Jindal makes case for over-the-counter birth control
December 14th, 2012
08:05 AM ET
10 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. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    Does Gov. Jindal also agree that morning-after pills and other after-the-act medications should be sold OTC in all states?

    December 14, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  2. trex

    ..........well, this goper wont last long in the race with SMART THINGS he wants to do...............

    December 14, 2012 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  3. 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.

    Now women would have to foot the entire cost for the medications, which are commonly prescribed for reasons other than birth control. Steroids are a controlled substance. How does Jindal plan to get around that fact?

    December 14, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  4. SafeJourney

    Bobby is trying very hard to re-brand the repubs

    December 14, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  5. Sandy

    GOOD idea! Hopefully some of the abortions would also be avoided as well. I'm sure their are some 'religious' people who would have some goofy objections.

    December 14, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    Many Catholic leaders and other religious groups strongly oppose any requirement for contraception coverage on theological grounds.
    If wish you run a for-profit business that pays taxes, then the laws of this country to priority over the beliefs of your religion. Period. The US government regulates the commerce in this country, not religious organizations.

    Besides, anyone can see where this is headed when you stop and think about it. Allowing people or groups to make claims that their religious beliefs prohibit them from offering certain types of health care coverages is dangerous ddor to open. What is stop someone from claiming that they believe in faith based healing and refuse to offer any health care coverage? That's the only logical progression of allowing this type of "privilige" to certain groups.

    December 14, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  7. Anonymous

    Bobby is trying very hard to re-brand himself. The good news for America is that Bobby Jindal's public government career is nearly over. No more stimulus money for him to publicly rant against - then jump through hoops to accept and mug for the cameras while doling it out to his favorite causes.

    December 14, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  8. DENNA

    Finally an ounce of commons sense. Bobby, are you really a Republican? And Rudy, NYC, the government could still subsidize the pills over the counter, so the entire price would not have to be borne by women. Given that men are 1/2 of the equation, I think that is a good idea. Also, since so many people complain about welfare, it seems that most people woud be on board with over the counter birth control and morning after pills. Or the money could come from the so-called pro life organizations. As long as they are in everyone's business, they might was well go all in and pay for it. 🙂

    December 14, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  9. Paul Abeln

    Wait a minute, yes, one of your party's leaders has said unequivicollay that birth control is bad–Rick Santorum. Mr. Santorum again proved what a jerk he is by coming to the Senate to make sure we keep the disabled down. Yes, the Republican party is full of idiots that think birth control is bad. Yes, in 2012 (not 1950) Republicans still think birth control is bad and should not be covered by health insurance. You Republicans get to own your policies.

    December 14, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  10. v_mag

    The Repugnant party needs a dose of some kind of medication. Birth control pills would be a good start for the younger ones, but also something for dementia. Is there an anti-Neanderthal drug?

    Have to hand it to Jindal for trying to move to the center for his career's sake.

    December 14, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  11. The Right Left

    Jhindal is setting himself up like Arlen Specter and Charlie Crist. He in his heart wants out of this party of the Stupids, as he has called them.

    December 14, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  12. mcskadittle

    wow a proposal from a republican that make sense, i guess you would call that a career limiting move

    December 14, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  13. Dave

    Hats off to Jindal for making the right call based on facts. Unfortunately, the drooling idiots who comprise 95% of the GOP will run him right over.

    December 14, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  14. Larry in Houston

    Hey Jindal – are you sure you are a Republican ? Your party will drop you like a hot potato. The other guys in your party will either distance theirselves from you, unless you are moving in the direction like Specter , & Charlie Crist, btw, which may be the next governor of Florida. (again)

    December 14, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  15. Gurgyl

    Yes, lets give free contraception to help reduce the population of the "undesirables."

    December 14, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  16. Rudy NYC


    Finally an ounce of commons sense. Bobby, are you really a Republican? And Rudy, NYC, the government could still subsidize the pills over the counter, so the entire price would not have to be borne by women.
    Government subsidize the cost of "over the counter" birth control pills? It'll never happen in the real world. Stop looking for the bright side of everything.

    December 14, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  17. clarke

    Oh just make law, no sex at all unless you truly want children. I feel this issue is a personal issue for all, but as long as there are politicians, it never will be.

    December 14, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  18. halfpatrick

    Please don't be fooled by this, people. This is just another attempt by Republican leadership to push for policies that shift the cost of something away from businesses (health care companies in this instance) and onto regular people. What a joke this party is.

    December 14, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  19. GonzoinHouston

    That's an interesting concept, especially coming from a republican! Rudy has a very good point about insurance and OTC birth control. Dumb question: how much do birth control pills cost per month if one does not have insurance? ACOG recommends this? I find it a little odd that a doctors' group would recommend reducing doctor control over something.

    December 14, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  20. Randy, San Francisco

    Jindal better look over his shoulder. The GOP/Tea Party social conservative ideologues purists may just want to go after him, especially during the 2016 primary presidential debates.

    December 14, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  21. tammyk tammy

    He wants to make birth control an OTC drug to shift costs away from insurance companies, but their precious erectile dysfunction meds will remain as prescription only and fully covered by insurance. Noooooo, there's nooooo war on women being waged by the Repugs.

    December 14, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  22. Larry L

    This would do nothing to help women with the cost of birth control except they'd avoid an unnecessary office visit. We have precedence in this area... since coat hangers are sold over-the-counter.

    December 14, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  23. Emerson

    The best way to make his case for birht control would be to hold up a photo of the Republican members of Congress.

    December 14, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  24. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    If there was no problem getting on birth control, then we wouldn't be having this debate. There are social conservatives that demand that no one have access to birth control because there should only be sex when for procreation. Obviously they haven't had enough or pleasurable sex. The other assumption is that birth control would be affordable. There are people who only get access to perscriptions when employed. The idea that Jindal is accepting of OTC birth control is fine with me. The question is would there be a high cost to it? Will his fellow conservatives accept that? I think the liberatians would while the social conservatives would be screaming to high heaven.

    December 14, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  25. Sam

    I think the Republicans should pass laws both Federal and State, that bans SEX. It can be used for procreation of kids only. So this takes away the abortion/birth control pill issues.

    December 14, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
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