Surprising Republican gambit on birth control


The Republican war on women overlapped with their war on Obamacare when they strenuously opposed the contraception mandate in the law that required health insurance policies to cover contraception. That was at the heart of the Hobby Lobby case, where that company successfully argued that the health insurance policies they offered their employees should not be required to cover birth control because of the owners’ religious objections to it..

But it turns out that some Republican candidates for office are now advocating that women’s birth control pills, currently only available with a prescription, should be available over the counter, like aspirin. What lies behind the seeming change of heart, the desire to make contraception freely available?

NPR reports that these candidates see the move as achieving two things. One is that on the surface it seems to undercut the Democratic party’s message that Republicans are anti-women’s health. On the other hand it helps the insurance companies since they usually do not pay for over the counter medications so now the cost, estimated to be about $600 annually, would be passed on to the user. Of course, Viagra and other drugs that treat male impotence are still by prescription only and thus covered by insurance with no fuss as all.

But not all Republicans are on board with this new strategy. For them, anything that enables women to have independent sexual lives has to be opposed, even if it goes against their other desire to increase the profits of health insurers and businesses.

Comments

  1. says

    I strongly suspect it comes from a place where the conservatives don’t understand how the Pill(s) work. I’m reasonably sure that they think it is dispensed and used like condoms or viagra, take them when you’re going to have sex kind of thing. So hey, wanna have sex without barriers, just go buy a couple of pills, and you’re ready to get slutty with some inherently lovely and in no way sinful gentleman.

    Since it doesn’t, in fact, work like that, the bill is counterproductive (in more than the obvious way).

  2. Thorne says

    I wonder about the different ways meds are regulated. Does the law require pharmacies to either stock or obtain meds which are prescribed? I’m sure the law does NOT require retailers to stock or obtain OTC meds. If a store owner has a religious prohibition against selling candy, or Pepsi products’ or OTC birth control meds, there’s no law I know of that can force them to sell them.

    Also, having the OTC would allow the local “Morality Police” to buy a store’s entire stock, just to prevent women from having access.

    FSM help me! I think I’m getting cynical!

  3. smrnda says

    I think any legislator proposing any laws governing birth control should be required to take a test to see if they understand how they work.

    I’m not sure, do they have the power to mandate a drug be sold OTC instead of through a pharmacy? I”d like to imagine that someone with real knowledge and qualifications made that call.

  4. raven says

    Also, having the OTC would allow the local “Morality Police” to buy a store’s entire stock, just to prevent women from having access.

    Let them. No big deal.

    You could then buy them off the internet from Amazon. com and similar companies.

    Amazon.com: Plan B One-step Emergency Contraceptive 1 …
    www. amazon.com › … › Female Contraceptives

    Plan B One-step Emergency Contraceptive 1 Tablet, +,

    You can get Plan B from Amazon. com for ca. $20.

  5. badgersdaughter says

    Sure, Raven, so long as you have a credit card, a bank account with a debit card, or a high-fee cash card that you can use to buy things online, and so long as you can wait the week or so for Amazon’s Super Saver shipping, that doesn’t kick in until far above the cost of one course of Plan B, or you can pay extra for faster shipping, assuming the UPS dude doesn’t throw your package into the bushes, the FedEx guy doesn’t leave your package at a different address or a nosey neighbor’s, or DHL doesn’t just up and forget your package ever existed.

    Wake me up when a poor woman who’s just been coerced into having sex can get access to a computer and pay for her Plan B with money she scraped up out of the car floorboards and borrowed from her friends.

  6. raven says

    Sure, Raven, so long as you have a credit card, a bank account with a debit card, or a high-fee cash card that you can use to buy things online, and so long as you can wait the week or so for Amazon’s Super Saver shipping, that doesn’t kick in until far above the cost of one course of Plan B, or you can pay extra for faster shipping, assuming the UPS dude doesn’t throw your package into the bushes, the FedEx guy doesn’t leave your package at a different address or a nosey neighbor’s, or DHL doesn’t just up and forget your package ever existed.

    Oh yes.

    The proverbial woman who lives in Boonsdockville, Dumbfuckistan, USA with one pharmacist who is a birther cultist in an area that is almost all wild eyed religious kooks. She has no money, no car, and no friends to get things for her.

    And just how many women fall into that particular crack? The USA is the most urbanized country on the planet and 82% of us live in metro areas. FWIW, I lived long ago in bear and cougar country, quite literally. Someone killed a sheep killing cougar near my old house a week ago. We had to drive a whole 20 miles to the nearest Safeway and Big Box Retailer.

    Badger, you can make up any implausible scenario you want. There are always going to be people who fall through the cracks no matter what we do.

    What would you do? Arrest the fundies for buying up all the birth control pills at Piggly Wiggly? If you have a better idea, let’s hear it.

    The point you are missing here is that because we can’t do everything for everybody, we should do nothing.

  7. raven says

    US census. gov:

    The urban areas of the United States for the 2010 Census contain 249,253,271 people, representing 80.7% of the population, and rural areas contain 59,492,276 people, or 19.3% of the population.

    The USA is 81% urban. Many of the rural dwellers aren’t that far from a metro area or a medium size town or city.

    The number of women stuck in dead end lives in the middle of nowhere is probably small, maybe 5%. Rural isn’t synonymous with poor and stupid and Tea Party. They are a mix like everywhere.

    As to what they do if the US post office throws their birth control pills or Plan B from Amazon in the bushes, got me. I’d complain.

    If you live in a dead end nowheresville with a horrible life, you might think about moving. That is exactly what I did over 4 decades ago.

  8. says

    raven, you don’t really know what you’re talking about here.

    1) Plan B =/= contraception. It’s a part of contraception. A small part. But there are lots of reasons for people to take birth control orally, or by other means, and there are lots of ways to do it. Men seem to love driving analogies when we talk about women’s issues, so here’s one: Plan B is the airbag. Contraception generally is the brakes. Would you be cool knowing you had an airbag, when your car comes without brakes?

    2) The classism of your casual dismissal of the barriers women face by just saying “well, order it off Amazon!” is breathtaking.

    3) There are many conditions treated by the various formulations of chemical contraceptives, most of which are unaddressed by Plan B.

    You said a silly, off-the-cuff thing, and you were wrong, because you didn’t know what you were talking about. Now, what’s the first rule of holes? Ask Sam Harris, or Richard Dawkins, or Todd Akin, or…(of course, they all got it wrong)

  9. raven says

    raven, you don’t really know what you’re talking about here.

    You are wrong. You can’t read.

    I used Plan B as an example, because it is already over the counter. It is a method of birth control. I knew the difference between Plan B and birth control pills nearly 50 years ago. In fact, women do order it from Amazon. com and that is how I even know it is available from there.

    The classism of your casual dismissal of the barriers women face by just saying “well, order it off Amazon!” is breathtaking.

    No. The large majority of the US population has internet access. It is 98%.

    Only 2 percent of Americans can’t get internet access, but 20 …
    www. theverge. com/…/pew-study-finds-30-percent-americans-have-no-h…
    Aug 26, 2013 – While programs like the Connect America Fund have made access to broadband nearly universal in the US, less than three-quarters of

    3) There are many conditions treated by the various formulations of chemical contraceptives, most of which are unaddressed by Plan B.

    Common knowledge. And irrelevant to the discussion. I’m not arguing against birth control at all. In fact, I donate to Planned Parenthood.

    You said a silly, off-the-cuff thing, and you were wrong, because you didn’t know what you were talking about. Now, what’s the first rule of holes?

    You are totally wrong. Your assumptions about who I am and what I know are completely wrong. Your mind reading act is a failure. You just made wildly wrong assumptions and rambled off topic and threw in some insults.

  10. raven says

    Well, the gut rippers from Pharyngula are here. There is a subset from there that just like to rip people’s guts out for fun. Which is why I don’t spend much time there any more. Not my thing.

    Badger just set up a strawperson and then ranted and raved.

    Caitie ramblied off topic, made some wildly wrong assumptions, and threw in some insults.

    Raven: If you have a better idea, let’s hear it.

    I solve problems for a living. In RL it is Dr. Raven.

    If you have any better solutions, let’s hear it. If you are going to do the Pharyngula Thunderdome troll thing, go ahead. It’s boring and a waste of my time that I no longer will do.

  11. leni says

    The point you are missing here is that because we can’t do everything for everybody, we should do nothing.

    Wow.

  12. Bweeng says

    Just for fun I Googled “most urbanized country on the planet”. The US isn’t even in the top ten.

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