How will abortion laws be enforced in 2-state region?

Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 6:47 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Governor McMaster is speaking for the first time since a federal judge allowed South Carolina’s abortion restriction law to take effect.

South Carolina officials say a 12-person committee of lawmakers will meet back at the Statehouse on July 7 to talk about removing exceptions, or banning abortions completely.

We’ve seen dozens of protestors at the Statehouse, both for and against abortion. Officials from Planned Parenthood say they’re heartbroken over stories women are already being turned away.

Others, including McMaster, say instead of banning abortions after six weeks, the state needs to ban them together.

“Over the years, the country has drifted towards nobody wants an abortion in South Carolina. We need to drift it the other way. I look forward to the day that nobody wants an abortion in South Carolina. We won’t need exceptions,” said McMaster.

In Georgia, legal experts say the battle could come down to privacy laws in the state’s constitution. If courts decide abortion is covered under privacy laws banning or restricting abortion could be tough.

That decision would be up to Georgia’s State Supreme Court.

Thirty-four million women of reproductive age are affected by the abortion restriction or ban.

That number could drop with 11 million women living in states who could change laws depending on November’s midterm election.

The Fetal Heartbeat Act took effect and with an about six-week cut-off with a 20-week exception for cases involving rape or incest, time is important.

The Aiken County Sheriff’s Office and South Carolina Solicitor Bill Weeks have said that with this law being so new, they’re unable to comment on how they’ll be enforcing this or what the punishment would be for breaking it.

Our nearest S.C. abortion clinic in Aiken, Life Choices: Pregnancy Care Center was unable to comment.

The Medical University of South Carolina says their attorneys are still sorting it all out and they’ll have an update Wednesday on how this will affect their patients. On the Georgia side, it’s a bit more complicated.

On the Georgia side, Augusta District Attorney Jared Williams says that his office is refusing to prosecute people who seek, assist, or provide abortions.

We reached out to The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office about how this relationship would work, but they had no comment.

The South Carolina committee chair says one of their first actions will be to hear public testimony. The entire General Assembly is expected to come together later this year to pass the changes the committee writes up next week.

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