- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 21, 2016

Legislation that would restrict men from accessing drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction was advanced in the South Carolina House on Wednesday amid an effort by its author to raise awareness about gender equity.

The chamber’s Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee passed H. 4544 on Wednesday, paving the way for the full House to soon weigh in on an offering that calls for instituting a 24-hour waiting period before men could pick up erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra from pharmacies within the state. Only three members of the 18-member subcommittee were in attendance on Wednesday, an all three voted in favor of the proposal. 

Rep. Mia McLeod, a Democrat who proposed the bill, told The State newspaper this week that her offering isn’t actually intended to make it harder for men to acquire prescriptions, but is rather a tongue-in-cheek response to the male-dominated, Republican-controlled legislature’s recent attempt to ban abortions after 20 weeks past conception.

“This bill really isn’t about erectile dysfunction, but it is about gender equity,” she said ahead of Wednesday’s hearing. “Government has no place making decisions for women or men when it comes to abortion or erectile dysfunction.”

“If we are genuinely concerned about women’s sexual and reproductive health … then we should be equally concerned about the sexual and reproductive health of men,” she said during the hearing, The State reported. “The requirements (in the bill) were intentionally ridiculous because I think that is what the requirements are like for women in this state.”

When Ms. McLeod introduced the bill in December, she told WCBD-TV that she attempted to make it “as invasive, as intrusive, as hypocritical and unnecessary as possible” in order to make her point. And while she believes her offering doesn’t stand a chance of ever ending up on the governor’s desk, she told reporters this week that she’s already accomplished her goal by bringing the matter to the attention of the media and her fellow members of the state House and Senate.

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“Just looking forward to continuing that conversation, it’s already done what I wanted it to and that is to broaden the discussion, expose the hypocrisy and ultimately if I had my way to get government out of these very important and very private decisions,” she told WLTX TV this week.

In addition to institute a 24-hour waiting period for erectile dysfunction drugs, Ms. McLeod’s proposal also calls for requiring all men to produce a sworn affidavit from a sexual partner detailing an incident of erectile dysfunction in the previous 90 days, as well as a written statement from a doctor explaining why a prescription would be necessary.

“You know a lot of times people laugh about that but it’s not funny for women who are forced to do the same when it comes to abortion,” she told WLTX.


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