Judge Halts South Carolina’s Six-Week Abortion Restriction Pending State Supreme Court Review

A judge halted South Carolina’s six-week abortion restriction pending a review from the state’s Supreme Court.

Republican Gov. Henry McMaster signed The Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion ActS. 474, into law on Thursday.

One day later, on Friday, Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood’s request for a temporary restraining order to halt the law.

Planned Parenthood is suing the state alongside the Greenville Women’s Clinic and two abortionists. The lawsuit alleges that the law “violates South Carolinians’ constitutional rights to privacy, equal protection, and substantive due process by banning abortion, providing inadequate protection for patients’ health, and conditioning sexual assault survivors’ access to abortion on the disclosure of their personal information to law enforcement, and by violating the Medicaid Act and improperly targeting Planned Parenthood through an unconstitutional bill of attainder.”

The temporary restraining order means that abortion remains legal in the state, for now, up to 22 weeks of pregnancy.

Jenny Black, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, issued a statement celebrating the order.

“Today the court has granted our patients a welcome reprieve from this dangerous abortion ban,” Black said. “Our doors remain open, and we are here to provide compassionate and judgment-free health care to all South Carolinians. While we have a long fight ahead, we will not stop until our patients are again free to make their own decisions about their bodies and futures.”

Alexis McGill Johnson, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, also celebrated the decision.

“Today’s court ruling offers much-needed temporary relief for patients across the state. But make no mistake: South Carolina politicians have made clear they will stop at nothing to strip their constituents of access to abortion—defying the state Supreme Court which just months ago ruled that a six-week abortion ban is a blatant violation of South Carolinians’ constitutional rights. While these attacks continue, Planned Parenthood and our partners will not back down,” Johnson said. “Every person deserves access to safe, legal abortion, regardless of who you are, how much you earn, or where you live.”

Gov. McMaster responded to the ruling on Twitter, saying that he has filed an emergency motion requesting the S.C. Supreme Court to resolve this issue quickly.

“Moments ago, before 5pm, we filed an emergency motion requesting the S.C. Supreme Court to resolve this issue quickly,” the governor tweeted. “The life of every South Carolinian – born or unborn – is precious and it’s His gift to us.”


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