(CNN) -- The South Carolina state Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state's six-week ban on abortion violates the state's constitution.The 2021 law had banned abortions once what it called a "fetal heartbeat" is detected, which can be as early as four weeks, and more commonly, six weeks into pregnancy, with exceptions for fetal anomalies, risk to the life of the mother, or in some cases of rape or incest. In a 3-2 ruling, the court concluded that the law ran afoul of the state constitution's privacy protections, with Justice Kaye Hearn writing in the lead opinion that the "state constitutional right to privacy extends to a woman's decision to have an abortion."While the state can impose some limits on those rights, Hearn wrote, "any such limitation must be reasonable and it must be meaningful in that the time frames imposed must afford a woman sufficient time to determine she is pregnant and to take reasonable steps to terminate that pregnancy."In a dissent penned by Justice John Kittredge and joined in part by Justice George James, Kittredge wrote that he "would honor the policy decision made by the General Assembly," adding that the issue of determining abortion policy in the state rests with its elected lawmakers."Abortion presents an important moral and policy issue.
The citizens, through their duly elected representatives, have spoken. The South Carolina legislature, not this court, should determine matters of policy," Kittredge wrote in his dissent.South Carolina Republican Gov.