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South Carolina

Restrictions on Young Women's Access to Abortion

South Carolina law restricts young women's access to abortion.

Is the law enforceable?  Yes.

Who is considered a minor? A young woman under the age of 17 who has never been married and is not freed by court order from the care, custody, and control of her parents.

What is required parental consent or parental notice?  Consent.

Who must provide consent/be notified?  One parent.

Are there other trusted adults who may provide consent instead?  A grandparent or any person who has been standing in loco parentis.

What is the process for obtaining consent?  A young woman may not obtain an abortion unless the attending or referring physician secures the "informed" written consent, signed and witnessed, of one parent or grandparent.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of rape or incest?  Yes, if the pregnancy is the result of incest and the attending physician reports the incest to the department of social services or a law-enforcement agency.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of child abuse?  No.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman's health is threatened?  Yes, but only if the "physician determines that a medical emergency exists involving the life of or grave physical injury to the pregnant woman."

May the parental mandate be waived under any other circumstances?  Yes, the young woman may try to obtain permission from a judge.

If a young woman must obtain permission from a judge, what is the process?  She must secure a court order stating either that she is mature and well informed enough to make her own decision or that an abortion is in her best interests.

Are there other significant requirements under the law?  If a young woman's parent refuses to give consent and the court also refuses to consent and she gives birth, the refusing parent and the "father" are liable for child support until the young woman turns 18 or is emancipated.

Has a court considered the constitutionality of this law?  No.

Other information about the law:  A physician who counsels a young woman must inform her of the judicial-bypass procedure. The state is required to prepare and distribute a brochure for physicians' use in this regard.

S.C. Code Ann. §§ 44-41-10 (Enacted 1962; Last Amended 1995), -30 (Enacted 1962; Last Amended 1990), -31 to -37 (Enacted 1990).

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