COLUMBIA, SC (AP) — More than 18 months of legal back and forth will culminate Wednesday in a case that could determine the scope of abortion restrictions in South Carolina.
The South Carolina Supreme Court will hear arguments over whether the state constitution will ban an abortion in 2021 after heart activity is detected, usually about six weeks, with exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest or endangering the life of a woman. mother.
The feuds come another day after the South Carolina Senate rejected a proposal to ban almost all abortions in the state. A conference committee was set up to work out the differences between the House and Senate bills.
The lawsuit — filed by Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, Greenville Women’s Clinic and abortion providers — is the latest challenge since Republican Administration Henry McMaster Signed Restrictions Into Law in February 2021.
South Atlantic Planned Parenthood sued almost immediately. The attempt proved successful when a U.S. district court judge suspended the law on its second day and a federal appeals court upheld that ruling about a year later.
But the restrictions went into effect shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.
after that statement abortion providers have turned around to the South Carolina Constitution’s rights to privacy and equal protection in their effort to protect access. In August, State Supreme Court has temporarily blocked the ban while the judges weighed the new trial. Abortion is currently banned after 20 weeks in South Carolina.
The South Carolina legislature codified the 1974 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. A “conflict in law” arose when lawmakers retained that language in the 2021 ban, the judges of the state’s highest court wrote in the preliminary injunction. The 2021 ban was also “unusual,” the judges wrote, in that it depended on Roe’s overruling.
“At this preliminary stage, we are unable to definitively establish the constitutionality of the law under our state’s constitutional prohibition against unreasonable invasions of privacy,” the judges wrote in August.
South Carolina ratified the right to privacy in 1971. Because it didn’t explicitly mention “abortion,” state attorneys argue that the right to privacy should be applied more narrowly against searches and seizures.
The lawyers of the abortion providers argue that rights do not have to be explicitly stated in order to offer protection. They also argue that a broader legal understanding of “privacy” had already been established at that time through federal cases such as 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut, where the U.S. Supreme Court protected the use of contraception by a married couple.
The abortion providers also challenged the portion of the 2021 ban that requires a doctor to report allegations of rape or incest of someone seeking an abortion to a sheriff. Their lawyers argue that the measure forces the disclosure of medical information covered by the right to privacy in a person’s “papers” and “securities.”
The state’s attorneys argue that in such situations, the right to privacy can be waived by voluntary disclosure. Further, the lawyers argue that the provision furthers state interests in protecting “the lives of the unborn” and “the health of mothers”, as well as “victims of crimes”.
The abortion providers’ lawyers argue that the state can still protect victims of crime without tying “access to essential medical care” to “forced” disclosure.
James Pollard is a member of the Corps for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a national, not-for-profit service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on classified issues.
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