COLUMBIA, SC (AP) — Supporters of a bill allowing women to obtain birth control pills from South Carolina pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription are trying to pass it before the end of this year’s session.
A House subcommittee approved the bill on Wednesday, sending it to the full House Medical Committee. The bill has already passed the Senate, but there are only nine regular legislative days left in the 2022 session of the General Assembly.
Pharmacists could choose whether or not to participate in the program, which allows them to give birth control pills or other hormonal contraceptives to women over 18 without a doctor’s visit, The Post and Courier reported.
Even in areas without doctors, there are pharmacies nearby, state Rep. Russell Ott told the newspaper.
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“If we’re serious about reducing abortions, if we’re going to reduce unwanted or unplanned pregnancies, we have to be realistic,” said Ott, a Democrat from St. Matthews.
The bill passed unanimously in the Senate last year. Republican Senator Tom Davis of Beaufort introduced it after the General Assembly passed a bill dramatically restricting abortions, saying it was another logical step to stopping unwanted pregnancies.
The only Republican member of the House subcommittee voted against the bill.
GOP Rep. Joe Bustos of Mount Pleasant said a doctor should be involved “every time you put chemicals in your body.”
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