South Carolina abortion providers file lawsuit challenging six-week abortion ban
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Abortion providers in South Carolina have asked a state trial court to block the “Fetal Heartbeat Law” aiming to ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
RELATED STORY | Fetal Heartbeat Law now in effect in South Carolina
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic in SC, Greenville Women’s Clinic, and two physician plaintiffs are included in the new lawsuit filed Wednesday.
The law had been blocked by federal courts for more than a year, but that was lifted last month after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
As opposed to their previous lawsuit, filed in federal court, abortion providers are now suing in state court in Richland County.
Planned Parenthood said once Roe was repealed at the federal level, challenging South Carolina’s law at the state level was its remaining option.
“That was always an option for us — we just didn’t need it while Roe was in effect. And now we do, and now we’re challenging,” Planned Parenthood South Atlantic Public Affairs Director Vicki Ringer said.
RELATED STORY | What Supreme Court ruling means for SC’s Fetal Heartbeat Law, push to enact more abortion restrictions
Ringer said this approach has been taken in other states in recent weeks, since Roe’s overturn, and has been successful in states like Florida in getting restrictive laws on abortions temporarily blocked.
Abortion providers have asked a state trial court to block the law on the grounds that it violates South Carolinians’ constitutional rights to privacy and equal protection by banning abortion, providing inadequate protections for patients’ health, and by conditioning sexual assault survivors’ access to abortion on the disclosure of their personal information to law enforcement.
“Those state courts have blocked abortion bans because of that right to privacy, and if we don’t have privacy within our own bodies, we have no privacy anywhere,” Ringer said.
Republican Gov. Henry McMaster told reporters shortly after news of the lawsuit broke Wednesday that the state will defend the new law.
“There is a word privacy, the right to privacy is in our state constitution, unlike the federal constitution. The question is, what does that mean? And does that mean this? I think that our good law is a good law, and I think we will ultimately prevail,” McMaster said.
While this challenge concerns the six-week ban, South Carolina’s law on abortion will very likely change in the coming months and become more restrictive.
The committee working on new abortion legislation will hold its second meeting next Tuesday at noon, in room 110 of the Blatt Building on State House grounds.
As opposed to its first meeting, no public testimony will be heard this time. However, people can email written testimony that will be distributed to committee members to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A copy of the lawsuit can be found in full below:
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