Monday the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision striking down provisions of a Texas statute that threatened to close half of the state’s remaining abortion clinics. While this decision primarily affects Texas clinics, it also has significant implications for women’s health in South Carolina.
The decision establishes a strong legal standard that protects women’s access to abortion in South Carolina. This comes on the heels of this year’s passage of a 20-week abortion bill in South Carolina — a bill that the S.C. chairman of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologist calls “terrifying” and that has no exceptions for survivors of rape or incest.
This year’s legislative session also saw the introduction of a bill to ban a safe, medically accepted abortion method. H.4634 passed through a House subcommittee in spite of the majority of testimony opposing it.
Where these bills tried to redraw the lines of political intervention in our private medical decisions, Monday’s Supreme Court ruling reaffirms a woman’s constitutional right and ability — no matter where she lives — to make her own decisions about her health, family and future.
The Supreme Court’s ruling also fuels the powerful momentum against political interference in women’s right to safe, legal abortion. Simply put, the court reinforced that medical decisions should be made by a woman and her doctor — not her legislators.
The fight does not end with this decision. Moving forward, our legislators should prioritize laws that protect women’s constitutional rights and guarantee access to the full range of reproductive health information and services — from medically accurate sex education to health screenings and tests to accessible and affordable contraception and excellent care during pregnancy.
The abortion restrictions introduced year in and year out in South Carolina must stop. The court has spoken: Women are fully capable of and entitled to make their own health decisions.
Tell Them, Director of Advocacy