By Ivan Kipp

During the Hyde Senate hearings on Saturday, 26th at the 2019 Youth and Government State Conference, a bill was presented that seeks to permit the sale of birth control for women at all pharmacies. Delegate Jacqueline Rogers wrote and presented the bill.

Delegate Rogers, as well as those who supported the bill, stressed the importance that while children can be seen as right or wrong if they engage sexual activity, the “most important thing is safety”. Delegate Rogers continued to say during her speech that birth control “should be available for all women”,  and that the denial of it “is an invasion of women’s..lives. Women should be able to explore [their] sexuality”.

The over-the-counter birth control is also available for young women over the age of 15, with a few specific rules for the younger women who aren’t legal adults yet. In the provisions of Section II, it is stated that they are required to provide a valid birth document or another form of valid identification, such as a license. This is also an effort to reduce the amount of unprotected sex, diminished the rate of kids in the foster care system, and grievous abortions, as stated in Section II. Delegate Rogers also said that “15 out of 100 people who use condoms will get pregnant each year,” so birth control should be more available than it currently is.

While three amendments were presented to alter the bill, only one amendment was adopted which was a change of wording for clarity, so no great changes were made to the bill.

The period set aside for the speeches for and against the bill was quite extensive but held some tension. There were a large number of slips placed in opposition and support of the bill, and the chair continued to not recognize the motion proposed to limit the number of speeches that were being made, which pushed the vote to after lunch. A fellow delegate stated again during their allotted time that truly “the most important thing is safety” for those who were having intercourse. A fellow delegate assisting the opposition responded that actually, the intercourse being had “makes them more predisposed to getting STD’s,”.

In the end, the bill for over the counter birth control failed to pass in the Hyde Senate during the second hearing period despite a very well received support for the access of birth control at pharmacies for adults and younger women.