Democrats are still fuming from last week's Hobby Lobby v. Burwell decision, which said that business owners with religious objections could exercise their right to not cover some kinds of contraception in employee health insurance packages. Now they have decided this week to make access to contraception a top priority for the rest of the year, which puts the GOP in a pickle due to their past missteps on this issue.
But there is a solution to this potential obstacle: push to make birth control available over the counter. Unlike the Burwell decision and abortion, almost no one in America is morally opposed to the use of birth control in general. This includes almost 90% of Republicans. In addition, the morning after pill is already available over the counter so why not birth control?
Over the counter birth control should be a win-win for both political parties as well. There are solid conservative decisions to making birth control available over the counter. It would mean less government regulation and provide people with more choices with their health. There would also be no effect on businesses or religious institutions, nor would it require a brand new government program. Democrats should also like it because it will lower the drop-out rate, which is largely driven by the requirement to re-up the prescription as much as every few months and allow uninsured women to gain access.
This move would also show Republicans can demonstrate smart politics and prove capable of proposing commonsense solutions. It would also make it far more difficult for Democrats to claim the GOP is waging a war on women and only interested in obstructing Democrats. If Democrats oppose the move, they will have to explain why they want to force women to go through their doctors to obtain birth control. Who would be waging a war on women then?
Unfortunately, no bill related to birth control has been proposed in the House of Representatives which means Republicans once again appear to be taking a reactive approach to contraception politics. As the old saying goes, you cannot beat something with nothing.