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South Dakota Senate Rejects Birth Control Access Bill

The South Dakota Senate rejected a bill last week that would have required pharmacies to dispense contraceptives, even if the pharmacist had a religious objection. The legislature’s 12-22 vote will allow pharmacists in South Dakota to continue to turn away women seeking birth control.

Kate Looby, the director of South Dakota’s Planned Parenthood, said in a press release, ‘This is a missed opportunity to take a positive, concrete step toward reducing unintended pregnancy and the need for abortion in South Dakota. Unfortunately, the legislature is more comfortable with criminalizing abortion and passing meaningless sonogram bills than with passing proactive legislation that would prevent the need for abortion.’

Opponents of the bill claim that even if pharmacists were not required to fill their patients’ prescriptions for birth control, they do not foresee any problems with South Dakota residents getting contraceptives, according to the Associated Press. However, State Senator Ed Olsen, a Republican who introduced the bill, said that even if there were currently no problems for women to access contraceptives, a bill was necessary to prevent such problems from occurring in the future.

Sources:

State of South Dakota Senate Bill No. 164 2008; Associated Press 02/06/08 and 02/05/08; Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota Press Release 02/06/08; Feministing.com 02/12/08