Planned Parenthood halts ‘all abortion services,’ waits for court intervention
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood confirmed Friday the organization has halted all abortion services in South Carolina.
The suspension of service came after Gov. Henry McMaster signed the fetal heartbeat bill into law Thursday afternoon at the Statehouse in Columbia, according to Planned Parenthood South Atlantic spokesperson Molly Rivera.
The organization is unable to provide those services unless a court intervenes to temporarily block the law, she said.
“Senate Bill 1 has flown through legislative process in a matter of weeks. We have known from the beginning that this would harm people in South Carolina and we are hopeful courts agree that this law is plainly and blatantly unconstitutional,” Rivera said in a statement. “We are hopeful to provide abortion care in South Carolina soon. When you restrict access to abortions it doesn’t make it less common, it only makes it less safe. People with means/financial resources will still have access in a neighboring state. The fight isn’t over. We will continue fight in the courts to make sure South Carolina can’t outlaw abortions.”
The fetal heartbeat bill’s first legal challenge is set for Friday afternoon.
A few hours before McMaster signed the bill, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and Greenville Women’s Clinic filed a lawsuit in the South Carolina District Court to block the bill.
A judge is set to review their motion for a temporary restraining order on the enforcement of the law at a 1 p.m. hearing Friday.
Judge Mary Geiger Lewis, a federal judge nominated to the bench by former President Barack Obama, is set to hear the case.
Both McMaster and South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson have vowed to fight any opposition to the law.
“My office will vigorously defend this law in court because there is nothing more important than protecting life,” Wilson said in a statement after the lawsuit was filed Thursday.
McMaster said on Twitter Thursday afternoon the state will “defend it with everything in us because there is northing more important than protecting the sanctity of life.”
Health centers in Charleston and Columbia are still open and providing other services, Rivera said.
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