Supreme Court Rejects Appeal of Abortion Clinic Regulations
Supreme Court Won't Hear Abortion Facility Regulation Case
WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 26, 01 (CWNews.com) - On Monday, the
US Supreme Court rejected an appeal by South Carolina
abortionists against regulations for abortion clinics in
The four abortionists, who perform most of the abortions in
the state, had challenged the new regulations as putting an
undue burden on women's ability to have an abortion under
the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision. The
abortionists responded to the ruling by asking a lower
court to delay the rules from taking effect.
Otherwise, the doctors will be unable to perform abortions
until they meet the licensing requirements, which could
take months, said Margie Kelly, spokesman for the Center
for Reproductive Law and Policy, which represented the
doctors. "It is a much more subtle form of discrimination
against abortion but as significant as any anti-abortion
tactic that has come down the pike in the last decade,"
South Carolina Attorney General Charles Condon praised the
court's decision as common sense and a victory for states'
rights. "These reasonable health and safety regulations
will continue to stand. South Carolina should be run by
South Carolinians, not federal bureaucrats or federal
courts," Condon said.
WASHINGTON, DC - Feb 26 (AP from ProLifeInfo.org) - The Supreme Court said Monday it will not hear South
Carolina abortion facilities' complaint that they are subject to
unconstitutional and medically pointless regulations.
The court, without comment, turned aside the claim by abortion
practitioners that additional medical and safety rules imposed by the
state are really just an attempt to undermine abortion. Four South
Carolina abortion practitioners claimed the disputed rules ``represent a
concerted attempt to chip away at the right to abortion'' and violate the
Constitution's guarantee that everyone will be treated equally under the
The court has a narrow majority in favor of abortion, but in recent years
it has allowed some pro-life legislation to stand, including parental
notification, informed consent, and laws that mandate that non-physicans
can't perform abortions.
The rules governing everything from bookkeeping to air flow in abortion
facility offices treat early-term abortion differently from other
similarly low-risk medical procedures, the abortion practitioners claimed.
To comply, they would have to make expensive changes to their offices that
would raise the cost of abortion significantly, they said.
South Carolina authorities responded that the regulations, passed by
pro-life leaders in the state legislature, are very similar to national
standards for abortion practices, and that one of the abortion facilities
fighting the rules has already complied with most of them. ``This
regulation does not look to strike at a woman's right to choose whether to
have an abortion,'' lawyers for the state wrote. ``Rather, these
regulations look to protect the health of women who seek abortions.''
The state cited several benefits to public health and safety from the
regulations, including requirements to ensure that abortion practitioners
are properly trained and their facilities are properly equipped. The rules
also require women be tested for venereal diseases that might complicate
A state regulatory agency, after the law was passed, issued a new, 27-page
book of regulations, and the abortion practitioners sued to keep the rules
from taking effect. A lower court agreed with the abortion practitioners,
but the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the state last year
saying they served "a valid state interest" to ensure the health and
appropriate care of women seeking abortions. The appeals court ruled the
regulations do not strike at the abortion "right" itself. It said the
increased costs incurred by clinics would be "modest" and would not burden
the ability of a woman to get an abortion. The abortion practitioners
then appealed to the Supreme Court.
The case could affect separate challenges brought by abortion facilities
to similar pro-life regulations in Tennessee, Texas and Louisiana.
The case is Greenville Women's Clinic v. Bryant, 00-798.
February 27, 2001
volume 12, no. 58
Pro Life News