COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Supporters of a bill to allow women to get birth control pills at South Carolina pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription are trying to get it passed before the current session ends.
A House subcommittee on Wednesday approved the bill, sending it to the chamber’s full medical committee. The bill has already passed the Senate, but there are just nine regular legislative days left in the General Assembly’s 2022 session.
Pharmacists could choose whether to participate in the program, which would allow them to give birth control pills or other hormonal contraceptives to women older than 18 without a doctor’s visit, The Post and Courier reported.
Even in areas without doctors, there are pharmacies close by, state Rep. Russell Ott told the newspaper.
“If we want to get serious about cutting down on abortions, if we’re going to decrease the number of unwanted or unplanned pregnancies, we need to get real,” said Ott, a Democrat from St. Matthews.
The bill unanimously passed the Senate last year. Republican Sen. Tom Davis of Beaufort introduced it after the General Assembly passed a bill greatly 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 “anytime you’re putting chemicals into your body.”