Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Jindal surprised the political world this morning when, in his Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, he called for oral contraceptives to be offered over the counter without a prescription.
In his opinion piece, Jindal wrote:
“Democrats have wrongly accused Republicans of being against birth control and against allowing people to use it. That’s hogwash.”
This brings to mind a quote from the runner-up in this past year’s Republican primaries. Remember when Rick Santorum said this:
“One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country.”
That doesn’t sound very pro-birth control to me.
And then of course you have the GOP push for abstinence-only sex education in schools. And then Rush Limbaugh’s attack on Sandra Fluke for daring to suggest that contraception ought to be covered in student insurance programs.
Bobby went on to say in his op-ed:
“Republicans do want to protect those who have religious beliefs that are opposed to contraception.”
Bobby is perhaps forgetting that before someone came up with the brilliant idea to attack the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) based on how insurance packages that included contraceptive coverage somehow infringed on the religious freedoms of the employer, the GOP fight against contraception had nothing to do with religion, but rather funding (even though the Guttmacher Institute outlined in 2009 how the government saves four times as much as it spends on family planning – see News Release here).
Lest we forget, Santorum backer, Foster Friess told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell:
“Back in my day, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.”
And, if I recall the exact text of Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blunt’s amendment to the ACA (aka the Blunt Amendment), which was strongly supported by almost every GOP member of Congress, employers would be allowed to deprive their female employees of contraception coverage not only for religion beliefs, but for “moral convictions.” In other words, the GOP felt it perfectly acceptable for employers to deny a female employee contraceptive coverage if they believed it was morally unacceptable for that employee to engage in coitus without the fear of becoming pregnant.
Again, doesn’t sound all that pro-birth control to me.
Still, offering his support of over-the-counter contraceptives which, as Jindal points out, is supported by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, is a strong move for the GOP, and one I believe will be widely welcomed by women.
Somehow, I doubt it’ll get much support from the bulk of the GOP.