State Abortion Rulings Post-Dobbs Begin Defining Scope of Rights

Jan. 17, 2023
Mary Anne Pazanowski

State top courts have begun weighing in on whether their laws provide greater protection for abortion rights than the federal constitution, with mixed results.

A majority of South Carolina’s Supreme Court justices recently held that the state constitution’s guarantee against unreasonable invasions of privacy extends to abortion. But the Idaho Supreme Court reached the opposite conclusion, holding that there’s no fundamental right to abortion in the state constitution.


South Carolina’s Supreme Court Says the State Constitution Protects a Right to Abortion

The court ruled that the state's six-week abortion ban violates the right to privacy.


The South Carolina Supreme Court yesterday ruled that the right to privacy protected by the state's constitution includes a right to abortion. The court concluded that a 2021 law prohibiting abortion after fetal cardiac activity can be detected, which typically happens around the sixth week of pregnancy, violates that right.

"We hold that the decision to terminate a pregnancy rests upon the utmost personal and private considerations imaginable, and implicates a woman's right to privacy," Justice Kaye Hearn writes in the lead opinion. "While this right is not absolute, and must be balanced against the State's interest in protecting unborn life, this Act, which severely limits—and in many instances completely forecloses—abortion, is an unreasonable restriction upon a woman's right to privacy and is therefore unconstitutional."


This conservative Christian couple in South Carolina have become outspoken advocates for abortion rights

By Elizabeth Cohen, Naomi Thomas and Nadia Kounang, CNN
Fri December 23, 2022

Jill Hartle might seem an unlikely advocate for abortion rights, but after a devastating pregnancy loss, she’s raising her voice.

A conservative Christian and former Ms. South Carolina, Jill was a Republican until last summer, when in the wake of new abortion restrictions in her state, she endured the “excruciating” experience of terminating a pregnancy with a baby who had a severe heart defect.


South Carolina abortion law suspended 1 day after passage

By: Canadian Press
Feb 19, 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina’s new law banning most abortions was suspended by a federal judge Friday on its second day in effect.

Judge Mary Geiger Lewis put a 14-day temporary restraining order on the law and will renew it until she can hold a more substantial hearing on March 9 on Planned Parenthood's request that it not be enforced until the group's lawsuit against South Carolina is resolved.

State legislatures got redder in 2020. It’s a ‘dire reality’ for abortion rights, advocates say.

29 state legislatures now have antiabortion majorities

Caroline Kitchener, The Lily
Feb. 2, 2021

When the South Carolina legislature convened on Jan. 12, one issue took priority over any other. Senate Bill 1, the first piece of legislation introduced on the Senate floor, bans most abortions, outlawing the procedure once a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat — around six weeks — except in cases of rape and incest, when there is a fatal fetal anomaly, and when a mother’s life is at risk.

SB 1 cleared the state Senate on Thursday. Now it will head to the South Carolina House, where it will almost certainly pass, before making its way to the desk of Gov. Henry McMaster (R).


Why South Carolina’s first female sheriff is calling the state’s antiabortion bill ‘absolute insanity’

A provision exempting rape and incest survivors will actually do more to harm them, experts say

Anne Branigin, The Lily
Jan. 30, 2021

Mere weeks into her tenure, South Carolina’s first elected female sheriff, Kristin Graziano, has made clear that she is not one to back down from a fight. Especially not against the state’s male-dominated legislature.

On Wednesday night, Graziano, who is also South Carolina’s first openly gay sheriff, publicly challenged a new amendment to an abortion bill widely expected to pass the state legislature and be signed into law in the next few weeks. The amendment would outlaw most abortions, but provides an exception for survivors of rape and incest. In these cases, however, health-care providers would be required to report the name of the victim to police.


USA – States That Ban Abortion Should Pay the People Forced to Give Birth

States That Ban Abortion Should Pay the People Forced to Give Birth
A new South Carolina bill says the state needs to cover medical expenses for pregnant people and babies born as a result of abortion bans.

by Susan Rinkunas
Dec 16 2019

Last week, a South Carolina state senator filed an incredible bill that every pro-choice lawmaker in the U.S. should copy. It says that if the state wants to ban abortion, it should have to pay all of the costs of birthing and raising children born as a result. SB 928 says that anyone forced to give birth against their will would be acting as a gestational surrogate for the state—literal labor for which they should be compensated.

The genius legislation is called the Pro Birth Accountability Act—a not-so-subtle reference to the idea that anti-abortion lawmakers who consider themselves to be “pro-life” tend to be conservatives who also typically don’t support programs like Medicaid expansion, food assistance, and paid family leave, which would help people have healthy pregnancies and babies. In short, the bill asserts, they’re not pro-life, they’re pro-birth.


USA – She Wanted An Abortion. Feds Say Her Ex Threatened to Bomb the Clinic.

She Wanted An Abortion. Feds Say Her Ex Threatened to Bomb the Clinic.
Court documents show a South Carolina man has been hit with federal charges for interfering with reproductive health care.

by Marie Solis
Oct 7 2019

A South Carolina man named Rodney Allen has been arrested and charged with calling in a fake bomb threat to a Jacksonville, Florida, health clinic in order to prevent a woman he was formerly in a relationship with from obtaining an abortion.

According to a sworn affidavit submitted in federal court last month by FBI Special Agent Robert W. Blythe, these events took place after Allen allegedly sexually assaulted the woman—identified in the affidavit only as A.S.—which resulted in her becoming pregnant. A.S. also alleged that Allen was physically abusive, and had threatened to kill multiple members of her family. The case, USA v Allen, is still in process in a Florida district court. (Blythe did not respond to VICE’s request for comment.)