South Carolina Tries to Further Restrict Abortion Access

South Carolina, already home to a law that forces women to undergo ultrasounds before they have an abortion, and another one that forces them to wait an hour to have the abortion after being given literature about why they shouldn’t, is now trying to pass yet another law saying women are too stupid to know what they’re doing:

Women seeking an abortion in South Carolina would have to wait at least 24 hours after their ultrasound under a bill given initial approval Wednesday by a House subcommittee.

The measure would increase the waiting time from an hour to a day.

Proponents said it would bring South Carolina in line with other states that have waiting periods and give women time to reflect on the decision. Critics said requiring two trips creates a burden, especially for poor, rural women.

The proposal follows nearly two years of debate on whether to require women to view an ultrasound image before getting an abortion. Under a compromise passed last year, women must be asked whether they want to look at the screen during the procedure or see a printed image — and sign a form verifying they were given the option.

The compromise kept in the law a 60-minute wait already required after women are handed brochures about fetal development and abortion alternatives.

“But one hour is not enough time to think about it,” said Rep. Greg Delleney, the sponsor of last year’s law and the current proposal. “I’m trying to give the chance for a child waiting to be born to have a birthday.”

Well at least the guy, unlike many other proponents of the bill, is honest about the fact that his intent isn’t to save the poor stupid, imbecile women who don’t understand the meaning of the word “pregnancy,” but to save the poor babies from those poor stupid, imbecile women.

Pro-choice advocates say it in the article, but it’s clearly worth reiterating.  First of all, women aren’t stupid.  They don’t wake up in the morning, decide with absolutely no fore-thought “I’m going to have an abortion today — sounds like fun!” and go ahead and do it.  Those women who have abortions and then regret them later?  Far more often than not, they make a decision that they regret because their other options are constrained, not because someone failed to force them against their will to think about it for a(n extra) full day.

Secondly, though I know that our current Supreme Court certainly won’t define it as such, this waiting period absolutely does constitute an undue burden on women seeking an abortion.  As noted, to start, constraints are certainly put on rural women — remember that 87% of counties do not have an abortion provider, and even in New York, where only 40% of counties don’t have an abortion provider, I’m still a 45 minute drive away from mine.

But what of other women?  Urban women don’t necessarily have it easy, either.  For those without cars, navigating public transportation to get to an abortion clinic more than once can sometimes be a nightmare.  What about getting time off work more than once, especially when you don’t have the luxury of a job that provides vacation and sick days, and get paid hourly?   And what about child care?  Contrary to popular myth, 60% of women who have an abortion already have one or more children.  So not only are you likely going to have to find a way to get to the clinic more than once, and take time off of work more than once, you just might also have to arrange for someone to look after your kid(s) more than once, too.

Extra time equals extra money, and that equals extra barriers.  Which is, of course, exactly what anti-choicers want.

And lastly, I’d like to touch on a point that often goes ignored.  That of the mistake that some women make in having an abortion, which they go on to regret forever.  You know what?  It could happen.  Anything is possible.

But I could undergo any other simple medical procedure, have a horrible experience, and regret it forever.  No one tries to make me think about it for 24 hours first, though.  I could go on a date with a guy, get into a relationship that turns out to be abusive and regret it forever.  But no one tries to make me wait 24 hours before saying yes to the date.  With free will and free choice comes the free will to make a bad choice.  And yes, it’s going to happen.  Yes, that’s very unfortunate.  Sincerely, it is.

But it’s also a part of life.  It’s a part of life, and a right, that I deeply value.  I think most of us do.  And it’s one that these folks — in their quest to deny women the access to a choice, openly based on the argument that “she might regret it” — are trying to take away.

Via DaisyDeadhead (whose remarks on this are awesome)

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45 comments for “South Carolina Tries to Further Restrict Abortion Access

  1. Kristen (The J one)
    January 28, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Hmmm…that “regret it FOREVER” meme is a huge one with the fundies. I wonder if we had a survey of the things that most of us regret (assuming most of us aren’t so enlightened as to released our regrets) whether the things like – oh, failing to lock in an interest rate last week, would probably register higher on the average woman’s guilt-o-meter than having sex before marriage or drinking a beer or even having an abortion.

  2. Banisteriopsis
    January 28, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    The proposal follows nearly two years of debate on whether to require women to view an ultrasound image before getting an abortion.

    Ooh and why not give women a picture book of gangrene before undergoing any invasive operation. Just so they know what they’re getting into.

  3. Jessica
    January 28, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Maybe if the lawmakers had to sleep in their cars for a couple of nights (which is what some women have to do in order to afford the procedure itself), they would think differently.

  4. AL
    January 28, 2009 at 4:34 pm


    I have a better idea: any anti-abortion asshole should be required to wait 24 hours before having sex.

  5. January 28, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Regarding the regret-forever meme: a woman might regret not having an abortion as well.

  6. January 28, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Apparently, there’s a study (um, don’t thave the time to find it on google today) a long-term study that shows women who have had abortions regret them no more than women who had children regret that decision.

    I think I’ve seen that study, too, and I think you’re right about it being Guttmacher. Which is precisely my point, of course. We can come to regret anything, especially life decisions. But no one would dream of saying “you need to wait 24 hours before deciding NOT to have an abortion!” Even though, yes, sadly, some people do regret having kids.

  7. January 28, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    I wonder how many women regret their decisions because the society they live in tells them abortion is bad and they should regret it rather than deciding for themselves without societal pressure that it just turned out to be a choice they would make differently in the future? I would be interested to know what percentage of women regret their abortion if they live in a society that does not stigmatise and judge women for having one?

    My heart does ache for women who regret their decision to terminate but it also makes me furious that many are regretful because society made them feel bad for making that choice and they’ve been basically bullied into feeling guilty about taking a course of action that was wholly appropriate for them at that time.

    It blows my mind that fundies can still spout this emotive (and downright false) rhetoric in the face of so much science that plainly states that a foetus is NOT a cognitive being with a sense of self and therefore not capable of having feelings about abortion. Therefore there is scientifically nothing for a woman to feel guilty about in her decision to terminate.

  8. Kristen from MA
    January 28, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    Another burden of an imposed 24hr waiting period: getting past the anti-choice nutjobs that may be protesting outside of the clinic. Navigating past/through them once can be pretty unnerving, but knowing you’ll have to come back and do it again? Especially if the crazies are taking pictures, or taking doen license plate numbers. I can see a lot of women being scared away.

  9. January 28, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Regret is a consequence of making a decision. If you never want to regret anything again, simply let someone else make all of your decisions for you. Of course, then you might regret letting someone free you from regret.

  10. irisevelyn
    January 28, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    I absolutely agree with all of you.
    An additional point is that pregnancy can be pretty awful. I’m in my first trimester and frankly, so far I hate every second of it. And I want that child, and getting pregnant was a very conscious decision on my part. Still, l absolutely hate being pregnant and if I wanted to have an abortion, I’d really want it as soon as possible. This is maybe minor compared to the points you raise, but I think it should also be mentioned.

  11. LiserDoesLaw
    January 28, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    “But one hour is not enough time to think about it,” said Rep. Greg Delleney, the sponsor of last year’s law and the current proposal. “I’m trying to give the chance for a child waiting to be born to have a birthday.”

    Oh, barf. The one thing the anti-choice movement does is frame the issue well, so that people actually believe a fetus has the capacity to “want” anything other than nutrients. Especially at or before ~5 months of gestation, it’s really not able to “think” at all. But of course, we’re inconveniencing the fetus and depriving it of birth, where it will promptly be forgotten by the same people who wrote this bill.

  12. January 28, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    If anti-choicers want this sort of stuff to pass, then I hope they’re willing to pay any and all medical expenses for the birth of and care of this child. It’s completely unethical to force a woman to give birth, and then offer no assistance after giving her no choice. Sorry, but you can’t deny her both, it doesn’t work that way.

  13. January 28, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    Cara – great post!

    I wish the Anti-Choice people would be intellectually consistent. If you’re going to force people to have kids, help them take care of the littles, and by the way – be against capital punishment, war, and starvation.

    Couldn’t agree more with some of the commenters here. I love AL’s suggestion: “any anti-abortion asshole should be required to wait 24 hours before having sex.”


  14. Maria
    January 28, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Is it just me or does anyone else want to respond to the inane “birthday” justification with, “I see! So what you really want is mandated birthday cakes in all abortion clinics! Yes I will have a side of chocolate cake with my abortion!”

  15. Kiah
    January 28, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    These are pretty much the exact bills that were just proposed in Nebraska this last week.

  16. Azula
    January 28, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    So what’s next after they pass this legislation? Are they gonna come up and say that one day isn’t enough time to let them think, so the waiting period should be one week? Then two weeks? Then a month? Soon enough the waiting period will be nine months *roll eyes* Blargh. Jerkass anti-choicers…

  17. January 28, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    I was totally livid upon seeing that today on the State newspaper’s web page. People like Delleney should be removed from office in 2010.

  18. Rikibeth
    January 28, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    And, of course, that “baby” he so desperately wants to have a birthday? Will, almost certainly, at some point in its teen years (if not before), shout “I never ASKED to be born!”

    It’s as inevitable as the phrase, “Someday, when you have kids, I hope they treat you JUST LIKE THIS.”

  19. SunlessNick
    January 28, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    Even though, yes, sadly, some people do regret having kids.

    And the more abortion is restricted, the larger that number will get.

  20. Portia
    January 28, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    “The one thing the anti-choice movement does is frame the issue well”

    On the other side, I like this frame:

    Pregnancy should not be a punishment.

    Of course, most if not all of the anti-choicers believe pregnancy SHOULD be a punishment, but that’s a belief they prefer to conceal, since most people don’t agree with that anymore. That’s what makes the frame effective.

    I’d love to see it on signs and T-shirts, cos what’s the counter-argument? “Yes, it should”?

  21. Entomologista
    January 28, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    Why not make women wait 24 hours before getting a boob job? Oh, right…

  22. 10G
    January 28, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    Dear Greg “Asshat” Delleney,
    (As I have commented previously on this site)–No WAY do I EVER regret the choice I made to terminate my pregnancy twenty years ago. Get it? TWENTY years ago I made my decision, and I am STILL am convinced it was the right choice for me. Of course, since you and your fundie cohorts are so bloody concerned about the potential critter making it’s first birthday–START ADOPTING these unwanted kids. I’m with everyone here, especially Jenna–put your money where your collective mouths are, fucktards, and care for these kids AFTER they escape from the womb. Or stop breathing. I’m good with either or both. ;)

    On another note………Irisevelyn, I truly wish you the best! I hope the morning sickness phase passes VERY soon (try crackers in the morning?), and you sound like you’ll be a very cool mom! God bless…….G

  23. 10G
    January 28, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    Oh, just for the record? The “Or stop breathing” option is ONLY meant for Delleney & Co…..NOT for anyone else. Just so’s you know…….

  24. Amie
    January 29, 2009 at 12:17 am

    Gov. Rick Perry just announced that he would try to get a very similar bill passed in Texas this year. All in a bid to get re-elected for governor. Seriously, is it not hard enough to get an abortion in Texas already?

  25. Kyra
    January 29, 2009 at 12:39 am

    “But one hour is not enough time to think about it,” said Rep. Greg Delleney, the sponsor of last year’s law and the current proposal.

    So if a woman decides NOT to have an abortion after an hour’s thought, she hasn’t thought about it enough and should spend time reconsidering?

  26. Kyra
    January 29, 2009 at 12:44 am

    I’m trying to give the chance for a child waiting to be born to have a birthday.”

    Translation: “I want something. YOU, random stranger, can pay for it.”

  27. akeeyu
    January 29, 2009 at 5:48 am

    Coming soon to South Carolina: The nine month waiting period for abortion!


    For contrast: I once took my infant daughter in for a consult on a problem that required surgical intervention. I talked to the nurse, talked to the doctor, and then the surgery scheduling nurse came in TWENTY MINUTES LATER to put her on the books for surgery.

    So, to review, as a woman apparently I’m competant to decide what happens to an infant, but not what happens to an embryo? What?

  28. January 29, 2009 at 9:48 am

    irisevelyn, I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but it does get better. I had one of the worst 1st trimesters of anyone I’ve ever met (including one ER visit for hyperemesis), and I’m now at 21 weeks and for the most part loving it.

    And, to put it on topic, being knocked up has, if anything, further solidified my pro-choice beliefs. Pregnancy sucks, and forcing pregnancy on someone is fundamentally torture.

  29. January 29, 2009 at 10:28 am

    I’ve bad news to report. The panel okayed the bill. It is now in the full House Judiciary Committee.

  30. January 29, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Just fabulous, Cara! Thanks for all you do.

  31. January 29, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Jovan, South Carolina conservatives have a real attitude since Inauguration day, and I was worried that might be the result.

  32. Laurie in Mpls.
    January 29, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Re: 1 hour isn’t enough time to decide whether or not to terminate a pregnancy

    What I find amazing is that these brainiacs completely ignore the fact that most, if not all, women think about and consider *nothing else* from the moment they find out they are pregnant until the moment they are sitting in the chair at the clinic, or the doctor’s office. Do they honestly think that women DON’T walk into that office having spent hours and hours trying to figure out what to do?

    Oh, right. ‘Cause we are like little children, with no idea of consequences. Jack asses.

  33. anonyhereforserious
    January 29, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    South Carolina is where a lot of women from the North Carolina mountains go. That’s a six to eight hour drive, usually.

    If I had anything remotely approaching the right personality for medical school, I would start studying to be an abortion provider tomorrow. It’s ridiculous that something this common is this hard to access.

  34. irisevelyn
    January 29, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    G10 and Ashley,
    Thanks a lot, I really appreciate your kind words. Everyone is telling me it’ll get better soon. I very much hope they are right ;-)
    But yeah, I had no idea how much this can suck.
    Ok, i guess I should stop derailing this thread now.

  35. Rhonda
    January 29, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Though I am pro-choice I can’t view abortion the way I view getting a boob job or having my tonsils removed. Silicone and tonsils does not have the potential to ever develop into human babies the way an embryo does. We ALL have the right to decide on whether or not to become parents even after conception. Its the reproductive right to become a parent thats at stake here and in deciding whether or not you want to become a parent another day should not change your mind though I DO think in many circumstances of poverty, rape, incest, the preservation of the health of the mother, this undo burden will push a woman into the direction of continuing a pregnancy she’d rather have had terminated. THAT , in my humble opinion, is a violation of her reprodcuctive rights.

  36. Rhonda
    January 29, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Gaina I think there will be women who regret having an abortion as they see joys and excitement of parenthood from pregnancy, labor & delivery on into school recitals and beyond unfold in front of them via close friends and family just as many moms (myself includeed) sometimes look on with desire at the freedom of childlessness when a friend or colleague doesn’t have to schedule her life around whether or not she can get child care, splurging on her/himself and the thought of having uninterrupted intimacy with your partner. You can not undo an abortion just as you can not undo giving birth and becoming a parent. Both have their pros and cons and just as quickly as regret slithers itself into your pysche, in the same amount of time its gone and you couldn’t truly imagaine making any other choice at the time.

  37. Gaina
    January 29, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Hi Rhonda :)

    I can’t say ‘understand’ because I’ve never had a child and never will (mainly because I wish to continue enjoying the very freedoms you’ve just outlined! haha) but I do comprehend your point.

    I guess what was trying to say and maybe not making such a good job of it, is that it’s hard enough for a woman who’s been through that experience without a society that doesn’t have the first clue about the reality of her life piling more shit on her (excuse my french).

    There needs to be more compassion for women who still grieve their termination as well as more respect for women who know they did the right thing for their circumstances. If a woman is OK with the decision she made then it’s nobody’s place (and especially not a male politician’s) to tell her she’s wrong.

    My cousin was bullied into a termination at a very young age, and I saw for myself the horrible damage that did to her mind. It’s the lack of none-judgemental safe spaces for people who are faced with such personal decisions that disturbs me.

  38. Rhonda
    January 29, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    Hi Gaina! :),

    Oh I get it, because I wasn’t born with children ya know and I’m lucky enough to have a great husband and good support system so I can always turn to someone to give me a chance to *revisit* those past freedoms while still enjoying parenthood. But even me, a very proud and happy mother of a newborn baby boy can fully appreciate childlessness and the thought process that goes into reproductive decisions.

    I think we lose our right to choice when any woman anywhere is coerced or bullied into an abortion. It’s no longer about it being her body but rather those around her not becoming a parent or grandparent even though SHE may want to. No where is it ever ok to bully someone into a surgical procedure this life altering and unnecessary (unnecessary when the woman in question is bullied or coerced, its only an option when its something SHE decides-for herself- that SHE wants to do it) as abortion. Its appalling, I’m equally appalled when a woman is bullied or coerced into keeping a child she does not want to have the worst example of that is Andrea Yates. There is a deep need to take back the choice in reproductive rights. It need no longer be about satisfying other people and moreso about whether or not the pregnant woman wants to terminate her pregnancy. No matter who her pregnancy affects the person omst deeply affected and responsible for any decision regarding an abortion is her. She alone will have to deal with that choice.

  39. February 1, 2009 at 8:44 am

    “Though I am pro-choice I can’t view abortion the way I view getting a boob job or having my tonsils removed. ”

    True. A tonsillectomy, in particular, is far more dangerous.

  40. JJ
    February 23, 2009 at 5:02 am

    I’m a guy that has encountered MANY MANY moms who deeply regret having murdered their child and mourn the loss of their child on the anniversary of their baby daughter’s or son’s death.

    I ran across so many girl’s like this so frequently that it pushed me into having to do some sort of regular pro-life activism.

    There comes a point where you run up against too much evidence to not do anything in response anymore.

  41. Lalli
    April 2, 2009 at 9:37 am

    I was terrorised and bullied into an abortion ten years ago and lost a child I already loved. I hate myself for not having enough self esteem to fight back agianst my partner and my mother who made me feel I was a worthless piece of filth. Ten years later I am the angriest person I know. I want the same justice that is allowed people who are bullied in a worplace – after ten years I feel I have earnt a voice. I want to sue those who destroyed my life. Now I am recovered from ten years of horror – I want to go after them with everything I have.

  42. Mary Swift
    July 13, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    To condemn someone for a legal choice is wrong, either make abortion illegal
    or keep your mouths shut.. Has any of those prolifers had a child and know what its like to do without food, health care and other basic necessitys. If Abortion was the only thing wrong in our country it could be stopped easily.
    There is way more wrong than that IT IS AN AWFUL SIN TO PASS JUDGEMENT
    ON OTHER PEOPLE without knowing the situations they faced. It is as bad as murder to pass judgement on other people, that is GODs job. Now if we can all admit it is wrong without being judgemental on others and work toward a common goal to get it stopped maybe then We could all live with each other in love instead of hate Thanks Peace!

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