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Panel meets to hash out abortion differences- S.C. Politics

A House-Senate conference committee Tuesday took up debate, but made not final decisions, of conflicting abortion legislation that would create a 24-hour waiting period between the time a woman receives an ultrasound and the time she undergoes an abortion.

Both versions of the House and Senate-passed bills increase the existing required wait from one hour, but potentially significant differences for lawmakers supporting either version of the new revisions to the law remain.

“It says if you’re going to have one, you must wait 24 hours — the question is, where are you going to have it?” said Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg, a member of the six-member panel.

Lawmakers debated whether a woman should be allowed to receive legally-required abortion counseling elsewhere than the clinic she might ultimately use for a procedure, such as at her own doctor’s office, among other issues.

The difference could be whether one trip to one of the state’s three abortion clinics in Greenville, Columbia, or Charleston is necessary for the female patient, or more.

Reasonable access to abortion, one of the country’s most volatile political issues, always is at the forefront of ongoing efforts to alter existing federal abortion laws.The conference committee made little headway Tuesday, staking out their concerns with the two versions, and seeking common ground they could agree to on their smaller differences, before attempting to compromise on the thornier disagreements within the legislation.

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