The potential end of “Roe” would likely mean changes to South Carolina abortion law

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Published: May. 3, 2022 at 6:35 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The highly publicized leak of United States Supreme Court documents suggests the country’s highest court is ready to strike down landmark case law Roe v. Wade, opening the door for states to implement their own restrictive laws or bans on abortion.

The Supreme Court has not struck down the ruling, but if it does, South Carolina could feel the impacts quickly.

In February 2021, lawmakers passed a bill which would restrict most abortions in the state, prohibiting them after a heartbeat could be detected.

That could be as early as six weeks.

However, the law has been tied up in court challenges since and is not in effect.

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic Public Affairs Director Vicki Ringer said the organization has been preparing for the news.

She said the implementation of the “heartbeat” law would shortly follow the Supreme Court’s ruling (if it comes to pass).

“Even when this decision comes out, the state will have to go to the courts to try and get the ban lifted. The 6-week ban injunction lifted, so we’ve got a few weeks anyway after this decision comes out, time enough for us to let South Carolina people know how they can access abortion care, “she said.

She declined to give specifics on the game plan, but hinted at transportation to other states or access to abortions in an earlier timeframe.

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic runs an abortion clinic in Columbia, one of just three in the state.

Anti-abortion activists with A Moment of Hope were outside the facility with signs and a bus, offering free services and hoping to persuade and pressure women seeking an abortion to change their minds.

Executive Director Mark Baumgartner welcomed the news the leak brings but said his organization’s goal is to ultimately bring abortion to an end.

He said if the “heartbeat” law does go into effect, his group’s work will continue.

“We look forward to the day abortions no longer happen. We realize that each state now will have its own say on how they handle it, but we see this as heading in the right direction,” he said.

The debate about abortion rights aside, University of South Carolina Department of Political Science Chair Kirk Randazzo expressed concern the leak paints the Supreme Court as a political institution.

“The initial concern is that people may not just comply with any decisions that are handed down. If the court looks just like another political branch of government, then it potentially means that people who disagree with a decision can simply ignore it and that’s not something the Supreme Court wants to have happen,” he said.

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