Judge Puts South Carolina Abortion Ban on Hold

A South Carolina judge on Friday temporarily halted a new law that would have restricted access to abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.

The order came just one day after Republican Gov. Henry McMaster. Six-week ban signed into law.and temporarily restores abortion access in the state up to 22 weeks of pregnancy.

Greenville Women’s Clinic – an abortion provider in South Carolina – and Planned Parenthood South Atlantic sued the state shortly after Mr. McMaster signed the law.

In his order blocking the new ban, Judge Clifton Newman said the status quo should remain in place until the Supreme Court can consider it. “It’s going to end there.”

South Carolina has become an important access point for abortion in the South as other states in the region have banned the procedure.

“Our doors are open, and we’re here to provide compassionate and judgment-free health care to all South Carolinians,” said Jenny Black, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.

South Carolina lawmakers struggled for months to come to an agreement to ban abortion after the Supreme Court last year in Roe v. Overturned Wade and ended the national right to abortion. Republicans fought over how far the ban should go and what exemptions should be allowed.

Three Republican women was part of a group of lawmakers who tried to block a near-total ban.

The ban that eventually passed would ban most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and require any woman seeking an abortion to first make two personal doctor’s appointments and two ultrasounds.

The law allows exceptions for victims of rape and indecency, and for fatal fetal abnormalities or where the woman’s life and health are at risk, but these exceptions are only available up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The ban is similar to an earlier six-week ban that was struck down by the state Supreme Court last year, known as the Heartbeat bill. Because heart activity can be detected around this time.

The court ruled that the South Carolina Constitution provides for the right to privacy, which includes the right to have an abortion.

“While I respect Judge Newman’s decision, I believe the heartbeat bill is constitutional and the Supreme Court will agree,” said Senate President Thomas Alexander, a Republican.

The case is now going to the state Supreme Court.

Republican lawmakers said they made changes to the new law to address court objections to the previous law.

There’s also been a change on the court that some feel could work in her favor: The justice who wrote the January ruling was the only woman on the court. She has since retired and been replaced by a man, making South Carolina the only state with an all-male high court.

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