South Carolina’s 6-week abortion ban can continue for now

South Carolina can continue enforcing its six-week abortion ban after a state judge on Tuesday denied a request to temporarily block it amid a legal battle.

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and other plaintiffs had asked the judge for an injunction while their lawsuit challenging the ban moves through the courts. The lawsuit argues that the law violates the state constitution’s rights to privacy and equal protection.

Many state restrictions have increased in the South since the Supreme Court last month overturned the federal right to the procedure. A Georgia law banning most abortions once fetal cardiac activity is present — as early as six weeks into a pregnancy — took effect last week.

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In contrast to the South Carolina judge’s decision, a Louisiana judge ruled last week that three abortion clinics in that state can continue operating while a lawsuit goes through the courts.

South Carolina’s Republican-dominated legislature is on track to further restrict the procedure. A special committee last week advanced a proposal to ban almost all abortions, except when the mother’s life is at risk.

GOP Gov. Henry McMaster signed the six-week ban last year but a federal appeals court prevented it from taking effect in February. That hold lasted until the Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.


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