Jindal makes case for over-the-counter birth control
December 14th, 2012
08:05 AM ET
1 year 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. JPX

    "Many Catholic leaders and other religious groups strongly oppose any requirement for contraception coverage on theological grounds." Just another example of how religion poisons everything. I love it when religious leaders (i.e. men who wear dresses, funny hats and are celebate) say that they are against birth control. It's this Bronze Age thinking that led to the huge GOP defeat last month.

    December 14, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  2. beevee

    This republican governor got this right. Hopefully the backward looking GOP idiots can also see this as the right way to do things for their women and every woman in the country.

    December 14, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  3. Jim Hahn

    Democrats have been speaking the truth. The GOP is against birth control, just ask any Catholic.

    December 14, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  4. tribecagal

    Not particularly a Jindal fan but this one gets a big thumbs up

    December 14, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. cedar rapids

    '"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.'

    sorry jindal but your party's own actions condemn them.

    December 14, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. Sy2502

    I disagree with everything in the article except that birth control should be sold over the counter. That's a really good idea in my opinion. In fact if things had been reversed and it was men who needed to take the pill, it would be sold in supermarkets, probably next to the liquor and beer section.

    December 14, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. sw

    What is the big deal with the GOP and birth control! Birth control pills can have serious side affects. They deal with a
    women's hormones, which are very powerful and need to be monitored. Why aren't they making a big deal about
    insurance companies covering Viagra? They don't bring that up!

    December 14, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. Dave

    Wow, Piyush Jindal is trying HARD for that GOP nomination.

    December 14, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  9. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    @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.
    ------
    First of all, birth control pills are hormones, typically estrogen or a derivative of estrogen... you really can't classify that as a steroid, anabolic or otherwise. Second... almost ALL other medications which used to be prescription-only (ibuprofen and naproxen sodium are 2 examples) can still be written as prescriptions as a physician sees fit.

    December 14, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  10. Logic Check

    I agree with Gov. Jindal although this seems very political since I don't really recall any of the democratic candidate saying they are against OTC BC option, rather that they would like it to be more affordable to everyone. However, both Repubs and Dems agreeing that BC is important for Americans is a big step toward progress. Whatever the motivation, I support this. And an aside, I remember paying about $25 (the co-pay) with my insurance for my BC about 10 years ago(I had to get low-dose because of bad reaction to the cheap kind) and recently when I re-started BC again, it was $0. I would have been able to afford it but $25/month (probably more co-pay now) is a big deal for many. I am glad BC is more affordable to many women.

    December 14, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  11. Logic Check

    Wow a lot of people against the OTC idea. Not sure why.
    Aciphex is prescription. Prilosec is not. Both are PPIs. Naproxen and Ibuprofen are available OTC but can also be prescribed in higher dosage. Allegra and Claritin, yes OTC. Do you see Flonase OTC?

    There are drugs that are still regulated. People going nuts over how injectables and implants can't go OTC need to chill out, yet you are right they are different mechanisms or different dose or release so they may require more testing that may not make it suitable for OTC. But the pill? That's been used for decades. The side effects are well known. There are already harsher and newer drugs already listed as OTC.

    December 14, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  12. Ferret out the BS

    I think we're seeing a shift in the facade of the GOP, they know that the majority of voters want access to Birth Control but there is that powerful minority such as parents or teenage children, right to lifers, and conservative religeous who don't and will try to force their will on the American populace. If BC is sold OTC then the buyers can't be controlled by those that want to control others. I wouldn't expect the GOP to pick this up as a change in their philosophy unless they get really desparate.

    December 14, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  13. Ferret out the BS

    Correction "parents of teenage children"

    December 14, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  14. Zandigra

    The Governor is right. If birth control (excluding abortofacients) could be provided OTC, the Obama regime likely wouldn't be having its war on religion.

    December 14, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  15. Bob Lewis

    Putting aside the fact that most Republicans really are against birth control (for others, at least), here's one dude who actually watched the election results.

    December 14, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  16. Doug in NYC

    Oh no, Pyisuh Jindal is off the GOP talking points, taking a pool on how many days it takes before he answers to Limbaugh, Hannity and all the other GOP loons.......

    December 14, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  17. nothing new here

    Look, I realize birth control pills can produce bad side effects in certain women, that is why I think every woman should get a check-up with her doctor before taking more pills. And this should be voluntary, not forced through government intervention.
    But I am also sick and tired of all this BIG NANNY GOVERNMENT! Get the dang government out of our bedrooms! People, if you don't want kids, then please use caution and common sense. Use birth control responsibly.

    December 14, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  18. nothing new here

    The government should not be waging this never-ending war on drugs, much less contraceptives.

    December 14, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  19. marita

    Nice windfall for Insurance Companies!! Bad for consumer pocket-books!! Also, in some instances, dangerous to women's health, since birth-control pills can have very serious, even deadly consequences for certain individuals!

    December 14, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  20. CraigRB

    Wow! Will the arch-right wing denounce him for this or what? Or, is this just a ploy to neutralize the badly & deservedly beaten Republicans and if they gain seats back amnesia sets in & they change their minds to satisfy the deranged base?

    December 14, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    First of all, birth control pills are hormones, typically estrogen or a derivative of estrogen... you really can't classify that as a steroid, anabolic or otherwise. Second... almost ALL other medications which used to be prescription-only (ibuprofen and naproxen sodium are 2 examples) can still be written as prescriptions as a physician sees fit.
    -----------------------
    Steroids are hormones. Estrogen is a hormone. Look it up. Anabolic steroids are simply put, synthetic hormones that are artifiically created in a lab. Comparing them to ibuprofen and a doctor writing a prescription is not well thought out, aside from the fact that it is pure nonesense. Your mouth is moving faster than your brain. Once again.

    The difference between the over-the-counter versions and prescriptions is the strength. To draw your analogy to its' illogical conclusion would mean that one could argue that those prescription strength pain killers should be sold over-the-counter, too.

    December 14, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. Medicine Man

    The problem with Jindal is that he's a young earth creationist and advocates (and has facilitated) the undermining of the teaching of science in the classroom (including basic evolution theory), so if what he says about OTC BC sounds reasonable, you have to look deeper to see why he's saying it...

    December 14, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  23. James PDX

    "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."

    I love how politicians spin things. Who has ever said an employer should keep tabs on if their employees use birth control? Bobby's just making things up now.

    December 14, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  24. Brad

    The resaon for the prescription is that the pills are of different strenghts. you cannot make it over the counter unless the patent goes and sees the doc first to see what strenght you need. and what happends if the first "strength" of the pill is incorrect? that is what the doc is for. While perhaps this could be done, I thiink it would be a mistake with out having the docs input.

    December 14, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  25. HenryMiller

    It had never even occurred to me that contraceptives would be prescription-only. Ever-intrusive Nanny strikes again.

    Of course Jindal's right–this is just one more of the huge number of things government should just get out, and stay out, of.

    December 14, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
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