WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court said Monday it will not hear South Carolina abortion providers' complaint that they are subject to unconstitutional and medically pointless regulations.
The court, without comment, turned aside the claim by doctors that additional medical and safety rules imposed by the state are really just an attempt to undermine abortion rights.
The conservative-led court has a narrow majority in favor of the basic right to an abortion, but in recent years it has allowed some restrictions on access to the procedure.
Four South Carolina abortion doctors claimed the disputed rules "represent a concerted attempt to chip away at the right to abortion" and violate the Constitution's guarantee that everyone will be treated equally under the law.
The rules governing everything from bookkeeping to air flow in clinic offices treat early-term abortion differently from other similarly low-risk medical procedures, the doctors claimed. To comply, doctors would have to make expensive changes to their offices and procedures that would raise the cost of abortion significantly, the doctors said.
South Carolina authorities responded that the regulations are very similar to national standards for abortion practices, and that one of the clinics fighting the rules has already complied with most of them.
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