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Local advocacy groups react to South Carolina Supreme Court decision on abortion

According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, this is the first state supreme court to decide whether abortion is a state constitutional right.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Local advocacy groups on both sides of the abortion issue are sounding off today following the South Carolina Supreme Court's ruling striking down the state's ban on abortion after cardiac activity is detected — typically around six weeks. The court ruled the restriction violates the state constitution's right to privacy. 

It's a very good day for some.

"We are thrilled, we are relieved and elated," said Ann Warner, CEO of the Women's Rights and Empowerment Network.

It's a dreadful day for others.

"This is a really sad day in South Carolina," said Dave Wilson, Palmetto Family Council president.

The 3-2 decision comes nearly two years after Governor Henry McMaster signed what's called the fetal heartbeat bill into law.

At a Planned Parenthood press conference Thursday afternoon, group leaders and clients showed their support of this decision from personal experience.

"It won't be long before anti-choice bills are introduced with the next arbitrary timeline, whether it's 12, 15 or 18 weeks, whatever they decide," said Lacey Layne, a woman who had an abortion. "Abortion bans on at any point in pregnancy are harmful. They harm families like mine." 

Other groups like South Carolina Citizens For Life disagree. "The effect of the court ruling will be to favor the economic interest of the abortion industry over the lives of unborn children."

Those on the anti-abortion side tell News 19 the fight isn't over.

"I think Justice Hearn in her decision today basically laid out a groundwork for the General Assembly to come back in with a longer period of time to account for an ability for a woman to know that she is pregnant," Wilson said.

Those who favor abortion rights, like the Women's Rights Empowerment Network, say it's time to move on.

"We should be ending these endless debates on this issue and moving on to address the issues that are really going to make people's lives healthier and more economically secure in South Carolina," Warner said.

Both pro-life and pro-choice advocates agree the debate will likely continue in the next South Carolina legislative session, which begins next week. 

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