SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) — South Carolina’s “Fetal Heartbeat” ban on abortions, which prevented the procedure after about six weeks of pregnancy, was blocked Wednesday by the state’s supreme court over possible conflicts with prior privacy laws.
The court unanimously granted a temporary injunction that blocks the abortion ban, which had gone into effect on June 27, 2022, only days after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
“We applaud the court’s decision to protect the people of South Carolina from this cruel law that interferes with a person’s private medical decision,” said Jenny Black, president of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, in a press release.
The ban required doctors to perform an ultrasound to see if the heartbeat of a fetus could be detected before an abortion could be approved. In the ruling, the supreme court judges decided the issue needed further review before changing the status quo established under Roe v. Wade.
The state’s supreme court agreed with the plaintiffs in a legal challenge to the ban who claimed it was an invasion of privacy, according to prior South Carolina laws.
“At this preliminary stage, we are unable to determine with finality the constitutionality of the [Fetal Heartbeat] Act under our state’s constitutional prohibition against unreasonable invasions of privacy,” the state’s supreme court said in the ruling.
The legal challenge was initiated by Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and Greenville Women’s Clinic, the organizations that operate the three clinics offering abortion in South Carolina.
Democratic nominee for Governor Joe Cunningham issued a press release soon after the announcement.
“The South Carolina Supreme Court’s unanimous decision to block the six-week abortion ban is great news for the people of South Carolina. This blatant government invasion of privacy should have never become law and I am relieved to see the Court put it on hold,” he said.