South Carolina upholds 6-week abortion ban

August 23, 2023

South Carolina’s state Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the state lawmakers’ second version of a six-week abortion ban.

The 4-1 ruling by the Court—now consisting of all male justices after the lone woman on the court, Justice Kaye Hearn, was replaced—was a reversal of an earlier ruling by the same court that struck down a six-week ban. It had been Hearn in January who’d written the previous opinion striking down the ban.

Writing for the new majority, Justice John Kittredge acknowledged that the 2023 law infringes on “a woman’s right of privacy and bodily autonomy,” but he said that the state legislature had reasonably determined in its new version of the law that those interests don’t outweigh “the interest of the unborn child to live.”

With Hearn off the court, Republican lawmakers in South Carolina enacted a new abortion law. It was structured to address concerns by Justice John Few, who had noted in January that the initial law did not take into account whether restrictions on privacy were reasonable enough to outweigh the unborn’s right to life. 

Abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, sued over the new law, which is how it ended up before the state Supreme Court Justices.

South Carolina is now one of at least eight states that ban abortion after six weeks, including Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, North Dakota and Texas.

PHOTO: South Carolina State Supreme Court

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