SC Senate Advances Compromised Abortion Bill
South Carolina's state Senate approved the state House's abortion legislation Wednesday that extends the wait time for an abortion from one hour to 24 hours. However, a compromise was added that does not necessarily tie the one-day waiting period to the time of an ultrasound, according to the Associated Press. Under the current bill, at least 24 hours prior to an abortion, women must either have an ultrasound or print and review information from the website of the Department of Health and Environmental Control, which must be time-stamped and list locations where free ultrasounds may be obtained, including CPCs. The measure was stalled in the Senate for a year, and it will return to the House of Representatives, where reports indicate it may not pass in its current form.
Since there are only three abortion clinics in South Carolina, the Senate also compromised that women may obtain an ultrasound from crisis pregnancy centers to fulfill the legislation's requirement, reported the Associated Press.
Currently, there are an estimated 2,593 CPCs nationwide, most of which are affiliated with one or more national umbrella organizations. CPCs pose as legitimate health centers and offer "free" pregnancy tests. Some CPCs coerce and intimidate women out of considering abortion as an option, and prevent women from receiving neutral and comprehensive medical advice. They are typically run by anti-abortion volunteers who are not licensed medical professionals.
According to the Associated Press, critics of the measure argue that this extension will force women to take multiple trips on at least two days, placing a burden on impoverished women who live in rural areas and must make transportation arrangements and ask for multiple days off work.
Jessica Bearden, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Health Systems in Raleigh, NC, told the Associated Press, "This legislation is still an egregious intrusion into the personal, private medical decisions of women and their families. Mandatory delays are medically unnecessary and suggest that women make the decision to have an abortion flippantly." Bearden called the expansion to CPCs a "free advertising scheme for fake clinics."
Media Resources: Associated Press 3/24/10, 3/25/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 11/18/09