South Carolina Supreme Court halts 6-week abortion ban, as lawmakers push stricter measures

"We will continue to defend the law,” South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said

Updated: August 17, 2022 - 9:17pm

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The South Carolina Supreme Court on Wednesday put a temporary block on a statewide ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, just as state lawmakers push an almost complete ban on the procedure.

In its ruling, the state court avoided ruling on the ban's legality under the state constitution, noting “we 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," according to The Hill.

Many states have pushed to ban abortion following the Supreme Court's overturning of the landmark precedent set in Roe v. Wade that guaranteed the right to the procedure nationwide. In June of this year, the court determined that the case was improperly decided and that the U.S. Constitution did not guarantee abortion access.

South Carolina passed its six-week abortion ban prior to the High Court's Dobbs v. Jackson ruling. At the time, it was one of the strictest laws in the country governing the procedure. The "Heartbeat Law" took effect in late June of this year after a federal judge lifted the existing block in the aftermath of the Dobbs decision.

Wednesday's ruling temporarily suspend the ban, allowing women to legally pursue abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, pending the outcome of the case.

South Carolina Republican Attorney General Alan Wilson highlighted that the court had not ruled on the ban's constitutionality and vowed to continue the legal battle.

“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,” he said, per the outlet.

The court ruling came the same day that a state House committee advanced a stricter ban on abortion to the House floor for a vote. It does not include exceptions for rape or incest, according to The Hill.