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South Carolina

Post-Viability Abortion Restriction

South Carolina's post-viability abortion restriction states that no abortion may be provided after the 24th week unless the attending physician and another independent physician certify in writing that the abortion is necessary to preserve the woman's life or health.  If both physicians certify that the abortion is necessary to preserve the woman's mental health, an independent psychiatrist must also certify that the abortion is necessary.  S.C. Code Ann. §§ 44-41-10(k) (Enacted 1974), 44-41-10(l) (Enacted 1974), 44-41-20(c) (Enacted 1974).

NARAL Pro-Choice America supports the legal framework established in Roe v. Wade and does not oppose restrictions on post-viability abortion, such as South Carolina's, that contain adequate exceptions to protect the woman's life and health.  NARAL Pro-Choice America opposes this law because it is unconstitutional to the extent that it prohibits pre-viability abortion by defining viability at 24 weeks.  A state may not prohibit abortion prior to viability, which is that point at which a fetus is capable of "meaningful life" outside a woman's body.  Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 163 (1973).  Because viability is a point that varies with each pregnancy, states may not declare that it occurs at a particular gestational age.  Colautti v. Franklin, 439 U.S. 379, 388-89 (1979).


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