COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) — Weeks after the General Assembly passed a near total abortion ban, some South Carolina lawmakers want to make it easier for women to get birth control.
The Pharmacy Access Act would allow pharmacists to dispense contraceptives in South Carolina without a prescription. Right now, pharmacists can only give birth control if there is a patient-specific written order from a doctor.
Supporters said this would make birth control more accessible and affordable by eliminating the need for a separate visit to a health care provider to obtain a prescription.
Sponsor Sen. Tom Davis (R-District 46) said the bill would direct the Board of Medical Examiners and Board of Pharmacy to come up with medical protocols for pharmacists to follow.
Sen. Richard Cash (R-District 3) told other members of the committee he wasn’t sold the bill was good for women.
“This bill is somewhat of a trade-off, in terms of providing additional access for birth control, at the expense of women having a face-to-face consultation with their OB-GYN,” he said.
The South Carolina Women’s Rights Empowerment Network (WREN) said this bill would help women living in rural areas of South Carolina. CEO Ann Warner said there are a handful of counties in South Carolina without OB-GYNs.
She also said the bill would help cut down on unintended pregnancies across the state.
“You’re reducing a barrier that is not necessary,” she said.
The Senate Medical Affairs Committee voted to send the Pharmacy Access Act (S.628) to the full Senate Thursday morning.