S.C. court blocks abortion law as Senate considers new one

Aug 17, 2022, 1:36 AM | Updated: 2:57 pm
State Sen. Richard Cash, center, a leading supporter of South Carolina's recently implemented Fetal...

State Sen. Richard Cash, center, a leading supporter of South Carolina's recently implemented Fetal Heartbeat law banning abortion around six weeks, sits during a Senate Medical Affairs Committee meeting, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/James Pollard)

(AP Photo/James Pollard)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina Supreme Court on Wednesday temporarily blocked the state’s “fetal heartbeat” law banning abortion around six weeks as lawmakers across the street were considering new restrictions.

The restrictions, previously blocked by federal courts, took effect shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. With federal abortion protections gone, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic sued under the state constitution’s privacy protections. For the time being, abortion is once again legal from 20 weeks of pregnancy in the state.

“At this preliminary stage, we are unable to determine with finality the constitutionality of the Act under our state’s constitutional prohibition against unreasonable invasions of privacy,” the Court wrote in its order granting a preliminary injunction.

Meanwhile, the South Carolina Senate had just started taking its first steps toward further abortion restrictions. The Medical Affairs Committee listened to nearly nine hours of invited testimony and public comment Wednesday as they consider language for another abortion bill. On Tuesday, the South Carolina House Judiciary Committee advanced a near-total abortion ban with no exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Jenny Black, the President of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, said the fight was “far from over.”

“We applaud the court’s decision to protect the people of South Carolina from this cruel law that interferes with a person’s private medical decision,” Black said. “For more than six weeks, patients have been forced to travel hundreds of miles for an abortion or suffer the life-altering consequences of forced pregnancy.”

Speaker of the House Murrell Smith said on Twitter that he was extremely disappointed in the decision, but remained confident the measure would ultimately hold up.

“The law is the overwhelming will of the South Carolina Legislature, and therefore a reflection of the will of the people of this state,” Smith said.

The justices noted that the legislature held authority to make public policy decisions within the restraints of the U.S. and South Carolina constitutions. On the Senate side, committee members emphasized they were not considering any specific measures at the moment.

The state’s recently implemented and now blocked six-week abortion ban loomed large in Wednesday’s deliberations. Abortion opponents said it had not gone far enough. Supporters of abortion access said its effects showed any new restrictions would be even more harmful.

Several doctors invited to speak by Democratic Sen. Brad Hutto outlined the ways the six-week ban had made their jobs more difficult.

Since the act took effect, doctors reported an inability to treat miscarriages because pharmacies had stopped carrying necessary medications in case doing so might be illegal. Lawyers were unwilling to advise them in case their comments might run afoul of the law. Some patients were scared to divulge their full menstrual history out of fear it may be used against them.

“It’s cruel and it’s creating stress and delays in what is already a tragic situation,” said Dr. Amy Crockett, a physician with board certification in obstetrics and gynecology.

Outside of the State House, about 50 demonstrators with Planned Parenthood gathered under a tent for a watch party. Protesters ate pizza and organizers provided snacks to those coming in and out of the committee meeting. As news of the court’s decision spread, they celebrated with hugs and high fives.

Hutto said he does not expect the ruling to affect lawmakers’ schedule. The Senate Medical Affairs Committee will present a report on Sept. 6, when the entire upper chamber will convene to discuss abortion restrictions for the first time since January 2021’s contentious debate.

Since those discussions, the Supreme Court has opened the door for measures previously considered not politically feasible by leading drafters of the upper chamber’s “fetal heartbeat” bill.

At that time, Republican Sen. Larry Grooms said that proposal posed “the greatest chance for life for unborn children.” Grooms said then that exceptions in cases of rape or incest would be necessary to garner enough support for the measure’s passage.

While Hutto said the upper chamber typically takes a more “thoughtful, measured approach,” questions around the issue’s changing politics remain.

“Now that the legal obstacle has moved out of the way, will they change their minds?” Hutto said to The Associated Press.

___

For AP’s full coverage of the Supreme Court ruling on abortion, go to: https://apnews.com/hub/abortion.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

2 South American researchers murdered in Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri homicide and arson detectives are investigating the deaths of two South American researchers whose bodies were found after a weekend apartment fire near the Kansas City biomedical research center where they worked. Kansas City police identified the victims as Camila Behrensen, 24, of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Pablo Guzmán […]
17 hours ago
Associated Press

CEO of election software firm held on ID info theft charges

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The founder and CEO of a software company targeted by election deniers was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of stealing data on Los Angeles County poll workers. Konnech Corporation’s Eugene Yu, 51, was held on suspicion of theft of personal identifying information and computer hard drives. Other “digital evidence” was seized by […]
17 hours ago
Data flash cards sit on certification forms for ballot-counting machines bearing the signature of T...
Associated Press

Rural New Mexico county seeks removal of elections clerk

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A county commission in rural New Mexico that has been roiled by election conspiracies is trying to oust its election director just five weeks before Election Day for improperly certifying ballot-counting equipment. Torrance County is repeating the certification of its vote-counting machines for the Nov. 8 general election based on […]
17 hours ago
FILE - Presidential election campaign flags hang for sale, featuring the faces of both current Pres...
Associated Press

Bolsonaro, Lula fight for endorsements before Brazil runoff

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva started bringing centrist allies into their camps Tuesday, two days after voting in Latin America’s biggest democracy sent the rivals to a Oct. 30 runoff. Da Silva, a leftist who is universally known as Lula and was president from […]
17 hours ago
In this photo provided by Johnny Lauder, Lauder takes a selfie with his mother, Karen Lauder, 86, a...
Associated Press

Son documents harrowing rescue of mom from Ian’s floodwaters

In one photo, Johnny Lauder’s 86-year-old mother is in her Florida home, submerged nearly to her shoulders in black murky water, staring straight at the camera, mouth open. In another, she lies just above the waterline on a table, wrapped in sheets to keep warm. In yet another, she’s being pushed through the water in […]
17 hours ago
Family and friends of inmates wait for news of their jailed loved ones after a deadly prison riot i...
Associated Press

Drug capo among 16 dead in bloody Ecuador prison riot

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — The death toll from a bloody fight among inmates at a prison in central Ecuador rose to 16 Tuesday, and authorities said one of the dead was an alleged drug gang boss who had evaded charges in Peru by faking his death during the pandemic. Officials said the number of wounded […]
17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
S.C. court blocks abortion law as Senate considers new one