COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A judge on Friday put a temporary halt to South Carolina’s new law banning most abortions around six weeks of pregnancy until the state Supreme Court can review the measure.
The ruling by Judge Clifton Newman came just about 24 hours after Gov. Henry McMaster signed the bill. The decision means South Carolina reverts back to a ban at about 20 weeks after fertilization.
The law passed Tuesday by the General Assembly is similar to a ban on abortion once cardiac activity can be detected that lawmakers passed in 2021.
The state Supreme Court decided in a 3-2 ruling that the 2021 law violated the state constitution’s right to privacy. Legislative leaders said the new law makes technical tweaks that should sway at least one justice to change his mind and the author of the January ruling has since retired.
The law took effect as soon as it was signed and Planned Parenthood immediately sued, saying it put South Carolina’s abortion clinics into limbo with canceled appointments from patients further along in their pregnancies and doctors having to carefully review the new regulations.
The abortion rights group said the new law was so similar to the old one that clinics and women seeking treatment would be harmed if it were allowed to stay in effect until a full court review.