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SC's 20-week abortion law is now in effect: what you need to know

Abortion is legal before 20-weeks of pregnancy in South Carolina after the State Supreme Court blocked the Fetal Heartbeat Law Banning abortion around six-weeks

COLUMBIA, S.C. — For the time being, abortion is once again legal before 20-weeks of pregnancy in South Carolina after the State Supreme Court blocked the Fetal Heartbeat Law Banning abortion around six weeks. 

The 20-week ban was state law prior to the legislature passing the six-week ban last year. 

"The South Carolina Supreme Court said we're gonna wait, we're gonna put this in on hold, we are not going to enforce this new limitation on abortion, until we've been able to review how this statute can be seen as compatible with the right to privacy in the state constitution," said Attorney Susan Dunn. 

Dunn said there are two rights to privacy in the state's constitution. 

"One of them deals with search and seizure, and the one on them just deals with you protection from government interference of any sort," said Dunn. 

She said while all five justices voted in favor of the temporary block, Wednesday's decision gives no indication of the court's final ruling. 

"Legally, there was nothing radical about the court saying we're going to preserve the status quo until we can really look at this," said Dunn. 

While the court's final ruling will not come down for weeks, Dunn pointed to other states with similar right to privacy laws on the books. 

"Almost all of the states with a right to privacy, that have had a abortion statutes tested under state rights to privacy, have basically upheld that early abortion is protected by bodily autonomy," said Dunn. 

RELATED: South Carolina's fetal heartbeat abortion law on hold by State Supreme Court

Vicki Ringer with Planned Parenthood South Atlantic called the court's ruling "gratifying". 

"It's what we needed to keep us going the rest of the day," said Ringer.

Ringer said Planned Parenthood's Columbia and Charleston Clinics and the Greenville Women's Clinic are continuing to offer abortion care through the first trimester, or at around 13 weeks. 

"We have already started contacting patients from South Carolina who we've scheduled for North Carolina, to let them know we can save them some time and travel," said Ringer .

" 99% of abortions in South Carolina are in the first trimester. So we are able to help nearly everyone who we see," Ringer added. 

Organizations like Palmetto State Abortion Fund and the Carolina Abortion fund are also helping those seeking abortions in South Carolina. 

Dave Wilson with Palmetto Family, however, called the ruling "disappointing".

"The Supreme Court gave some level of indication that they may actually agree that their rights of privacy issues here," said Wilson. "The work is not over when it comes to abortion and the needs of women and the needs of children and families in South Carolina."

Wilson said pregnancy crisis centers across the state will continue supporting women and children. 

"They are the hands and feet of Jesus in our communities, making the women who have services that are needed, know how important they are, how important that life inside them is, and providing a level of wraparound support," said Wilson.

RELATED: Bill banning nearly all abortions heads to S. Carolina House floor

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