Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, lawmakers are set to further restrict abortion rights in Republican-controlled South Carolina – which is not one of 13 states with “trigger laws” banning abortion.
Shortly after the decision, Republican Gov. Henry McMaster said he would work “immediately” with members of the state legislature, where the fight for the future of abortion rights in the state has already started.
Although McMaster signed a bill last year banning most abortions after six weeks, a federal appeals court blocked the law from taking effect in February. The state attorney general’s office asked the court to lift its injunction on Friday.
During the General Assembly, the legislators adopted a resolution before the end of the legislative session which would make it possible to reconsider possible measures related to abortion. The State House has already set up a committee to consider further restrictions “to prepare for that day”, according to House Majority Leader David Hiott.
For Hiott, the state’s six-week pending ban is not enough.
“I want to ban it altogether,” the Republican lawmaker told The Associated Press on Friday.
State Senate Minority Leader Brad Hutto says he’s introduced a bill protecting South Carolina’s abortion rights — though he doesn’t expect that the legislature returns before at least a few weeks.
But state House Minority Leader J. Todd Rutherford said he doubts Democrats will be able to block all of the measures proposed by Republican majorities in the state.
“I have no hope of winning given the militant Supreme Court justices and members of the General Assembly who don’t care about a woman’s right to choose,” Rutherford said.
A spokesperson for McMaster declined to name specific restrictions the governor would like to see passed, but said he expects the General Assembly to pass anti-abortion legislation in the coming months.
Vicki Ringer, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic SC, confirmed that appointments are still scheduled for next week in Charleston and Columbia.
His organization will do this “for as long as possible for as many people who need our help,” Ringer said in a direct message.
Twenty-two states have already enacted full or near-total bans on abortion – all of which had been blocked by the courts before Friday, except for the Texas law.
James Pollard is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to report on underreported issues. Follow James Pollard on Twitter.