up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Most Southern states have enacted stricter abortion laws over the past year, and abortion opponents say that’s why South Carolina has seen a sharp increase in the number of abortions performed and patients out-of-state.

Abortion is banned or severely restricted in much of the South, including restrictions during pregnancy in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia. In Georgia, it is allowed only in the first six weeks.

Starting July 1, North Carolina will ban most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy after the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature successfully overcame a Democratic governor’s veto earlier this month.