South Carolina Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks Six-Week Abortion Ban
For Immediate Release: Aug. 17, 2022
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Today, in a unanimous order, the South Carolina Supreme Court blocked the state’s ban on abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy (Senate Bill 1), granting providers’ emergency motion for a temporary injunction while litigation proceeds. The ban – which had been blocked by federal courts since 2021 – took effect on June 27, shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and has caused irreparable harm for more than six weeks.
The providers in the case are Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and Greenville Women’s Clinic, which operate the only clinics offering abortion in South Carolina. They are represented by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the law firm Burnette Shutt & McDaniel.
Statement from Jenny Black, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic:
“We applaud the court’s decision to protect the people of South Carolina from this cruel law that interferes with a person’s private medical decision. For more than six weeks, patients have been forced to travel hundreds of miles for an abortion or suffer the life-altering consequences of forced pregnancy. Today the court has granted our patients a welcome reprieve, but the fight to restore bodily autonomy to the people of South Carolina is far from over. No matter what happens, we will never stop fighting for our patients’ right to make their own decisions about their bodies and futures.”
Statement from Genevieve Scott, Senior Counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights:
“Today’s decision is a huge relief for people who desperately need abortion care in South Carolina right now. Many have been panicking for far too long as they try to figure out where they can turn to for services, if at all. This unjust ban is incredibly dangerous and jeopardizes people’s health and wellbeing. People should not have to question if and how they can access the essential health care they need. We will continue to use every tool at our disposal to fight for and protect South Carolinians’ fundamental right to abortion.”
- June 27: After being blocked by federal courts since 2021, South Carolina’s ban on abortion after approximately six weeks of pregnancy (Senate Bill 1) takes effect shortly after Roe v. Wade is overturned.
- July 13: Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, Greenville Women’s Clinic, and two physician plaintiffs file a new state court challenge to S.B. 1. The lawsuit asks a state trial court to block the ban for violating South Carolinians’ constitutional rights to privacy and equal protection under the South Carolina Constitution by banning abortion, by providing inadequate protections for patients’ health, and by conditioning sexual assault survivors’ access to abortion on the disclosure of their personal information to law enforcement.
- July 20: The state petitions the South Carolina Supreme Court for original jurisdiction in an effort to bypass the judicial process and delay proceedings. In that petition, Gov. Henry McMaster, Attorney General Alan Wilson, House Speaker G. Murrell Smith, and Senate President Thomas Alexander ask the South Carolina Supreme Court to declare that S.B. 1 is constitutional and that the South Carolina Constitution does not protect the right to abortion.
- July 26: The state trial court refuses to decide abortion providers’ request for relief against S.B. 1 and agrees to try to transfer the case to the South Carolina Supreme Court, leaving patients and providers in legal limbo.
- July 27: Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and Greenville Women’s Clinic file an emergency motion for a temporary injunction against S.B. 1 with the South Carolina Supreme Court, arguing that the court should block the ban while it considers the state’s petition for original jurisdiction.
- August 17: The South Carolina Supreme Court grants abortion providers’ emergency motion for a temporary injunction, blocking S.B. 1 while litigation continues.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.