Just days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in late June, a previously blocked “fetal heartbeat” law that banned most abortions after around six weeks of pregnancy came into effect in South Carolina, though it was immediately challenged by pro-abortion groups in the state.
That six-week abortion ban has now been blocked once again just a few weeks later by the South Carolina Supreme Court in a unanimous decision handed down on Wednesday, the Washington Examiner reported.
The high court’s jurists agreed to impose a temporary injunction on the six-week abortion ban while the challenges to that law’s constitutionality continue to play out in the Palmetto State’s court system.
The fight will continue
South Carolina’s The State reported that, in the meantime, the state’s prior 20-week ban on abortions will go back into effect while the litigation over the six-week ban continues, and both Gov. Henry McMaster (R) and Attorney General Alan Wilson (R) vowed to press forward with their defense of the blocked law.
“At this preliminary stage, we are unable to determine with finality of the (six-week abortion) Act under our state’s constitutional prohibition against unreasonable invasions of privacy,” the justices wrote in their decision.
In reimposing a block on that law, however, The Hill noted that the state’s high court acknowledged that they “nevertheless recognize the plenary authority of the legislature to legislate and make public policy decisions, subject only to the constraints imposed by the United States Constitution and the South Carolina Constitution.”
Abortion rights advocates cheered the ruling, of course, but their celebration may prove short-lived. Attorney General Wilson said in a statement, “While we are disappointed, it’s important to point out this is a temporary injunction. The court didn’t rule on the constitutionality of the Fetal Heartbeat law. We will continue to defend the law.”
Even more restrictive abortion ban under consideration
Ironically, in challenging and successfully blocking the six-week abortion ban, albeit only temporarily, abortion providers may have unwittingly set the stage for an even more restrictive ban on the procedures to eventually become law, the Examiner noted, depending upon how the court ultimately rules with respect to the legislature’s authority.
That six-week ban had a number of exceptions built into it, such as allowances for the health and well-being of the mother and for instances of incest and rape.
A state House subcommittee on Tuesday, however, granted approval to a proposal that would impose a virtually complete ban on abortions at any time with only limited exceptions for the physical health of the mother and nothing else.
“I am encouraged that this bill has made it to the floor of the House and pro-life legislators look forward to the debate. We are closer than ever before to ending the practice of abortion as birth control in our state,” state Rep. John McCravy III (R), an author of the bill, told Fox News in a statement.
During the committee hearing on Tuesday, McCravy said, “The No. 1 thing that this bill does is to end the practice of abortion being used as birth control in our state. The No. 1 thing that this bill does not do is to endanger the healthcare of women in any way.”