On the Same Day, 2 Big Abortion Decisions

In South Carolina, a win for abortion rights supporters; in Idaho, a loss
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 6, 2023 1:10 AM CST
One Big Win, One Big Loss for Abortion Rights Supporters
FILE - Republican South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster addresses business leaders on Aug. 18, 2022, in Columbia, S.C.   (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard, File)

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 AP reports. The decision marked a significant victory for abortion rights' advocates suddenly forced to find safeguards at the state level after the US Supreme Court overtured Roe v. Wade in June. With federal abortion protection 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 extends to abortion.

The court said the state has the authority to limit the right of privacy that protects a woman from state interference with her decision, but any limitation must afford a woman sufficient time to determine she is pregnant and “take reasonable steps to terminate that pregnancy," and six weeks is "not a reasonable period of time for these two things to occur." But on Thursday in Idaho, a loss for abortion rights supporters: The state Supreme Court dismissed a series of lawsuits brought by Planned Parenthood, ruling that Idaho's Constitution does not implicitly enshrine abortion as a fundamental right, the AP reports. The ruling was a blow against those who are fighting Idaho laws that took effect in August, including one criminalizing all abortions after six weeks of gestation except to save a pregnant person’s life or because of rape or incest. More on the South Carolina decision here, and Idaho here. (More abortion stories.)

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