DHEC pursuing higher inspection fees for abortion clinics

Rev. Molly Housh Gordon of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Columbia, Mo., left, address about 250 people Monday Nov. 30, 2015 in front of Jesse Hall on the campus of the University of Missouri Columbia following a demonstration at the Speaker's Circle. The group called for the University of Missouri to reinstate contracts with Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.(Don Shrubshell/The Columbia Daily Tribune via AP)

COLUMBIA — Abortion clinics in South Carolina could pay hundreds more annually for state inspections.

Shelly Kelly with the Department of Health and Environmental Control said Tuesday the agency will seek authority to increase its inspection fees of the three clinics that provide abortions. Kelly told a House Oversight panel an increase will put the fees closer to covering the agency’s actual costs.

She says fees for routine inspections currently fall short by more than $1,400 per clinic. Costs include mileage, meals and lodging for the two inspectors when they travel to clinics in Charleston and Greenville.

The agency will pursue higher fees through regulatory changes that will go to the Legislature for review.

Kelly’s presentation came as part of the panel’s investigation into state agencies’ interactions with the three clinics.