Beaufort Co. Sheriff’s Office addresses enforcing possible abortion law

Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 4:54 PM EDT
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BEAUFORT COUNTY, Sc. (WTOC) - On Tuesday, the South Carolina House approved a bill that outlaws abortion except in the cases of pregnancies caused by rape or incest.

To become law, the bill now needs to be approved by the state Senate, and the South Carolina Supreme Court would need to lift a current injunction.

With a change in South Carolina’s abortion law possibly on the horizon, WTOC asked the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office how they would go about enforcing that new legislation.

“If the law actually does pass and the injunction is lifted and it goes into affect, the sheriff’s office is prepared to investigate any reports that come in through the mandatory reporting requirement of the abortion law,” said General Council Daniel Gourley.

He’s referring to the bill where abortions that fall under the rape or incest are exempt and doctors are still required to notify law enforcement.

From that point, Gourley says the sheriff’s office would proceed normally.

“Just as any other case through mandatory reporting, such as gunshot wound victims or child sexual abuse cases, the sheriff’s office would investigate to the best of their abilities.”

In South Carolina, the doctor would have 24 hours to report the procedure.

“Where that investigation leads depends on the cooperation of the various witnesses and parties involved and we would have to take it from there on a case by case basis.”

Gourley adds the sheriff’s office doesn’t deal with hypothetical situations, so until or if this law truly takes affect, they’ll wait to give full comment on how they’ll handle these situations.