COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — If women have to wait 24 hours in South Carolina to get an abortion, men should have to do the same before they can get Viagra or other drugs to help them have sex, according to a tongue-in-cheek proposal discussed Wednesday.
Lawmakers cracked jokes about the bill — which also requires a sworn statement from a partner detailing their man's problems — but sponsor Rep. Mia McLeod said it isn't a laughing matter. The Democrat said South Carolina's male- and Republican-dominated Legislature places restrictions on abortion they don't place on any other medical matter.
"Government has no place making a decision for people when it comes to abortion — or erectile dysfunction," she said.
McLeod's bill would require a 24-hour waiting period before an erectile dysfunction medicine could be picked up from the pharmacy and require patients to get counseling on celibacy as a valid life choice, which mirror requirements of South Carolina's abortion law.
They would have to get a sworn, notarized statement from their sexual partner saying they needed the medicine, which could bring up medical privacy issues. McLeod said she would alter the bill to assign patients numbers like state health officials do with women who get abortions.
Republicans didn't think the bill was a laughing matter either.
Rep. Wendy Nanney said abortion is the killing of a human life and this bill doesn't acknowledge the two are very different things.
"I think people are very callous and act like it is just a medical procedure and it is much more than that — you are taking a human life," Nanney said.
A House subcommittee of all Democrats passed the bill. No one outside of lawmakers testified for or against the bill and it likely will not pass.
McLeod said she decided to write the bill after Republicans insisted on a legislative investigation of Planned Parenthood that discovered few problems.
"It's already done exactly what I wanted it to do — broaden the discussion and expose the hypocrisy," McLeod said.