February 27, 2001
volume 12, no. 58

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal of Abortion Clinic Regulations

    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 state.

    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," Kelly said.

    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.


Supreme Court Won't Hear Abortion Facility Regulation Case

    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 law."

    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 abortions.

    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
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