South Carolina Prepares To Ban Abortions After 6 Weeks—But Court Challenges Could Follow


The South Carolina Senate passed a ban on most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy on Tuesday, and the governor is expected to sign it, joining a growing list of GOP-led states that have enacted strict abortion restrictions since Roe v. Wade was overturned last year— but South Carolina’s law faces some legal uncertainty.

Key facts

The ban — which passed the Senate 27-19 last Wednesday after passing the House 82-33 last Wednesday — would have exceptions for rape, incest and medical emergencies.

Doctors found to be providing services after the six-week threshold could face up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

People under 16 seeking an abortion without parental consent will have to get permission from a judge within about six weeks – excluding rape or incest victims, who would have 12 weeks.

The supplement will also be needed to be paid from the day of conception by the child’s “biological father” according to the new rules.

Abortion in South Carolina is currently legal up to 22 weeks—but the regulations have locked up the state’s three clinics, and abortion access has generally been unavailable for the past 12 weeks.

What to watch out for

Republican Governor Henry McMaster the tweet said he will sign the bill “as soon as possible”.

A surprising fact

South Carolina’s bill tries to bring back a similar law that was overturned The state Supreme Court earlier this year on the grounds that it violated the right to privacy under the state constitution. Lawmakers amended the bill to help pass the court, which has been reshuffled following the retirement this year of Kaya Hearn, who was the court’s only female judge. Still, abortion rights advocates say they will challenge the new law: Planned Parenthood South Atlantic CEO Jenny Black said, “We’ll see you in court,” and the organization called the bill “even tougher” than the previous ban.

Key background

If enacted, South Carolina would become one of more than a dozen states to ban most or all abortions. Opponents of the bill say the six-week deadline would ban most abortions because many women don’t know they’re pregnant at that point. Many states have rushed to enact such bans since Roe v. Wade was overturned last year by a 6-3 vote by the Supreme Court, eliminating the federal right to abortion, although several state courts have prevented abortion bans from taking effect. Passed by Nebraska lawmakers last week account banning most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy. North Carolina’s Republican House and Senate also voted account which restricts nearly all abortions in the state after 12 weeks, overriding a veto by the state’s Democratic governor.


Three Republican senators voted against the bill, including Sen. Katrina Shealey. “We in the South Carolina Legislature are not God. We don’t know what’s going on in someone’s life,” Shealy said. “We don’t have the right to make decisions for someone else.”

Further reading

South Carolina is poised to renew its ban on abortion around 6 weeks of pregnancy after a Senate vote (AP)

Some state Republicans are changing abortion tactics (The Washington Post)

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