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South Carolina

Refusal to Provide Medical Services

ABORTION REFUSAL CLAUSE

South Carolina allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide abortion services.

To whom does the refusal clause apply? Private or non-governmental hospitals or clinics, physicians, nurses, technicians, or other employees of a hospital, clinic, or physician.

What does the refusal clause allow? No physician, nurse, technician, or other employee of a hospital, clinic, or physician, who objects in writing, may be required to recommend, provide, or assist in abortion services. The refusal may not be a basis for liability or discrimination. A person discriminated against in employment may bring a civil action for damages and reinstatement. Except in an emergency, no private or non-governmental hospital or clinic may be required to permit the use of its facility for abortion care or admit a woman for the purpose of abortion care. The refusal of a hospital to provide or permit abortion care in accordance with an adopted policy may not be a basis for civil liability.

Must the refusal be in writing?  Yes.

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected? No.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised? Yes, in emergency situations, no hospital or clinic may refuse admittance.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to provide medically and factually accurate information or provide a referral for abortion services? No.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to otherwise obtain specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals if an individual and/or entity exercises a refusal clause? No.

S.C. Code Ann. §§ 44-41-40, -50 (Enacted 1962; Last Amended 1974).

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