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US Supreme Court Allows Unnecessary Regulations on SC Abortion Clinics

The US Supreme Court has rejected a case filed by three South Carolina abortion providers and the abortion clinics in Greenville and Charleston, SC, that charge state regulations on abortion clinics are financially burdensome, medically unnecessary and violate a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion. The 1996 licensing requirements include clinic airflow standards, alarm systems in clinic bathrooms, and would permit state agencies to copy and remove patient files–a violation of doctor-patient confidentiality.

Shortly after the regulations were adopted, abortion providers sued the state charging that in order to comply with the costly regulations, doctors would have to raise the cost of abortions by as much as $368. A federal judge sided with the doctors, stating the regulations violated the US Constitution, but a federal appeals court upheld the state’s regulations. The case then moved to the US Supreme Court, where it was rejected. Lawyers with the Center for Reproductive Law & Policy representing the South Carolina doctors and clinics said, “The Supreme Court has given a green light to states to regulate abortion out of existence.” This case could affect similar cases in Tennessee, Louisiana and Texas.

Sources:

Center for Reproductive Law & Policy Ð February 26, 2001; LA Times Ð February 26, 2001; Washington Post Ð February 26, 2001

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