Attorney general asks state Supreme Court to reconsider abortion ruling

S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson petitioned the state's high court to reconsider its ruling that struck down the state's Fetal Heartbeat Bill.
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 2:02 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - South Carolina’s attorney general on Monday asked the state’s high court to reconsider its ruling striking down the state’s six-week abortion ban.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson filed a rehearing request with the South Carolina Supreme Court. The court, in a 3-2 decision earlier this month, ruled that the 2021 “South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat Protection From Abortion Act,” which banned most abortions after around six weeks and allowed for limited exceptions at that point, violated the state constitution’s right to privacy.

Wilson released a statement on the filing Monday afternoon:

Today, we filed in the South Carolina Supreme Court our petition to rehear the Fetal Heartbeat Law ruling. We respectfully disagree with the Court’s decision and believe the intent of the South Carolina Constitution is clear. The framers of our privacy provision did not conceive this provision as creating a right to abortion.

The January court ruling striking down the ban was a significant victory for abortion rights advocates looking for safeguards in state constitutions to protect abortion access after the U.S. Supreme Court stripped away federal protections by overturning Roe v. Wade.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster in his State of the State speech last week vowed to press forward with efforts to further restrict abortion in the state. The Republican governor announced his support for a rehearing petition.

“I remain optimistic that we will prevail in our historic fight to protect and defend the right to, and the sanctity of, life,” McMaster said.

The court ruling striking down the six-week ban has put the issue of abortion restrictions back before the South Carolina General Assembly.