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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Today the South Carolina Senate Medical Affairs Subcommittee passed Senate Bill 988, a bill that will immediately criminalize abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns or otherwise dismantles Roe v. Wade. Under this so-called “trigger ban,” anyone who violates this law — whether it’s the doctor who provides an abortion or the person trying to end their pregnancy — could be charged with murder and face the death penalty.

“This business of politicians dictating medicine and mandating what doctors tell their patients is unacceptable, full stop,” said Vicki Ringer, Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. “South Carolina lawmakers need to stay out of the personal decisions of patients, their families, and their providers, especially when the overwhelming majority of South Carolina residents support the legal right to obtain an abortion.” 

The subcommittee also advanced Senate Bill 907, a medication abortion misinformation bill that would require providers to give patients information that is medically inaccurate, against best practices, and could put their lives at risk. There is no scientific or medical evidence that proves that “stopping” a medication abortion is possible. A study launched in early 2019 to test this theory had to be halted early due to patient safety concerns, including a high risk of severe hemorrhaging.

“Politicians should not interfere in medical best practices, the informed consent process, or a person’s decision about their body,” said Dr. Katherine Farris, Chief Medical Officer for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. “Senate Bill 907 would interfere in the doctor-patient relationship and undermine the informed consent process by forcing doctors to tell their patients misinformation that is medically inaccurate and could be harmful to their health. Medical professionals must be able to provide the highest quality health care based on their years of training and in keeping with current research and medical best practices — not based on the whims of politicians.”

Medication abortion is a non-invasive, FDA-approved method to end an early pregnancy. With nearly 20 years of use in the U.S., by almost 4 million women, there is well-documented evidence that medication abortion is both safe and effective when taken as prescribed. 

If the Supreme Court overturns or weakens the federal rights established under Roe v. Wade, the legality of abortion will be up to each state. Twenty-six states are expected to swiftly ban or severely restrict access to abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned, including South Carolina.