A South Carolina state judge Friday temporarily blocked a newly-signed abortion ban that went into effect Thursday after being signed by South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. The ban would have prohibited most abortions in the state from being performed after six weeks of pregnancy.
McMaster responded to the judge’s ruling, writing, “We will continue fighting to protect the lives of the unborn in South Carolina and the constitutional law that protects them. I hope that the Supreme Court will take this matter up without delay.”
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, Greenville Women’s Clinic and two physicians filed the lawsuit Thursday, the same day that McMaster signed the ban into law. The group asked that a South Carolina court in Richland County temporarily block the ban’s enforcement.
The lawsuit lists 17 causes of action in favor of enjoining the ban. One of the first arguments the lawsuit relied upon was the South Carolina Supreme Court’s January ruling that a previous attempt to pass a six-week abortion ban was unconstitutional. The groups argue that individuals are entitled to privacy rights, which include “the right to make choices about one’s medical care and to preserve one’s bodily autonomy.”
Furthermore, the groups claim that enforcing the six-week ban this time around would violate the state constitution’s equal protection clause. The lawsuit asserts that the ban unfairly favors individuals who are pregnant and wish to remain as such over those who seek an abortion. According to the lawsuit, this “entrenches stereotypical, antiquated, and overbroad generalizations about the roles, abilities, and decision-making capacities of women.”
Among other causes of action, the lawsuit also claims that the ban violates the due process rights of individuals seeking abortions and fails to account for psychological emergencies that would necessitate an abortion. The lawsuit also contains causes of action relating to the bill’s vague language, its status as an unconstitutional bill of attainder and a potential Medicaid Act violation.
The judge’s Friday decision to enjoin the law means that, for the time being, abortions remain available in South Carolina after the six-week limit. But the court is expected to take further action, as this is only a temporary act. The groups that initially brought the lawsuit have promised to continue fighting to ensure abortions remain available in South Carolina.