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Republican candidates come out in favor of over-the-counter birth control

Sandra Fluke
Sandra Fluke
Photo by Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images

Republican candidates for the Senate have hit upon a response to the Democratic “war on women” meme that seems to be catching on, according to a Tuesday story in the Washington Post. Three candidates, Cory Gardner in Colorado, Ed Gillespie in Virginia, and Mike McFadden Minnesota have come out in favor of making oral contraceptives for women available over-the-counter. Hot Air adds that Thom Tillis, running in North Carolina, has also come out in favor of this proposal.

The idea is supported by the American Medical Association, so it has solid scientific backing. The proposal would increase the access to contraceptives for women without having to see a doctor. It would lower the price of the birth control pills as well as competition sets in. It would seem to be a winner on price and convenience.

The idea also has a lot of political merit. Ever since Sandra Fluke became famous for demanding free birth control, Democrats have been painting Republicans as being against women for opposing this idea. The Hobby Lobby case, which involved a law suit against Obamacare mandates that all employers pay for birth control, even those that might be considered abortifacients, has only served to harden battle lines. The courts have ruled that some businesses should not be forced to violate their religious objections to such drugs.

Planned Parenthood is, ironically, outraged, according to the Huffington Post. It regards the proposal as “cynical” and designed to mask the Republicans true evil intent to deny women access to birth control pills and devices. It cites as evidence of this the GOP’s continued opposition to provisions of Obamacare that provide for insurance coverage of contraceptives. Most insurance does not cover over-the-counter medication, so women would have to pay for them in any case.

Nevertheless Republicans now have an effective counter to the notion that they are somehow against women’s access to birth control. It is one that is supported by science. It does not involve messy fights between a woman’s right to control her body and an employer’s right not to provide a service that would violate his or her religious faith.