A South Carolina House panel has advanced a bill that would create a waiting period for men trying to obtain erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs like Viagra or Cialis. Users would have to wait 24 hours and get a sworn affidavit from their partners detailing their problems.
The House medical subcommittee unanimously advanced the measure on Wednesday. The panel is unusual in the Republican-controlled Statehouse in that all three of its members are from the minority Democratic Party. The legislation next heads to the full House Committee on Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs.
Lead sponsor State Rep. Mia McLeod, D-Columbia, said she does not actually want the law to go into effect. Instead, she said the bill is meant as a statement on the hurdles women must go through to get an abortion or contraception. “This bill isn’t really about erectile dysfunction, but it is about gender equity,” she said. “It is about my belief that government has no place making the decisions for women or men when it comes to abortion or erectile dysfunction.”
The measure moved on to the full medical committee on Wednesday. However, it is extremely unlikely to pass on the House floor where Republicans wield greater control.
H. 4544 would require men seeking ED drugs to get a notarized affidavit from their spouse or partner confirming any impotence issues in the past 90 days. They would also need a sexual therapist to certify the symptoms are not psychological. Physicians would also be required to submit a written statement attesting the prescription is necessary.
McLeod said she based the bill’s restrictions on current state abortion laws that require at least 24 hours between counseling and the abortion procedure. Minors under age 18 must also get consent from their parent or guardian.
“The requirements (in the bill) were intentionally ridiculous, because I think that’s what the requirements are like for women in this state who are seeking to exercise their reproductive rights,” she said before Wednesday’s vote.
Viagra is usually not readily prescribed, but requires prior authorization from a physician in most cases. Most insurance companies do not cover it except when needed for health reasons (such as the individual suffering from ED or impotence due to diabetes or prostrate cancer). The patient also cannot have a bleeding disorder or suffer heart issues.
Members of the subcommittee did create an exemption for men who have undergone treatment for prostate cancer.