South Carolina tries to pass additional anti-abortion laws without anyone noticing

As if placing undue burdens on women seeking abortions weren’t disrespectful enough, now South Carolina is passing TRAP laws on the down low because they assume women won’t notice or care. Well, thanks to a Reddit poster, we’re all onto you, South Carolina. Instead of passing entirely new legislation, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is just revising the current Regulation 61-12: Standards for Licensing Abortion Clinics. It’s a methodology akin to snagging a few quarters from your sibling’s change jar — if you do it quietly and don’t take too much at once, they will never notice, right? Wrong.

It’s not just the sneaky way the state’s going about it, but also that the suggested revisions have already been deemed unconstitutional in other states and in other cases. Then again, South Carolina’s abortion laws already defy federal legal precedents, so maybe they just don’t know any better. Back in May, Governor Nicki Haley signed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which prohibits abortion after 20 weeks, even in the case of rape or incest, on the basis that a fetus can feel pain at that point. Not only is it medically debatable whether a fetus can feel pain, 20 weeks is a month shy of fetal viability. Roe v Wade says that women can terminate their pregnancy up until fetal viability, which is usually pegged at 24 weeks. So, strike one for South Carolina.

Here are some of the other restrictive and probably unconstitutional revisions the state’s trying to add, as explained in Grey’s Anatomy gifs.

Women need permission from their spouse to have an abortion

One of the revisions to R 61-12, which has not been updated in 20 years, is that women have to have signed consent from their spouse  to get an abortion if they’re married and living with said spouse, like a woman’s choice is an elementary school field trip and not, well, a choice about her health, body, and overall well-being. DHEC public information officer Robert Yanity said in a statement to Mic that that provision was added “in error,” but it’s in the revisions two times.

Since the state is trying to pass these regulations under the radar, let’s not take their word for it and assume the DHEC is just covering because they were caught. For what it’s worth, it was decided by the Supreme Court in 1976’s Planned Parenthood v. Danforth and 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey that a woman isn’t required to tell her spouse or partner about her abortion, let alone get their consent.

Physicians need to get admitting privileges to hospitals

Seriously, not this again. This summer, the Supreme Court’s Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt decision in Texas struck down a similar law because it’s not necessary for doctors who perform abortions in their own clinics to have rights as hospital staff anywhere else. There’s no medical or scientific reason for this. South Carolina also wants to hold abortion facilities to the same standards as ambulatory surgical facilities, another thing the Supreme Court struck down in the June decision. 

Since an abortion is an outpatient procedure, this is just blatant politics and obstructing a woman’s freedom to choose. Many hospitals don’t want to give physicians who perform abortions admitting privileges to their hospital because they don’t want the state or church or whatever board runs their hospital to get their panties in a bunch because they’re helping women get an abortion, so it’s not like it’s an easy rule to abide. Even if it were necessary, which again, it is not. 

Women need to get tested for STIs for an abortion

Yanity also said that revision was put in there as an error, but again, I don’t trust these people. It was put in there as a “continued recommendation” but it wouldn’t be made obligatory, according to his statement to Mic. Yea, right.

The sneaky way state legislators are trying to get these passed is also totally messed up, defying all definitions of public service and political transparency. Revisions to existing laws are confirmed in the same way as new legislation — the revisions are proposed, they’re made open to public comment, and then the final draft is decided upon by the DHEC (probably in December for these ones). So it’s a process, but they’re buried deep on the state’s website (you can go to the site, enter “4669,” and download the draft to see for yourself). “Revisions to R 61-12″ just won’t really get as much attention as they would if they were passed as a totally new law. Even though they will be totally new laws.

All of these sneaky revisions have nothing to do with a woman’s health or anything to do with science. There’s no need for a clinic’s doctors to have ID badges to a hospital, no medical or even ethical obligation to inform a spouse, and certainly, STIs have little to do with terminating a pregnancy. All of them are about politics (and most of them have already been struck down by the highest court in the country) and making it as hard as humanly possible for a woman to get an abortion.