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. Greg in Arkansas

    I'll bet that the parents of the 13 year old girl that lives across the street from me might have some reservations about their daughter getting OTC drugs without their knowledge or without the advice of thier family doctor to start self-medicating given all the possible side-effects of the "pill".
    Bobby needs to mind his own business.

    December 14, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  2. mcskadittle

    a lot of stores have inexpensive generic versions of drugs, i would hope that generic versions of birth control pills would be on those lists. but i guess that would be upto the store oweners

    December 14, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  3. Larry in Houston

    ""Many Catholic leaders and other religious groups strongly oppose any requirement for contraception coverage on theological grounds""

    Here's what they don't know – "many" Catholic people & other religious Groups are making sure their kids ( their daughters) Get IT – or Have IT – and the Mothers are Taking IT .

    December 14, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    That would have been the intelligent thing to do.

    However, that would have deprived Obama of the opportunity to buy voters, with hand outs, so of course, that was not considered to be the best option.

    December 14, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. MM

    Rick McDaniel....it wouldn't have been the intelligent thing to do...read up on the side effects of the pill....everything is not political

    December 14, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  6. poule_doux

    Bobby "Piyush" Jindal needs to look up the definition of "demagogue" and "disingenuous" before calling the democrats either when it comes to birth control. Demagoging the issue was EXACTLY what Republicans have been doing for decades, until they finally realize they are in the minority opinion, and there is a GENUINE charge that Republicans are still anti birth-control. Remember, they are the Terry Schiavo "party of life" nest of nuts. Piyush is still the hypocrite railing against party and Fed. government while sucking up all the party and government help he can get, such as after Macondo. Remember "Bobby's berms"? Utter failures and waste of tax dollars that went to his campaign contributors.

    December 14, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  7. Dan

    Here's a good idea that won't survive the Republican primaries. Bobby, you just cost yourself a shot at being the Republican nominee by making sense. What's next, allowing for tax hikes in extreme cases? Not pandering to the base?

    December 14, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  8. rs

    Quoting Jindal- "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,"

    Too bad the rest of the GOP- like their recently failed Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates weren't tracking that. Ryan in particular carries an especially rabid anti-birth control and anti-abortion position that is repulsive to most Americans. Jindal is either risking a swift hit from the TEA Party enforcers, or (like so many other GOPpers) he is lying.
    Meanwhile we see the GOP is regreting being on the wrong side of their little "war on religion" wedge issue- but probably can't get out of their idiotic base's ultra-radical position that they so ardently embraced only 2 months back.

    December 14, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  9. 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.

    December 14, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  10. sonny chapman

    I'm from La. Don't trust anything Jindal says. The only thing he REALLY believes in is HIM & his political career. He's Mitt Romney all over again–BLIND AMBITION.

    December 14, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  11. Ken in MD

    Interesting move. This way insurance companies won't have to cover contraception at all. Meaning it will not be available to the poor. So more poor babies will be born, since the mothers wouldn't be able to have an abortion, either. Nice.

    December 14, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  12. 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.

    December 14, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  13. Joi Gibson

    Well duh!!!! It would also, probably, cut down on the number of abortions for unwanted pregnancies. OTC birth control seems to be a logical idea whose time has come – and religious institutions will not have to worry about violating their religious beliefs. Win-win!!!

    December 14, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  14. rs

    Ken in MD
    You've nailed it. That is the "Party of Life" in action. Too bad they hate pretty much everyone post-birth.

    December 14, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  15. Facts don't Lie

    the very same people that oppose using any type of birth control are also the so-called pro-lifers that are against abortion no matter what the reason may be. Well use your brains and think...if more women (and even men for that matter) were able to use birth control there would be far less pregnancies and needs for abortion. And the rythmn methods and withdrawl don't always work either. But when you're dealing with the IQ of some of those on the right it's like talking to a red brick wall.

    December 14, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  16. Tony in Maine

    Ken in MD said what instantly came to my mind – this removes BC from coverage by the insurance companies – saving them money better spent buying Republican politicians.

    How about removing anti-biotics too – make them OTC. That way people would quickly build up immunities, the life expectancy of most Americans would drop, thereby saving money otherwise spent on the takers allowing an even greater tax cut for the very wealthy.

    December 14, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Hey, Governer. If you decide to run for POTUS in 2016, I will personally see to it that everyone is reminded of, and has a chance to see again, that bizarre State of the Union rebuttal that you gave in 2009. I'll be sure to post all of those picutres of you grinning ear to ear holding up giant Stimulus checks. Finally, I'll remind everyone that your current state of mind is a severe case of Romnesia.

    December 14, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  18. scars

    The ONLY reason he is in favor of this is because the insurance companies are. When a prescription becomes OTC, insurers will no longer cover it. The entire cost would be paid by the consumer. As for comments that it would eliminate an "unnecessary" visit to the doctor, keep in mind that this is a once per yer visit where the annual exam and pap smear are done. This is a vital screening tool for women to detect STDs, cervical cancer and other issues. I guarantee that most young women, especially lower income women, will no longer get that annual exam if they can get the pill OTC. It isn't really going to do much for lowering pregnancy rates because those who couldn't get the pill have always had access to condoms OTC. Pregnancy rates will probably stay about the same, but STD rates are likely going to go up considering that we will have a lot of young people switching out condoms for the pill without fully understanding the risks of doing so.

    December 14, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  19. cd

    The cost issue won't be addressed, though, by this plan. What should be OTC is emergency contraception. And, the cost is the issue for poor women, which he conveniently neglects to address. Remember, it's expensive, and men are getting their Viagra paid for, so fair is fair.. Also, it is a drug that should be used only with a physician's consent. It has important effects on a woman's body – many to the good, like preventing ovarian cancer, but also some concerns about increased breast cancer risk. So, I think this should be taken only with consulting a doctor, and therefore this whole argument is irresponsible and not a solution AT ALL! Just get men to allow WOMEN TO MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS FOR ONCE! And get over your religious hang-ups about bc and join the human race, as opposed to the neanderthals

    December 14, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  20. Name benson

    I love my governor & he's right. If they can get it over the counter. It'll also help with walfare issues.

    December 14, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  21. Scott

    Hmmmm......this sensible statement comes right at a time that Jindal has messed up his state's budget for the 5th straight year. Bribing companies to come to Louisiana (and be exempt from taxes) has not helped the state and has taken funds away from education and healthcare, areas in which Louisiana already struggles.

    December 14, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  22. Kay Ess

    '...side effects of the pil...' Even drugs like aspirin, ibruprofen have side effects but are sold OTC. Can that logic be extended to birth control pills? In my opinion, that discussion should be left to the women/girl and her doctor. What the state governments can do is to educate the women/girls on the possible 'side effects' but leave the final decision to the lady.

    December 14, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  23. Louisiana Man

    Where was Bobby's boisterous comments about BC when he as licking up MR during the campaign and thought they were winning?

    what a H Y P O C R I T E !!!!

    December 14, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  24. rosie

    This guy is a Republican??? Sounds like a Libertarian to me. And since when did the GOP EVER espouse to support birth control? Are they not the party of NO choice? Party of Pro Life?? I am seriously confused by Jindal. He claims to a conservative Republican and he is speaking against one of the tenants of the GOP platform. I can imagine there are quite a few Christian Republicans that are NOT in support of his stance on this.

    December 14, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  25. Jean Sartre

    Jindal is in part correct. Republicans do NOT want women, particularily of child-bearing years, to have contraception. What the real issue for Republicans is here: They do not want women to have SEX! That is what they are really attempting to stop. Besides conflating contraception with birth control, these folks simply do not understand that the pill is used by many women, well beyond their child-bearing years, for many different medical conditions, and it most definitely should be covered by insurance, even in religious institutions...

    Jindal is simply attempting to change the speech here, without any change to the Republican Policy position on women and their Healthcare rights. Besides, make contraception drugs available OTC simply lays the total cost of contraception drugs directly to the users, many of which just cannot afford to spend $600 – $1,200 per year.

    December 14, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8