Amendment to South Carolina Abortion Bill Requires Doctors to Give Patients' Names to Authorities

Amendment to South Carolina Abortion Bill Requires Doctors to Give Patients' Names to Authorities
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, center, speaks at a news conference to celebrate the likelihood of a bill banning almost all abortions passing and getting to his desk after a news conference on Wednesday. Image:Jeffrey Collins (AP)

A bill poised to ban most abortions in South Carolina now has an incredibly disturbing amendment, requiring that doctors performing the procedure on a patient as the result of rape or incest hand over the patient’s contact information to the sheriff within 24 hours.

As it stands currently, doctors have the option of referring victims to law enforcement, but not without the patient’s consent, the Charleston Post and Courier reports. But the legislation passed the state’s Senate on Wednesday, paving the way for a near total ban on abortions after six weeks, before many women know they’re pregnant.

While South Carolina’s governor and several Senate lawmakers were busy thanking God over the bill’s swift passage, Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano registered her vehement disappointment, tweeting that “This is absolute insanity to re-victimize the victim. Sheriffs should not be policing a woman’s body, religious beliefs or personal health decisions.”

Graziano became the state’s first female and openly gay sheriff when she assumed the role earlier this month. In a follow-up tweet, she also added, “I may be a new sheriff, but I’m not new at being a woman.”

The S.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault also denounced the legislation, saying it would trounce victims’ rights “ “by removing doctor-patient confidentiality and replacing it with fear and intimidation.”

The bill’s next stop is the House, which has previously passed similar bills. After that, it heads to the desk of Governor Henry McMaster, who has said he will sign it immediately.

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