South Carolina’s latest restrictions on abortion were blocked Friday, just one day after taking effect.
The Richland County Court of Common Pleas temporarily halted the state from enforcing a ban on abortions after about the sixth week of pregnancy, with limited exceptions for procedures needed to preserve the health or life of the pregnant person, fetal abnormalities, rape, and incest, according to groups representing the plaintiffs.
Judge Clifton Newman heard the case and issued the ruling from the bench. He is expected to follow up with a written order, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights. CRR represents the plaintiffs along with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Columbia, S.C.'s Burnette Shutt & McDaniel PA.
A spokesman for Attorney General Alan Wilson (R) confirmed the ruling and told Bloomberg Law that the state is exploring its options and plans “to continue defending this law in court.”
The decision is a “welcome reprieve,” Jenny Black, president and chief executive officer of plaintiff Planned Parenthood South Atlantic said in a press release announcing the decision. PPSA’s “doors remain open, and we are here to provide compassionate and judgment-free health care to all South Carolinians,” she said.
Greenville Women’s Clinic and two doctors joined PPSA in filing the lawsuit Thursday, after Gov. Henry McMaster (R) signed the bill into law. They argued that the new law is virtually identical to a prior six-week ban that the South Carolina Supreme Court struck down in January.
The state’s top court ruled 3-2 that the provision violated the state constitution’s guarantee of privacy. The author of that opinion, Justice Kaye Hearn, no longer sits on the court.
Planned Parenthood has received funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable organization founded by Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg Law is operated by entities controlled by Michael Bloomberg.
The case is Planned Parenthood S. Atl. v. State, S.C. Ct. Com. Pl., No. 2023CP400274, bench ruling 5/26/23.
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