The State of South Carolina once again passed a law referred to as S.B. 474 (supported by the state's governor) which made abortion illegal if a fetal heartbeat was detectable upon conducting a mandated ultrasound that is viewable by the pregnant woman prior to performing the abortion. Individuals involved in conducting an abortion in violation of S.B. 474 would be considered to have committed a felony, punishable with a $10,000 fine, up to two years imprisonment, and, if the provider is a physician, potential loss of his or her medical license. Exceptions exist if: (i) the abortion is performed or induced on a pregnant woman due to a medical emergency, or is performed to prevent the death of the pregnant woman, or to prevent the serious risk of a substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function, not including psychological or emotional conditions, of the pregnant woman; (ii) the pregnancy is the result of rape, and the probable gestational age of the unborn child is not more than twelve weeks; or (iii) the pregnancy is the result of incest, and the probable gestational age of the unborn child is not more than twelve weeks. If the abortion is performed on the basis of incest or rape, the provider must report the incest or rape to the local sheriff within 24 hours of performing the abortion. See https://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess125_2023-2024/bills/474.htm. In response, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and the Greenville Women's Clinic, which are the sole operators of abortion clinics in South Carolina filed a complaint, which argued that S.B.474 mirrored a prior law passed by the same legislature that was struck down by South Carolina's Supreme Court as unconstitutional, and sought a temporary injunction blocking the passage of S.B. 474. In response, the State's Attorney General intervened to uphold S.B. 474.
On Friday, May 26, Judge Clifton Newman ruled from the bench and issued an injunction blocking enforcement of S.B. 474 pending the state Supreme Court hearing the case. As of now, abortions remain legal in South Carolina up to 20 weeks.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.