COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – A lawsuit challenging South Carolina’s six-week abortion ban had its day in court.
The state Supreme Court met Wednesday morning to hear arguments in the Planned Parenthood versus South Carolina case.
Justices questioned attorneys representing abortion providers in South Carolina and the state for more than two hours.
Right now, the state’s six-week abortion ban, also known as the Fetal Heartbeat Protection from Abortion Act, is temporarily blocked pending the Supreme Court’s decision.
In court, attorneys for abortion providers argued the right to privacy in the state Constitution extends to a women’s right to an abortion.
The privacy right was added to the state Constitution in the 1970s by South Carolina voters.
Following the hearing, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic attorney Julie Murray said, “I think I was struck this morning by how little comfort came from the state as to why if it can ban abortion. Why it cannot also ban birth control. Why it cannot control women’s lives in other ways.”
Attorneys for the General Assembly, Governor and Attorney General argued the right to privacy in the Constitution is limited to search and seizure and was not intended to protect the right to an abortion.
They also pointed out the word abortion is not included in the privacy provision.
There is no timetable for when justices could make a decision in this case.
“Our decision will not be based on politics and will not be based on cultural differences,” said Chief Justice Donald Beatty. “It will be based purely on what we believe the law says and requires in this instance.”
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson was in the courtroom Wednesday.
He said he’s optimistic about the state’s arguments, “I feel like we stuck to the rule of law and the plenary authority of the General Assembly and the governor, the executive branch, to pass and sign legislation into law.”
While South Carolina’s six-week ban remains temporarily blocked, the state’s 20-week ban enacted in 2016 is in effect.
You can watch all of Wednesday’s arguments here.