SC agency says requiring husband’s OK for abortion a mistake

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A South Carolina agency says it erred in suggesting married women get their husband’s permission to get an abortion.

The proposal is included in proposed changes to abortion clinic regulations put out last month for public comment by the state’s public health agency.

But the agency said Wednesday it was a mistake to even suggest a married woman, if living with her husband, get his signed consent.

State law requires a husband’s consent only in the third trimester, and such abortions can occur only in hospitals.

DHEC is taking public comment on its website through Monday, and a public hearing is scheduled for December.

The agency is also dropping a proposal to require, instead of offer, certain tests including a pap smear and tests for sexually transmitted diseases.

Those were among proposals Planned Parenthood called outrageous.

Vicki Ringer, South Carolina Director of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic issued the following statement:

The South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control (DHEC) recently proposed a series of extreme regulations for abortion providers. Many of these proposed changes are medically unnecessary, unconstitutional and clearly designed to further impede a woman’s ability to make the deeply personal decision to seek safe, legal abortion.

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic is committed to patient health and safety and we continually seek out ways to improve patient care. Yet many of DHEC’s proposed regulations are medically unnecessary and would turn back the clock on women’s health. Restrictions like requiring husband’s consent, admitting privileges, denying minors’ judicial bypass and mandating surgical-facility requirements, are all blatantly unconstitutional. These restrictions among others- such as mandatory STI testing no matter the woman’s circumstances- are intended to shame women and put barriers in their way of seeking constitutionally protected medical care. Simply put, the regulations are based in politics, not medicine.

At Planned Parenthood South Atlantic the health and safety of our patients and the compassionate care that we provide to thousands of women, men and young people is our top priority. We stand with South Carolina women and will fight these burdensome, unconstitutional and medically-unnecessary regulations.

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