The South Carolina legislature is attempting to pass revisions to Regulation 61-12. While they are taking public comments, they have made it quite difficult to even find the proposed changes. I’ve contacted SCDHEC and obtained the appropriate documentation which I will provide.

SCDHEC has implied from this document that only minor revisions will be made. See page 20. This is in fact, not true. The language of the proposed changes is not available in any news article, it is not made public for people to see and yet they are requesting public comments. So I’m making it public. Here are the proposed changes:

The abortion clinic must provide a fact sheet for each patient. That fact sheet must now include:

b. If married and living with her husband, the consent of her husband. (page 37)

This has been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v Danforth. Requiring consent of a spouse is not legal.

At least one (1) obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) board-certified physician on staff who has admitting privileges at one (1) or more local hospitals with OB/GYN services to ensure his or her availability to the staff and patients during all operating hours; or 2. A signed written agreement with at least one (1) OB/GYN board-certified physician with admitting privileges at one (1) or more local hospitals with OB/GYN services to ensure his or her availability to the staff and patients during all operating hours. (page 31)

Requiring an OB/GYN with admitting privileges puts an unnecessary burden on abortion providers and will reduce the number of physicians capable of providing these services.

Section 804.D (formerly 304.C) was amended to require that testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea, syphilis serology, and papanicolaou be administered. (page 6)

Requiring (instead of simply offering) STI testing is invasive, insulting and unnecessary. It implies that even monogamous individuals seeking abortion are at elevated risk for STI. There is no scientific evidence to support the inclusion of this mandate. Inclusion of a pap smear for those under 21 is not recommended by any medical organizations, so its inclusion here is again, excessive and intrusive with no evident benefits.

You can download the proposed changes to the regulations by going to:http://www.scstatehouse.gov/regnsrch.php. Once there, enter the number 4669 and press”retrieve document.” A word file will download and you can read it all for yourself. The pages indicated above are from that document. Anything crossed out is language that will be removed. Anything underlined is new language. Anything without markup will remain the same.

SCDHEC is taking comments from the public athttp://www.scdhec.gov/Apps/Health/HRPublicComments/Default.aspx until October 24. The hearing will be December 8. Please, regardless of where you stand on this issue, make your voices heard. We can only affect changes in our local government if we speak up!