South Carolina's new all-male Supreme Court upholds 6-week abortion ban

The all-male South Carolina Supreme Court Wednesday upheld a revised version of the state's six-week abortion ban. Gov. Henry McMaster said the decision confirms South Carolina as "one of the most pro-life states in America. File Photo by Stephen B. Morton/EPA-EFE

Aug. 23 (UPI) -- South Carolina's all-male Supreme Court Wednesday upheld the state's six-week abortion ban in a 4-1 decision. The state's previous abortion ban was 20 weeks.

S.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Beatty was the sole dissenter.

"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," said Governor Henry McMaster in a statement. "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."

Beatty pointed out "inaccurate" terminology in his opinion on the case, saying it is an attempt to control women's health decisions by "distorting reality."

"The title and content of the legislation are a misnomer if it is viewed as a six-week ban because the terminology is medically and scientifically inaccurate," Beatty wrote in the opinion. "As such, it is the quintessential example of political gaslighting; attempting to manipulate public opinion and control the reproductive health decisions of women by distorting reality."

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic chief executive Jenny Black said in a statement, "This abortion ban is nearly identical to the ban struck down by this court just months ago -- the only thing that has changed is the makeup of the court."

A state circuit court judge had placed a hold on the abortion ban until it was heard again at the state Supreme Court.

That same state Supreme Court decided 3-2 in January that the six-week abortion ban violated the state constitution, based on the right to privacy.

That decision came when former Justice Kaye Hearn was on the court. Hearn, the second woman ever to sit on the state's high court, left the court after reaching the mandatory retirement age, and the legislature revised the law after that decision.

One male supreme court justice, Gary Hill, was put on the court by the GOP-controlled South Carolina General Assembly.