SC abortion ban is unconstitutional, Court of Appeals says

In a significant victory for reproductive rights in South Carolina, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the state’s abortion ban is unconstitutional.

Malissa Burnette, Kathleen McDaniel, and Grant Burnette LeFever are part of the legal team representing Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and Greenville Women’s Clinic in the case.

We applaud the court’s decision today to protect South Carolinians from this unconstitutional abortion ban. We’ve seen the devastating impacts of these extreme bans in places like Texas, where for nearly six months people have been unable to access abortion after six weeks of pregnancy and are forced to flee the state for care or remain pregnant. Despite today’s important victory in South Carolina, we know our fight is far from over,” Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson said in a press release.

Burnette also was pleased with the ruling. “While the attorneys at our firm would prefer to move law forward, we’re thrilled that the Court of Appeals has again blocked South Carolina from moving law backward for people in the state,” she said.

The appeals court issued the ruling in the case, Planned Parenthood of the South Atlantic v. S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson, this morning.

The South Carolina law, which the U.S. District Court for South Carolina blocked with an injunction before it was even implemented, would require doctors to perform ultrasounds to check for embryonic cardiac activity. If activity were detected, an abortion could be performed only in cases involving rape, incest, or if the patient’s life were in danger.

Embryonic cardiac activity can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. That’s before many people are even aware that they’re pregnant. If implemented, the law would prohibit most abortions in South Carolina.

Incredibly, even though federal courts have blocked South Carolina’s six-week abortion ban, the state Legislature is currently considering bills that would ban all abortions under any circumstances. So far, the state has spent $182,000 defending the unconstitutional six-week ban.