The Quickie: South Carolina House Passes Six Week Abortion Ban
For Immediate Release: May 18, 2023
Welcome to “The Quickie” — Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s daily tipsheet on the top health care & reproductive rights stories of the day. You can read “The Quickie'' online here.
In today’s Quickie: SC House passes 6 week abortion ban, MT court blocks new abortion ban, PPFA reacts to 5th Circuit oral arguments, GOP candidates run to the right, and new resources for South Asian communities.
SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE PASSES SIX-WEEK ABORTION BAN: Yesterday evening, the South Carolina House passed Senate Bill 474, a bill banning abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy, which is before many people even know they are pregnant. The House passed an amended version of the Senate bill, so it must now return to the Senate for concurrence. (The Senate is due to return on May 23.) Some of the House’s amendments to the bill include:
- Defining life as beginning with a fertilized egg, which is before the medical community considers a person to be pregnant
- Removing a provision that would have allowed minors to get an abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy
- Subjecting providers to automatic licensing revocation for violations
“Anti-abortion legislators in the House want to force people, including children, to give birth in this state and make abortion impossible to access,” said Vicki Ringer, Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. “Every day that this dangerous abortion ban doesn’t become law is a good day for the people of South Carolina. But we shouldn’t be here in the first place. Lawmakers are wasting more taxpayer dollars to shove an abortion ban down our throats during yet another special session. We urge the Senate to once again reject this overreach into our health care decisions.”
This proposed six-week ban is even more onerous and extreme than the abortion ban struck down by the South Carolina Supreme Court in January after being ruled unconstitutional. Under the bill, people would only be allowed to obtain an abortion past the earliest stages of pregnancy under narrow circumstances. After North Carolina passed a 12-week ban earlier this week, abortion access for South Carolinians is even more tenuous.
Read more at AP and Courthouse News.
MONTANA COURT BLOCKS NEW ABORTION BAN: Just an hour ago, a Montana District Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) preventing the state from enforcing a new law banning D&E procedures, the safest and most common method of abortion after approximately 15 weeks of pregnancy. The ruling came after a request for relief was filed on May 16 by Planned Parenthood of Montana (PPMT) and its Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Samuel Dickman. In today’s ruling, the Court found that the ban cannot be enforced because it likely violates the Montana Constitution. A hearing on abortion providers’ request for a preliminary injunction is scheduled for May 23.
“While this decision is a relief, we should never have had to go to court to allow Montana providers to be allowed to use their medical expertise to serve their patients,” Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Alexis McGill Johnson said. “Planned Parenthood will never turn its back on patients in Montana and across the country who have a right to control their own bodies, lives, and future. We will not stop until this ban and the others we’re challenging are permanently blocked.”
Read more about the lawsuit here. Read more about the TRO here.
FIFTH CIRCUIT HEARS ARGUMENTS IN FDA MIFEPRISTONE APPROVAL CASE: Yesterday, three judges on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine et al v. FDA, a case that threatens FDA’s approval of mifepristone. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: mifepristone is a safe, effective, and widely used medication. Regardless of the Fifth Circuit’s decision because of the Supreme Court’s stay, mifepristone will remain on the market while litigation continues.
Dr. Serina Floyd, Planned Parenthood Metropolitan Washington DC’s Medical Director, joined ABC to discuss the potential consequences ending the FDA’s approval of mifepristone’s, emphasizing the disruption for patients and providers — even in states that have protected abortion access.
Read more about the “surreal” oral arguments from Politico.
RUNNING TO THE RIGHT…AND AWAY FROM VOTERS: Today, the Washington Post’s Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey covered the increasing pressure on GOP presidential candidates to promote an extreme anti-abortion agenda. As the article notes, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that “about 8 in 10 Americans say the decision on whether to have an abortion should be left to a woman and her doctor.” Yet according to Scherer and Dawsey’s reporting, anti-abortion groups are pressuring and pushing candidates to the right — as if they don’t already have extreme and unpopular records on abortion.
The latest example is Donald Trump, who bragged that “I was able to kill Roe v Wade” in a Truth Social post.Jenny Lawson, the executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes, responded:
“Donald Trump boasting about his anti-abortion record — and taking credit for all the abortion bans nationwide — underscores how out-of-touch he and his Republican colleagues are with the American people… This sick game of anti-abortion one upmanship he’s playing with Ron DeSantis just keeps placing them both further and further away from the American public. Planned Parenthood Votes will make sure voters know exactly where Trump and every GOP candidate stands on abortion rights this cycle.”
UPLIFTING ABORTION RESOURCES FOR SOUTH ASIANS THIS MAY: The decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has had a devastating effect on South Asian families and communities — especially on immigrants, queer and trans people, people with low incomes, and those who have experienced intimate partner violence. South Asians face pervasive systemic barriers in accessing abortion care, including economic, legal, language, and cultural hurdles.
To address this, Planned Parenthood Federation of America worked with South Asian SOAR (Survivors, Organizations, and Allies — Rising) — a collective of 30+ organizations advancing the national movement to end gender-based violence in the South Asian diaspora — to create culturally competent and linguistically accessible sexual and reproductive health resources for South Asian communities. The resources consist of educational fact sheets translated into 20 South Asian languages and have been distributed to 32+ South Asian-run grassroots organizations nationwide.
You can find more about the guide and South Asian SOAR’s work here.