COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — A state law that bans most abortions about six weeks into a pregnancy has been ruled constitutional by the state Supreme Court.

The all-male Supreme Court ruled 4-1 to uphold the ban. The law prohibits abortions about six weeks into a pregnancy. It contains exceptions for the life or health of the mother, medical emergencies, fatal fetal anomalies, and up to twelve weeks into pregnancy exceptions for cases of rape or incest.

Justices heard arguments back in June.

Justice John Kittredge penned the majority opinion. He wrote, “The legislature has made a policy determination that, at a certain point in the pregnancy, a woman’s interest in autonomy and privacy does not outweigh the interest of the unborn child to live. As a Court, unless we can say that the balance struck by the legislature was unreasonable as a matter of law, we must uphold the Act.”

This ban is similar to a law the state Supreme Court struck down just eight months ago in a 3-2 decision. Justice Kaye Hearn who wrote the majority opinion in January, hit retirement age earlier this year. She was replaced with Justice Gary Hill.

In his dissenting opinion released Wednesday, Chief Justice Donald Beatty wrote, “The majority has abandoned the precedent established just months earlier by this Court and, despite its insistence otherwise, has turned a blind eye to the obvious fact that the 2021 Act and the 2023 Act are the same.”

In a statement sent out Wednesday morning, Governor Henry McMaster celebrated the ruling. He wrote:

“The Supreme Court’s ruling marks a historic moment in our state’s history and is the culmination of years of hard work and determination by so many in our state to ensure that the sanctity of life is protected. With this victory, we protect the lives of countless unborn children and reaffirm South Carolina’s place as one of the most pro-life states in America.” 

Governor Henry McMaster (R-South Carolina)

You can read the full opinion here.

This is a developing story.