S.C. Supreme Court strikes down state’s six-week abortion ban

The South Carolina Supreme Court’s order Wednesday that blocks the enforcement of the state’s...
The South Carolina Supreme Court’s order Wednesday that blocks the enforcement of the state’s six-week ban on abortion, for now, has set off a ripple effect of actions and questions about what comes next.(Mary Green)
Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 11:28 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 5, 2023 at 6:41 PM EST
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COLUMBIA S.C. (WMBF) - The South Carolina Supreme Court struck the proposed 6-week abortion ban in 3-2 vote Thursday.

In its conclusion, the court said the ban violates the constitutional right to privacy:

“Six weeks is, quite simply, not a reasonable period of time” for a woman to know she is pregnant and “take reasonable steps to terminate that pregnancy.”

SC Supreme Court STRIKES DOWN 6-week abortion ban
SC Supreme Court STRIKES DOWN 6-week abortion ban(SC Supreme Court)

“We respectfully, but strongly, disagree with the Court’s ruling,” said Attorney General Alan Wilson. “We’re working with the Governor’s office and legislature to review all our available options moving forward.”

Gov. Henry McMaster said he looks forward to working with the General Assembly to “correct this error” made by the state’s Supreme Court.

“Our State Supreme Court has found a right in our Constitution which was never intended by the people of South Carolina. With this opinion, the Court has clearly exceeded its authority,” the governor tweeted. “The people have spoken through their elected representatives multiple times on this issue. I look forward to working with the General Assembly to correct this error.”

The majority opinion was written by Justice Kaye Hearn, the only woman on South Carolina’s five-person Supreme Court bench. To read the full opinion, click here.

Arguments in the case against South Carolina’s ban on abortions began in the South Carolina Supreme Court mid-October.

The case was previously heard in lower courts and the ban blocked from going into effect since Aug. 17.


The lawsuit claimed the ban violated the state’s constitutional rights to privacy and equal protection for patients’ health and relegates sexual assault victims’ access to abortion by disclosing personal information to law enforcement.

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, Greenville Women’s Clinic, and two physicians who provide abortions in South Carolina filed the lawsuit was filed on July 13.

South Carolina House Speaker Rep. Murrell Smith reacted to the state Supreme Court’s decision with disappointment.

“Unfortunately, the South Carolina Supreme Court followed the path of the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade by creating a constitutional right to an abortion where none exists. Today’s decision fails to respect the concept of separation of powers and strips the people of this state from having a say in a decision that was meant to reflect their voices,” Smith posted on Twitter.

Democratic House leader Rep. Todd Rutherford also released a statement, calling the decision “a major victory for women’s freedom in South Carolina.”

“As the court stated, this law was unreasonable and an invasion of privacy - something Democrats have said all along,” he further stated. “We stood against this bill at every turn at the State House and will continue to fight against every attempt to restrict a woman’s control over her own body. If Republicans choose to continue this war on women - knowing the court’s position - they are deliberately wasting taxpayer dollars and time, because there are pressing issues facing our state that cannot afford to be sidelined.”

Stay with WMBF News for updates.