Last Tuesday a South Carolina
House panel approved a law that would require women to submit to an
ultrasound and wait 24 hours before receiving an abortion.
What’s next? A state-mandated
cup of tea with my mother before I can buy condoms?
Thankfully the law – which would apply in all cases, including to victims of rape – still needs
to be brought before the full House and the Senate before it is ratified.
Its stated purpose is to give women 24 hours to consider the decision,
but all it’s doing in reality is putting another step between a woman
and her constitutional rights. How long do they think women spend considering
their options? An afternoon? Having an abortion is something that no
one takes lightly, and the fact that a women schedules one
appointment means that she’s put thought into it.
Rep. Greg Dellency, the Republican
sponsoring the bill, apparently thinks women are willing to undergo
the procedure as they would a routine checkup. Once again, lawmakers
are infantilizing women and telling them they are not responsible or
intelligent enough to make decisions about their bodies.
"We owe it to the women
of this state to give them a 24-hour respite to think about this decision,"
Dellency told the committee. "The woman deserves it, and the unborn
child deserves it."
Dellency certainly owes the
women of South Carolina something – an apology. And I won’t even get
into the fact that he’s equating the rights of a full-grown adult
female with the rights of a small bundle of unborn cells, because it’s
clear from this statement that Mr. Dellency thinks the woman deserves
even more. She deserves to take two days off work, and find her way
to one of the states three facilities, no matter how far from her home
that may be. In an urban area the two-trip rule might be, at least,
plausible. However, in the largely rural state, telling women to make
multiple trips to the clinic is unfair, and a clear abuse of the legislature’s
In 2009, it’s shameful that
legislators think they can regulate healthcare with a moral hand. Like
my mother used to say – when men can have babies, then they can
start telling me what to do with mine.