Jul 26, 2022 - Health

South Carolina's 6-week abortion ban can be enforced as legal challenge proceeds

A protest in support of abortion rights in Columbia, South Carolina on Feb. 17, 2022. Photo: Sean Rayford/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A South Carolina judge on Tuesday said that the state's six-week abortion ban can continue to be enforced as a case challenging the law proceeds.

Driving the news: Abortion providers filed a lawsuit challenging the ban, which had been blocked since 2021, after a federal district court allowed for it to take effect following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

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

State of play: The judge refused to grant a preliminary injunction that would temporarily block the law from being enforced, and transferred the case over to the South Carolina state Supreme Court.

  • "I don't make my decision without a great deal of thought, but I've concluded ... that the motion to transfer should be granted. I think it facilitates a resolution of the issues that are raised more quickly than in any other way I can think of," Circuit Court Judge Casey Manning.
  • "I know there's compelling reason for the plaintiffs to want an injunction," Manning added, saying that while he will not grant it, he believes the plaintiffs can ask the state supreme court.

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

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