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. Lindsey

    There is some ulterior motive going on here with Jindal. Such a God-fearing ultra-conservative Republican as himself would naturally be against birth control pills as "abortifacient"...having the ability to cause an abortion. Jindal is about as pro-life as you can get, so I'm not sure what his real deal is, but I'll tell you what. I don't trust Jindal as far as I can throw him.

    December 14, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  2. CBR

    Governor Jindal makes a good point however, he is not taking into consideration the problems that can occur with birth control pills. This would take the onus away from the medical community. Doctors who do not want to prescribe birth control pills will have an out. So he joins those in the medical community who would be very happy to put the whole decision into the hands of the women and their pharmacists. Of course, the whole costs would then be born by women while men will still be able to get Viagra paid for. Whose reproductive rights are being watched over now? Are men more equal than women. Governor Jindal?

    December 14, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  3. aimz

    I identify as a Republican, and I am also a birth control user. I do have a problem with employers being forced to violate their religious beliefs by providing birth control. I don't share the belief that BC is sinful, but I do respect their beliefs and it sickens me to see respect for religious beliefs deteriorating.

    That said, I think this is an interesting idea. It may cost me more money because mine is covered by insurance, but I think it would be worth it so that women who don't have coverage would have access. However, many unwanted pregnancies are caused by misuse of birth control, and I'm sure it would be misused more frequently if doctors were not involved.

    December 14, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  4. SherryMAZ

    Birth control pills should be monitored by physicians for several reasons, including the fact that some women do not react well to the estrogen in them. Further, birth control pills are prescribed for several healthcare reasons besides birth control, and all of these fall within the purview of discussions between a woman and her doctor. Get the politics out. Get the religion out. Put medical management between the two parties that are directly affected (the woman and her doctor) in. Be done. This is beaten over and over as an issue that is either political or religious. It is medical, pure and simple, all dogma aside.

    December 14, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  5. Hogan's Goat

    Great idea! I'll buy a couple of bottles of them, grind them up, and sprinkle them on the ground around Bobby Jindal's well. He ought to have a rack like Scarlett Johansen by Spring. Really, OTC female hormones? How could this possibly go wrong?

    December 14, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. styxdriver

    How can so many not see what Gov. Endalls motive. If its over the counter, then insurance and Medicare ' Ect. would no longer pay for the service. Sure he ought be a presidential contender. It took over the state reigns with a budget surplus and is now facing at least a 1 BILLION shortfall. Way to go anchor baby.

    December 14, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  7. Will

    Jindal sure isn't wasting any time gunning for the 2016 GOP nomination.

    There are pluses to making BC available over the counter, but it skips the fact that it should be covered by health insurance.

    And as for the notion that Democrats demagogued on the issue?! Who made this an issue? Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a slut for wanting access to BC in her school health plan. And Jindal might want to check Rick Santorum's position on BC. He seems to have a problem with its availability. And lastly, it took a Supreme Court decision to prevent states from outlawing birth control. So I find it alarming that Jindal seems to want to sweep so much history under the rug and pretend that the GOP was somehow unfairly characterized because of some of its louder voices and their odd positions on BC and sexuality.

    December 14, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  8. skytag

    This doesn't sound smart to me. Birth control pills are not aspirin. Not all women can use the same prescription and there can be side effects if a woman uses a prescription that's not right for her. I had a friend years ago who got married, and after he got married he said his wife's personality changed. At times he'd wonder "what happened to the woman I dated?"

    The problem turned out to be her birth control prescription. Once the doctor switched her to a different kind or whatever he did, she was fine. I have real concerns about people with no medical training being on their own with something like this.

    December 14, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  9. Doc Magnus

    Social conservatives this way to the rail, please, and one life preserver per person. Thanks, and God bless!

    December 14, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  10. saidso

    The pill needs a doctor's supervision. These are powerful hormones meant to disrupt a natural process. Too little and it won't work, too much and it can make you sick. Everyone is different, responds differently and the consequences are very serious.

    December 14, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    "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." – who is being "disingenuous?

    December 14, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC


    I identify as a Republican, and I am also a birth control user. I do have a problem with employers being forced to violate their religious beliefs by providing birth control. I don't share the belief that BC is sinful, but I do respect their beliefs and it sickens me to see respect for religious beliefs deteriorating.
    Ever hear of the story about the pied piper? Why should I sacrifice my rights to my employer, so that he can dictate to me how I should live my life, much less how I should pursue health care? You sound like a drone, with no mind to think for yourself.

    If you grant your "employer":this one right, what is stop him from denying you any and all health care coverage because it vioulates his "religious morals and values" of faith based healing? If you prefer to be led by the nose, then that is your business. Don't impose that ignorance upon me.

    December 14, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  13. Heather

    It amazes me how naive people are about the insurance process, claiming protection behind a ridiculous non-argument about being forced to pay for something you don't believe in. Well, I hate to break it to people, but these religious organizations are paying the same for their prescription coverage no matter if birth control is covered or not. All they are simply doing is checking a box that says don't let our employees have access to this drug – they aren't getting money back in their pockets for doing so – they are just hindering someone else from taking advantage of coverage that's already being paid for, all so someone can claim a moral high ground.

    December 14, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  14. Paulette Altmaier

    For all the posts that say a doctor's supervision is needed – note that the Americal College of Ob-Gyns has recommended it be OTC. So he is following medical consensus. Aspirin and ibuprofen and acetominophen all have some side effects, and are OTC. Birth controls are far lower dosage than they used to be, and we have decades of experience with them. It's time to make them readily accessible, and making them OTC will drive the price down pretty dramatically.

    December 14, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  15. don

    I guess we will never have to get used to saying President Jindal. While I agree with him, it is a real career stopper in the 21st centtury GOP

    December 14, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  16. cellstrom

    Ha, good one Bobby. So, insurance and Medicaid now don't have to cover it??!! So, what would that mean? hmm, let's see, what does it cost, over counter, no insurance coverage? $100? $200? So, only rich women can then afford it. Well played. Rich get to control their movement in and out of the workforce, poor dont'. Well played Bobby. yet another idiotic idea designed to create a permanent underclass in America. WHy do you Republicans hate the poor so much? Oh, wait, you are supposed to be Christians, right? So, you don't hate them? I am so confused by all of u. Maybe the south should secede again and just do what they want. Leave the rest of us who actually think about things alone.

    December 14, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Paulette Altmaier

    For all the posts that say a doctor's supervision is needed – note that the Americal College of Ob-Gyns has recommended it be OTC
    I know what the article says, but I've been searching their web site for some time, and cannot find it. It is not among the sites list of announcements and articles.

    December 14, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  18. Fat Alabastards Club

    I'd love to see ALL conservatives on birth control, one 2 decades the problems would be solved!

    December 14, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  19. Homer10

    Oh, my! Could the Republicans be shaken to their senses by Obama's win in November? There's nothing like birth control to prevent the need for abortions. An OZ of prevention is worth a pound of abortions, and unwanted births.

    December 14, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  20. John the Historian

    Finally a Republican who does not kow-tow to the Christian Right. Save, legal, and easy access to birth control is a must for all. Good and effective sex education is a must. Why the Christian Right wants to ban birth control, abortion, and sex education is beyounf belief. Considering how much Republicans love Family Values. I mean divorced Reagan, divorced Dole, divorced Pet Wilson, divorce John McCain and Rush on his fourth wife. Even Newt on on his his third wife after two affairs and now he is this hypocrite devoted Catholic, PLEASE. The US sure would have had to stock up on RU-486 of Willard the mormon cult follower would have become president. Imagine that a cult founded on polygamy wanting to overturn Roe versus Wade. Willard the son and grandson of bastards and the great-grandson of a polygamist. Why do Republicans want a Pleasantville world of the 1950s ????

    December 14, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. Quixote

    Jindal should join Christ and come pver to the sane party. A few months of hanging out with educated reality based people would cleanse him of his remaining conservative crazies and he might turn out to be alright.

    Bt if he thinks he is going to be a gop presidential candidate, he has a foreign name and is brwon, strike one and two, and now he advocates birth control and a few weeks ago called the republicons the party of the stupid. He was right, but no way to get the loonies to vote for you in a republicon primary.

    December 14, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. Michael

    The disingenous one here is Jindhal, not the Democrats. Insurance premiums paid by all of us pay for all kinds of procedures that many of us on an individual basis don't agree with. The rules are discriminatory against women and ridiculous on every level. No law is forcing anyone to use birth control so the religious freedom argument is total crap. All Americans who pay taxes are forced to pay for multiple wars with which many don't agree and yet I don't see conservatives making a stink about that.

    December 14, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. Quixote

    Employers do not pay for your birth control. They provide insurance in lieu of paying you more wages so that you can buy it yourself. It is a crazy system, but by labeling health insurance a "benefit" it makes it sound like a gift from your boss when it is in fact part of your pay. Your employers should have no more say over what health services you chose to use than he or she or it would over what you buy with the rest of your paycheck. Should Mormon employers be able to tell their employees they cannot purchase beer with their salary? Should a Jewish boss demand that no employees use their pay to buy bacon? Exactly the same principle as your employer denying you access to birth control in your pay packet.

    December 14, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  24. PJ

    Good statement given how "little" Bobby Jindal is.

    December 14, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  25. WhereIsPalin

    "... that Republicans are somehow against birth control. It's a disingenuous political argument they make," Jindal wrote.

    We await a response from the "Christian" right.

    December 14, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
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