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TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING CHAPTER 118 TO TITLE 44 TO ENACT "THE BIRTH CONTROL PROTECTION ACT" SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT CONSENTING INDIVIDUALS HAVE THE RIGHT TO USE SAFE AND EFFECTIVE METHODS OF CONTRACEPTIVE WITHOUT GOVERNMENTAL INTERFERENCE AND TO PROVIDE THAT NO GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY OR PERSON ACTING ON BEHALF OF A GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY MAY DEPRIVE CONSENTING INDIVIDUALS OF THE RIGHT TO OBTAIN AND USE SAFE AND EFFECTIVE CONTRACEPTIVES OR INTERFERE WITH OR DISCRIMINATE AGAINST, IN THE REGULATION OR PROVISION OF BENEFITS, FACILITIES, SERVICES, OR INFORMATION, THE RIGHT OF CONSENTING INDIVIDUALS TO OBTAIN AND USE SAFE AND EFFECTIVE CONTRACEPTIVES.
Whereas, ninety-eight percent of American women use some form of contraceptive during their lives and contraception is accepted as essential to individuals' health care; and
Whereas, the only guarantee against pregnancy is abstinence from sexual intercourse; however, it is proven that contraceptives reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancy; and
Whereas, citizens of this State have a right to protection against unreasonable government intrusions in their private lives; and
Whereas, freedom from unreasonable government intrusions into private lives of citizens encompasses and protects the right of consenting individuals to obtain and use safe and effective contraceptives without interference by governmental entities; and
Whereas, it is the intent of this act to protect the essential health care of individuals and to prevent unwanted pregnancies by guaranteeing access to all contraceptives. Now, therefore,
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Title 44 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
Section 44-118-10. This chapter may be cited as "The Birth Control Protection Act".
Section 44-118-20. As used in this chapter:
(1) 'Conception' means the onset of pregnancy marked by implantation of a fertilized ovum in the uterine wall.
(2) 'Contraception' means the prevention of conception.
(3) 'Contraceptive' means any United States Food and Drug Administration-approved product, process, device, or method that prevents conception.
Section 44-118-30. (A) It is the public policy of this State that consenting individuals have the right to obtain and use safe and effective contraceptives without interference by governmental entities, that this right must be safeguarded, and that the laws of this State must be interpreted and construed to recognize and protect this right.
(B) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no governmental entity, and no person acting on behalf of a governmental entity, whether state, county, municipal, or otherwise, may:
(1) act in any fashion so as to deprive consenting individuals of the right to obtain and use safe and effective contraceptives; or
(2) interfere with or discriminate against, in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information, the right of consenting individuals to obtain and use safe and effective contraceptives.
(C) Nothing in this section may be interpreted to prevent implementation of laws, rules, ordinances, taxes, or regulations affecting the method and manner of sale or distribution of contraceptives, if such laws, rules, ordinances, taxes, or regulations are reasonably designed to promote public health and safety and do not have the effect of unreasonably hindering public access to contraceptives."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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