By Jeffrey Collins | Associated Press
COLUMBIA, S.C. — A judge put South Carolina’s new law banning most abortions around six weeks of pregnancy on hold Friday until the state Supreme Court can review the measure, giving providers a temporary reprieve in a region that has enacted strict limits on the procedure.
Judge Clifton Newman’s ruling that put the state’s abortion law back at roughly 20 weeks came about 24 hours after Gov. Henry McMaster signed the bill into law without any notice, which had left dozens of people seeking abortions in limbo and created the potential for a legal abortion becoming illegal as a doctor performed it.
“It’s extraordinarily difficult not only for the women themselves, but for their doctors — not just the doctors at Planned Parenthood — but hospitals all across the state who need to understand what to do in an emergency,” said Vicki Ringer, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood in South Carolina.
The developments in South Carolina are a microcosm of what has played out across the country since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade a year ago, allowing states to decide their abortion laws and leaving patients scrambling to find care wherever they can in situations where weeks or even days can make a huge difference.
The South Carolina measure joins stiff limitations pending in North Carolina and Florida, states that had been holdouts in the South providing wider access to the procedure, threatening to further delay abortions as appointments pile up in the region.
The state has seen the number of abortions climb sharply as other Southern states passed near-total bans. Before the overturn of Roe, less than 1 in 10 abortions in South Carolina were performed on people who lived out of state. Now, that figure is near 50% and the number of abortions each month has at least tripled, according to state health data.
The law passed Tuesday by the General Assembly is similar to a ban on abortion once cardiac activity can be detected that lawmakers passed in 2021. The state Supreme Court decided in a 3-2 ruling that the 2021 law violated the state constitution’s right to privacy.
Legislative leaders said the new law makes technical tweaks that should sway at least one justice to change his mind.
But Newman said it wasn’t his role to figure out if that would be successful.
“The status quo should be maintained until the Supreme Court reviews its decision,” Newman said. “It’s going to end up there.”
Hours after the ruling, lawyers for the state asked the Supreme Court to either cancel Newman’s order or hear the case as quickly as possible to “protect the lives of countless unborn children,” they wrote in court papers.
Planned Parenthood immediately sued after the law went into effect Thursday, saying South Carolina’s abortion clinics were flooded with canceled appointments from patients further along in their pregnancies and doctors were forced to carefully review the new regulations on the fly.
The abortion rights group said the new law was so similar to the old one that clinics …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment