pre-Roe abortion statutes were based on § 230.3 of the
Model Penal Code. Sections
16-82 and 16-83 prohibited performance of an abortion on
a pregnant woman unless the procedure was “necessary to preserve
her life or the life of [her] child,” and § 16-84
made a woman’s participation in her own abortion a criminal
16-87 excepted from these sections abortions performed on pregnant
women by licensed physicians in licensed hospitals when (1)
there was “substantial risk that continuance of the pregnancy
would threaten the life or gravely impair the mental or physical
health of the woman,” (2) there was “substantial risk that
the child would be born with grave physical or mental defect,” or
(3) the pregnancy resulted from promptly reported rape or incest. This
statute did not place any express limits on the stage of pregnancy
at which an authorized abortion could be performed. Pursuant
to Roe, the abortion statutes were declared unconstitutional
by the South Carolina Supreme Court in State v. Lawrence, and
were repealed in 1974. The
pre-Roe statutes would not be revived by a decision
overruling Roe v. Wade. Abortions could be performed
for any reason before viability, and for virtually any reason
S.C. Code Ann. § 16-82 et seq.
(Law. Co-op. Supp. 1971).
Id. § 16-84. No
prosecutions were reported under this statute.
Id. § 16-87. The
law imposed other conditions. Abortions could be performed
only in a licensed hospital, after three physicians had
examined the woman and certified in writing to the existence
of the circumstances justifying the abortion under the
law. Id. § 16-87(1). Except in emergency cases,
the woman had to be a resident of the State for ninety
days immediately preceding the operation. Id. If
the woman seeking the abortion was a minor or an incompetent,
the written consent of her parents or guardian was required
and, if she was married, the written consent of her husband
or guardian. Id. As the experience in California
demonstrated, mental health exceptions were widely abused. See
People v. Barksdale, 503 P.2d 257, 265 (Cal. 1972)
(noting that more than 60,000 abortions were reported in
1970, more than 98% of which were performed for alleged
reasons of mental health).
253 (S.C. 1973).
Acts 2837, 2841, Act No. 1215, § 8.
Carolina’s post-viability statute, see S.C. Code Ann. § 44-41-20(c) (Law. Co-op. 2002), would not
effectively prohibit post-viability abortions because it
allows abortions for mental, as well as physical, health
reasons. As the experience in California demonstrated,
mental health exceptions were widely abused. See People
v. Barksdale, 503 P.2d 257, 265 (Cal. 1972) (noting
that more than 60,000 abortions were reported in 1970,
more than 98% of which were performed for alleged reasons
of mental health).