A proposal requiring a husband to give his signed consent before his wife could get an abortion was issued in error, S.C. regulators said Wednesday.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control included the proposal as part of its 70-plus-page update to abortion-clinic regulations. The public has until 5 p.m. on Oct. 24 to respond to the proposals, which must be approved by the General Assembly to take effect.
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, an abortion-rights advocacy group, seized on the proposed change Wednesday.
The proposal is “blatantly unconstitutional,” Vicki Ringer, the group’s S.C. director of public affairs, said in a statement, adding the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Pennsylvania law requiring a married woman to sign a statement saying she had notified her spouse of her plan to get an abortion.
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The current draft of the proposed changes to S.C. abortion-clinic regulations would require a husband to provide his signed consent to his wife’s abortion, if the woman is “married and living with her husband.” The signed consent would be included in the woman’s medical record.
DHEC spokesperson Jennifer Read said the change was “included in error, as consent is only required during the third trimester by state law. ... We apologize for any confusion or concern these errors may have caused and are correcting the language.”
The agency says it is updating the abortion-clinic regulations because they have not been revised significantly since 1996.