COLUMBIA, South Carolina (AP) — South Carolina’s Supreme Court ruled Thursday banning abortion after six weeks, and restrictions enacted by the Deep South violate the state’s constitutional rights. I decided.
The decision marked an important victory for abortion rights advocates who were suddenly forced to find protections at the state level after the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the Roe v. Wade case in June. With federal abortion protection gone, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic filed a lawsuit in July over privacy rights in the South Carolina constitution. As such, we are facing challenges.
But since the High Court’s seminal ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a South Carolina state court ruled until Thursday that constitutional rights to privacy not explicitly enshrined in the U.S. Constitution extend to abortion. did not conclusively rule on whether
“Planned Parenthood continues to work day by day, state by state, to protect that right for all,” Alexis McGill Johnson, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a post-judgment statement Thursday. I was.
The 3-2 decision comes nearly two years after Republican Governor Henry McMaster signed the restriction into law. Postcardiac bans, including exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, or pregnancies that endangered the patient’s life, sparked lawsuits almost immediately.
Justice Kay Hahn, writing on behalf of the majority, said states “undoubtedly” have the power to limit privacy rights and protect against state interference in abortion decisions. But she added that any restrictions must allow enough time to decide on a pregnancy and take “reasonable steps” if she chooses to terminate that pregnancy.
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“Six weeks is simply not a reasonable amount of time for these two things to happen,” Hearn added.
Currently, South Carolina prohibits most abortions at about 20 weeks post conception or 22 weeks gestational age.
White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre took to Twitter to praise the crackdown “against the state’s extreme and dangerous abortion ban.”
“Women should be able to make their own decisions about their bodies,” added Jean-Pierre.
The changing order has given both supporters and opponents of the law cause for celebration and dismay. , I’ve seen it go back to the latest limits and back again.
A federal court had previously suspended the law. But his June ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily allowed the restrictions to take hold. The state Supreme Court then temporarily stayed this August as the judge considered new challenges.
In South Carolina, lawyers representing the state legislature have argued that the right to privacy should be construed narrowly. , argued that the historical context suggested that the legislators intended to protect against raids and seizures. They argued that previous state Supreme Court rulings had already expanded the right to physical autonomy.
Chief Justice Donald Beatty and Justice John Cannon Few joined Hahn in the majority. Justice George James Jr., in a dissenting opinion, wrote that privacy rights protect only against search and seizure.Judge John Kittredge wrote separately that the state constitution protects privacy rights beyond search and seizure. However, it did not apply to this case.
Multiple judges stressed that Thursday’s ruling addressed only legal issues and denied the political aspects of the debate.
The judge’s limited ruling left the door open for future changes. The state House and Senate failed to reach an agreement last summer on additional special session restrictions on abortion. Still, a small but growing group of conservative lawmakers vowed to push the boundaries again this legislative session — despite earlier claims by some Republican leaders, the deal was a no-go. Is possible.
In a statement to the Associated Press, South Carolina Democratic Commissioner Trav Robertson said the ruling represented “a voice of reason and sanity to soften Republican legislative action disenfranchising women and doctors.” He praised it for what it does.
Republicans led by the governor vowed Thursday to push for a new round of restrictions. McMaster, who is about to enter his final term in office, has suggested that new abortion measures will be a priority when Congress reconvenes next week.
“With this opinion, the Court has clearly exceeded its mandate,” McMaster’s statement said. “People have spoken to us about this issue many times through our elected representatives and we look forward to working with the General Assembly to rectify this error.”
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Republican South Carolina House Speaker G. Murrell Smith Jr. tweeted that state judges created a “constitutional right to abortion in the absence of it.” Smith added that, like Kittredge, the decision did not respect the separation of powers.
In a dissenting opinion, Kittredge cautioned against letting the judiciary resolve what he called a “policy dispute.”
“Our Congress has made policy decisions regulating abortion in South Carolina. I’m here.
Abortion access advocates on Thursday doubled down on their opposition to the new restrictions in anticipation of further legislative debate.
South Carolina Democratic House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford said the continuation of the Republican Party’s “war on women” was a deliberate waste of taxpayer dollars.
And advocacy groups standing shoulder-to-shoulder outside the Palmetto High Court on Thursday afternoon celebrated what they called a “delegation.”
“This is a monumental victory for the movement to protect legal abortion in the South,” said Jenny Black, president of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, in an earlier statement. “Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and our partners will continue the fight to stop legislation that allows politicians to interfere in people’s personal health care decisions.”
Associated Press writers Meg Kinnard and Jeffrey Collins contributed to this report. James Pollard is a member of the Associated Press/Reports for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to cover hidden issues.