Jul 13, 2022 - Health

Abortion providers sue South Carolina to challenge state's 6-week ban

Picture of Henry McMaster

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Abortion providers in South Carolina filed a lawsuit on Wednesday to challenge the state's six-week ban, which took effect shortly after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Driving the news: The six-week ban had been blocked since March 2021. Following the high bench's ruling, a federal district court granted a request from South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) to lift the injunction on the law and allow it to take effect immediately.

Details: The plaintiffs in the case argue in their lawsuit that the ban "violates the South Carolina Constitution's right to privacy and its guarantees of equal protection and due process."

  • The lawsuit says the ban "is an attack on families with low incomes, South Carolinians of color, and rural South Carolinians, who already face inequities in access to medical care and who will bear the brunt of the law’s cruelties."

State of play: Under the ban, abortions are illegal in the state when cardiac activity is detected, usually as soon as six weeks and well before many people know they are pregnant.

  • An abortion provider who violates the law could face a fine of $10,000 and two-year imprisonment.

What they're saying: "With today’s state court challenge, we are once again seeking to block this harmful law that cruelly denies South Carolinians the power to make their own personal medical decisions," said Jenny Black, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, one of the plaintiffs in the case.

  • "This fight is not new to us, and we know what’s at stake: Without court intervention, South Carolinians will continue to suffer in a state with dangerously high rates of maternal mortality and infant mortality, particularly among Black women and babies."

What we're watching: South Carolina state lawmakers are in the process of considering if nearly all abortions should be banned in the state.

  • Earlier this month, they held a public hearing where public speakers were allowed to participate and discuss whether the state should restrict abortion further than it does.

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