Jindal makes case for over-the-counter birth control
December 14th, 2012
08:05 AM ET
2 years ago

Jindal makes case for over-the-counter birth control

(CNN) – The political battle earlier this year over health insurance coverage for contraception wouldn't be repeated if women could buy birth control without a prescription, Louisiana's Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal wrote in an op-ed Friday.

Jindal was advocating a recommendation from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who took the stance in November that birth control pills should be sold over-the-counter in drugstores. Currently contraception pills require a prescription from a doctor, many of whom are represented by the ACOG.

Jindal made the case Friday in the Wall Street Journal that such a shift in policy would eliminate the political back-and-forth over contraception policy, which divided many Americans in early last year.

"As a conservative Republican, I believe that we have been stupid to let the Democrats demagogue the contraceptives issue and pretend, during debates about health-care insurance, that Republicans are somehow against birth control. It's a disingenuous political argument they make," Jindal wrote.

The issue originally arose in February, when the White House said it would require hospitals and schools with religious ties to offer full contraception coverage. Many Catholic leaders and other religious groups strongly oppose any requirement for contraception coverage on theological grounds. President Barack Obama later announced a compromise that exempted some religious institutions from offering contraception coverage to their employees.

The episode sparked partisan and ideological rhetoric, including from GOP presidential hopefuls in the middle of a heated primary season. Eventual Republican nominee Mitt Romney encouraged his supporters to sign a petition protesting "the Obama administration's attacks on religious liberty," saying the new rules amounted to an assault on personal rights.

Later, during the general election, Democrats accused Romney of wanting to restrict access to birth control – claims his campaign vehemently said were untrue. The issue was also used to hammer Republicans in down-ballot races.

"Democrats have wrongly accused Republicans of being against birth control and against allowing people to use it. That's hogwash," Jindal wrote in the Wall Street Journal Friday.

He said use of contraception is "a personal matter-the government shouldn't be in the business of banning it or requiring a woman's employer to keep tabs on her use of it."

"If an insurance company or those purchasing insurance want to cover birth control, they should be free to do so. If a consumer wants to buy birth control on her own, she should be free to do so," he wrote.

Jindal, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, is considered a potential candidate for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, and has made a push in recent weeks to assert himself as a leader within the party. He delivered an education policy speech Tuesday at the Brookings Institution in Washington, and while he was a Romney surrogate during the campaign, he was one of the first Republicans to distance himself from Romney after the defeated nominee claimed Obama won the election by offering "gifts" to African-Americans, Hispanics and young Americans.


Filed under: Bobby Jindal
soundoff (184 Responses)
  1. lisaspups

    Leave it to a male politician to speak about something he knows nothing about. With all due respect, Mr. Jindahl, birth control comes in many forms, not just the pill, and which is the most desired depends on the patient.. Are you advocating for women to implant the Norplant themselves or give themselves the depo shot quarterly? This is not an inexpensive proposal for women either because what you are suggesting is that we pay for it out of our own pockets. So do you plan on subsidizing the poor women that cannot afford it or are you advocating more babies being born into poverty, thereby exacerbating an already out of control welfare system? Hey, maybe the reproductive system of women who legitimately do not want to get pregnant will kick in and stop the ovulation process during sex.

    December 14, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  2. lindaluttrell

    What about all the side effects of hormonal birth control, Gov??? More women having less unwanted pregnancies, but possibly suffering blood clots, strokes and heart attacks because they are not being monitored closely by their physicians...

    December 14, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  3. lisaspups

    Another not so well thought idea from the Republican Party.

    December 14, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  4. Willard

    Look,
    if any of you could go to Europe, you would see this kind of medications (birth control pills) sold in any store like 7-11, gas stations, grocery stores, etc.! Are we so much behind the world? OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 14, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  5. The Other Bob

    Sid Prejean

    Democrats have unfaily pointed out Republican statements and actions against birth control and have come to the rash, and again unfair, conclusion that these statements and actions against birth control indicate that Republicans are actually opposed to birth control.
    How unfair.
    __________________________________________________________________________________________
    rs

    Sid Prejean-
    Please examine the commentary of the past 2 years of Mr. Ryan (the GOP's vice-presidential candidate)- look at the bills he has written, look at those to which he has added his support.

    Now, tell me that isn't the position of the GOP.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________
    @rs: I think you missed the sarcasm in Sid's post.

    December 14, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  6. Merry Prankster

    I'm still waiting for the "morning after" pill for men.

    December 14, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  7. Willard

    "Name Benson",
    if you like him so much, please take him home with you. And, it's not "walfare", it's spelled a litle bit different!

    December 14, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  8. Larry in Houston

    """Look, if any of you could go to Europe, you would see this kind of medications (birth control pills) sold in any store like 7-11, gas stations, grocery stores, etc.! Are we so much behind the world? OMG ! """"

    I agree – go to Amsterdam .

    It seems like the U.S. is very smart in our intelligence, have the best military than anyother country in the world & the list goes On, with all the things we have here, we are Ahead of other countries.

    But unfortunately, The republican party wants us to have laws like we had in the 1950's – pathetic, isn't it ?

    December 14, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. pmmarion

    If everyone would practice the "Greek" method of birth control the pill would not be necessary... lol

    December 14, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  10. Harbormick

    There goes Bobbys GOP nomination

    December 14, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  11. Nathan

    "What about all the side effects of hormonal birth control, Gov??? More women having less unwanted pregnancies, but possibly suffering blood clots, strokes and heart attacks because they are not being monitored closely by their physicians..."

    Sorry Linda Luddite, but this policy is the RECOMMENDATION OF DOCTORS. He isn't proposing something new; he's proposing that the government should follow the advice of doctors when making healthcare policy.

    A bold idea, I know.

    December 14, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  12. kelly

    I don't like Bobby Jindal, but for once he's said something I agree with. Let the pill be available OTC. It has no worse potential side effects than Aspirin, and availability would cut off a lot of the arguments between the parties.

    December 14, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  13. Name

    It sounds to me that all the left wants is for someone else to pay for it. Whatever happened to people wanting to take care of themselves.

    December 14, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  14. Vidyashanti

    World's most advanced, highly cultured, educated and richest country is engaged for years on such a topic is a sad story.

    December 14, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  15. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    This is a bad solution for the bad right wing policy when it comes to health insurance and birth control. The right doesn't want insurers to have to pay for women's birth control. I can see where this is going. If you can buy it over the counter, then insurers can fall back on their long term policy of not covering "over the counter" medications, which are almost never prescribed by a doctor.
    ------–
    There have been numerous calls for OTC birth control from plenty of politicians on the left. Where was your feigned outrage then Rudy?

    December 14, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. Piperman

    He says that now, but what's to keep him from changing his mind once he gets the nomination or gets elected?

    December 14, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  17. Crocky

    It's all fine and dandy to have OTC birth control pills, but it also could mean that the monitoring is lacking if there's an issue, especially with blood clots. I suffered a DVT 2 years ago from oral contraception (clot in my left knee), so I ended up getting switched to Depo Provera shots and blood thinners to prevent another clot. Granted, my use of contraceptives is strictly to treat a medical condition (severe endometriosis), but anyone who's taking oral contraceptives is obviously going to be at risk for the same side effects.

    So that ends up bringing up another question: what about implants and injectables? Will they end up being OTC too? What about cost?

    Lots of questions that need to be addressed before going willy-nilly with women's health. I definitely see both sides of the issue.

    December 14, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  18. Karen

    Claritin used to prescription only. Then it went over the counter. The OTC cost for Claritin was MORE than the copay to buy it with insurance. Many people had to change to another brand in order to have their insurance cover it and to keep it to a reasonable price.
    Putting birth control over the counter will increase costs to the consumer, thus pricing many low-medium income women from access.
    Appears to be yet another Republican policy of providing for the haves, and leaving the have-nots in the dust.

    December 14, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  19. Rationalintn

    Great idea. Also, pills for your man parts should be available OTC , no need for insurance to cover that either.

    December 14, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. Xgirl360

    And Men continue to not get it....not every woman takes the pill for contraception and not every woman can take the pill. Making birth control pills OTC does not resolve the fact that this is not just a convenience for women. For some of us, this is a necessity and medication.

    December 14, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  21. pat

    YES. We want someone else to pay the $150 a month it takes not to have more babies than absolutely wanted. Society benefits from this small cost in that they do not end up subsidizing a $10,000 unwanted birth every 18 months or so along with the educational and other support costs of making that unwanted baby a productive citizen. In addition, the woman gets to spend more productive years (forgive the pun) in the workforce to support the children that she does want to have, rather than developing medical complications from too many pregnancies in too short a period. From societies perspective, it is plain common sense.

    Lest you think that this is just a single person's rant....I am a mother of four children. My mother was a pregnant 6 times – the last time at the risk of her life, Her mother was a mother of 11..... As we got more access to birth control we got healthier and better educated and so did our children.

    A married woman needs birth control even more than a single woman. No one wants to have that conversation about why "not tonight" with her partner or rely on a condom. We want to have that "honey, we have to talk...again" conversation even less. Counting how many days you are late is an unnecessary stress on marriage.

    Politicians should shut up on this topic altogether. The country makes out better when women are not indescriminately reproducing.

    December 14, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  22. Sid Airfoil

    Of course the Christian-dominated Republican Party is against birth control. But they couch their opposition in fiscal conservatism (a poor argument) and religious freedom (a half-way decent argument).
    Sid

    December 14, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  23. Brina in DC

    Good idea supported by American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

    December 14, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  24. Lee

    Why is this a bad idea? If other countries have it over the counter, why shouldn't we??? Doctors recomment it, and if you're worried about side effects, they can still go see their doctor. Not understanding the issue here. Republicans weren't trying to restrict access to birth control, I would bet all of them have used it at one time or another. What they were upset about was FORCING religious institutions who consider some of it tantamount to abortion from being forced to pay for it. So much for tolerance and open mindedness. Don't complain about the right trying to force their beliefs on people if your going to do the same thing. I think it's called hypocrisy. A human condition I'm afraid that is present on both the left and the right side of the political aisle.

    December 14, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Sorry Linda Luddite, but this policy is the RECOMMENDATION OF DOCTORS. He isn't proposing something new; he's proposing that the government should follow the advice of doctors when making healthcare policy.

    A bold idea, I know.
    --------------------
    The same group also released a four-point article in the New England Journal of Medicine, "Legislative Interference with the Patient–Physician Relationship", on October 14, 2012. They run rough-shod over the attempts to legislate medical care that the right wing has been putting forth recently.

    @Fair Is Fair – This is the first that I have heard of this. I'm against it. I'm appalled that a legitimate doctor's group would endorse selling sterioids over the counter. It also puts the cost of these drugs on the patient when they are prescribed for uses other than birth control.

    December 14, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
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