A proposal requiring a husband’s signed consent for his wife to receive an abortion was offered in error, S.C. regulators said Wednesday.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control included the proposed change in part of a more than 70-page update to regulations overseeing abortion clinics. The public has until 5 p.m. on Oct. 24 to give input on the proposals which must be approved by the S.C. General Assembly to take effect.
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, an abortion-rights advocacy group, seized on the changes Wednesday. The proposal is “blatantly unconstitutional,” Vicki Ringer, the advocacy group’s S.C. director of public affairs, said in a statement, adding that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Pennsylvania law requiring a married woman to sign a statement indicating she notified her spouse of her intent to get an abortion.
The current draft of the proposed changes to South Carolina’s 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.
But DHEC spokesperson Jennifer Read said the changes were “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 in the current draft, which will be reviewed again by stakeholders” Thursday, she said.
The agency says it is updating the abortion clinic regulations because they have not been revised significantly since 1996.