Friday, January 6, 2023

SC Strikes Down Six Week Abortion Ban, While Idaho Upholds Abortion Ban and Civil Enforcement Law

The State, SC's 6-Week Abortion Ban is Unconstitutional, State Supreme Court Rules

The South Carolina Supreme Court on Thursday struck down the state’s six-week abortion ban, ruling 3-2 that it violated the state’s constitutional right to privacy.

In its 147-page opinion, the state’s high court wrote, in part, “We hold that our state constitutional right to privacy extends to a woman’s decision to have an abortion.”

In the majority were state Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Beatty, Justice John Few and Justice Kaye Hearn, the lone woman on the Supreme Court, who will retire this year. Justices John Kittredge and George James dissented. ***

Because South Carolina is one of 10 states to include a specific citizen’s right to privacy in its Constitution, the court’s decision came down to whether the six-week abortion ban constituted an “unreasonable invasion of privacy.”

The state had argued the right to privacy applied only to criminal defendants in the context of search and seizure and did not extend to an individual’s decisions about their own medical care, arguing the Constitution never mentioned abortion or a woman’s right to bodily autonomy.

The Supreme Court majority rejected the state’s argument that citizen’s privacy rights should be limited in this way and found the state’s definition actually ran contrary to prior state Supreme Court rulings.

AP, South Carolina Supreme Court Strikes Down Abortion Ban

The South Carolina Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a ban on abortion after six weeks, ruling the restriction enacted by the Deep South state violates a state constitutional right to privacy.

The decision marked a significant victory for abortion rights’ advocates suddenly forced to find safeguards at the state level after the U.S. Supreme Court overtured Roe v. Wade in June.

With federal abortion protections gone, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic sued in July under the South Carolina constitution’s right to privacy. Restrictions in other states are also facing challenges, some as a matter of religious freedom.

But since the high court’s momentous decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, no state court until Thursday in South Carolina had ruled definitively whether a constitutional right to privacy — a right not explicitly enumerated in the U.S. Constitution — extends to abortion.

Idaho SCT Upholds Abortion Ban, Civil Enforcement Law

In a 3-2 decision, the Idaho Supreme Court upheld Idaho’s abortion ban and the civil enforcement law allowing providers to be sued for performing abortions in an opinion released Thursday. 

Planned Parenthood and one of its abortion providers, Dr. Caitlin Gustafson, filed three separate challenges with the Idaho Supreme Court, beginning with the civil enforcement bill — also known as the heartbeat bill — in April. Two other challenges were filed in June and July, after the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and return the ability to regulate abortion to the states.

Since August, Idaho has had a near-total abortion ban in effect that only permits defenses in court for abortions performed to save a pregnant person’s life or in documented cases of rape and incest. The civil enforcement law allows immediate and extended family members to sue medical providers who perform abortions for no less than $20,000. The law went into effect at the same time as the ban.

Abortion, Constitutional, Reproductive Rights | Permalink


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