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South Carolina Abortion Clinic Regulations are Reinstated

A federal appeals court overturned US District Judge William Traxler’s 1999 ruling that certain South Carolina abortion clinic regulations were unconstitutional and violated a women’s right to due process and equal protection. The regulations apply to clinics that perform 5 or more abortions a month, and include items such as airflow standards, doorway widths, and the requirement that registered nurses assist in the abortion. In 1999 Traxler wrote in his ruling that the state “loaded these abortion clinics down with so many unnecessary requirements that this court has no choice but to conclude that the regulation unduly burdens a woman’s fundamental right to undergo an abortion.” However, the appeals court majority opinion stated that the increased costs incurred by the clinics to meet the regulations are modest, and argued that the regulations function as a “valid state interest” to ensure the appropriate care of women seeking abortions. In a divided 2 to 1 ruling, Federal Appeals Court Judge Clyde Hamilton wrote a sharply worded dissent stating that the regulation “singles out and places additional and onerous burdens upon abortion providers.”

Sources:

Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com) - 17 August 2000

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