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. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Jindal's move has nothing to do with helping women, it has everything to do with politics. Jindal realizes that the republicans stance on this issue is about money, and not at all popular.

    December 14, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  2. 21k

    well, there's one less gop primary candidate for 2016. after all, he's a thinking person, so maybe he'll switch to the dems.

    December 14, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  3. Erin

    I am all for the ability to obtain birth control, and while over the counter SEEMS like a decent idea, it should remain just that. an IDEA. I have been on various kinds of birth controls over the last 12 years (prescribed for medical reasons), and have encountered a large number of issues with different brands / doses. There was a 3 month span where I was prescribed 4 different types of pills due to the effects the pills had on my person. This is not something that can be mass marketed for everyone, as without having the ability to consult with my physician, I would not have known how to correct it, and could have made the situation way worse than correct it.

    December 14, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  4. Olaf Big

    Whatever his motives, it's the right move, and a smart one too. Our politics would get much more interesting and much more substantive if the Republicans send Neanderthals like Murdoch, Aitken and Santorum back in the caves and we can deal with the likes of Jindal and Christie instead.

    December 14, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  5. norma jean

    At last a constructive view of a very real problem...although I must point out to Mr. Jindal that it was the Repub politicians that were against any move that benefited women in general!!!!! Perhaps you weren't listening?


    December 14, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  6. Hillcrester

    How about the morning after birth control method? Will Jindal back that being available w/o prescription, too? And at what age for condoms and pills?

    This is a test. Does he really support full access to birth control, or is this just a ploy to limit the damage the GOP suffered by supporting theocrats who wanted and still want to impose their religion-based beliefs on everyone else under the phony guise of "religious freedom"?

    December 14, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  7. EPAB

    The GOP is controlled by Christian fundamentalists especially the Catholic Church ( aka "the base" ). And they absolutely ARE opposed to birth control. The Catholic Church is adamant about it. And they WILL try to outlaw it if they get control of this country.

    December 14, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  8. mos

    "If an insurance company or those purchasing insurance want to cover birth control, they should be free to do so." Unfortunately, in our irrational system of providing health care, an employer typically purchases the insurance of its employee, so the employer gets to decide whether or not the employee gets contraception.

    December 14, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  9. lloyd roberts

    He say's, "as a conservative republican" - he and many other newcomers to the republican party really don't know what a true limited government conservative republican is. I'll give you a few names. Goldwater, Buckley, Eisenhower, Weld. these were people who believed in limited government, not only fiscally, but in your social life as well. When the repubs got southernized in the 70's and 80's, the religious right took control and the true, leave me alone conservatives were cast out as well. Jindal, you're a social conservative which to me is not conservative at all. You want the government to legislate morality, and that's not limited, less intrusive government

    December 14, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  10. allens

    who tells the patient which dosage pills to buy? it was the christians and catholics controlling the politicians that were against birth control. tell the truth gov.

    December 14, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  11. Andrew

    Jindal has his own problems in Louisiana.
    He wants to cut home healthcare for hopice patients.
    He said you should die in a nursing home, it cost less.

    December 14, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Darn skippy! I live in Central America part-time for years and always buy my pills over-the-counter here, for 1/10th the price as the States! There is no reason these things should require a prescription!!

    December 14, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  13. Blue

    Is he running fof a higher office? He is trying to make us beleive that he is a little bit liberal.The GOP is a little bit crazy.

    December 14, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  14. Ken

    Jindal proposal seems to have merit for those who cannot afford doctor visit. But contraceptive are not your oridinary over the counter medicine, some of the worst side effect can lead to blindness (from the label I read) and people can have different reactions. Also, if people are taking some medicine, it may interact with those medicine.

    December 14, 2012 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  15. Seattle Sue

    Is Bobby a real Republican?

    December 14, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  16. Katie

    I've never figured out how abortion became the holy grail of feminism. I've always thought that when women can buy birth control pills over the counter when they want them, they will finally have control over their own bodies.

    December 14, 2012 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  17. fernace

    I don't like Jindal's idea, even though it comes from OB/Gyn's! There are so many pills, patches & other devices to prevent conception, that it's crucial for this to be decided by a woman & her doc! Also, if products go OTC, who will regulate quality? This is beside the cost, which Will be steep! I think 1ce a religion has stepped beyond the church & into Business, they Have to Adhere to the same rules as Non-Religious businesses! Has nothing to do w/religious rights, only ways to control women, while conveniently "forgetting" that Men are 1/2 the equation in pregnancy! With all that Viagra men can get w/insurance & religions have no problem sanctioning, women Need protection!! 🙂

    December 14, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  18. Ghilane

    Are Americans really that dumb to allow birth control to be a political football.
    It is a medical issue between doctor and patient and in most civilized counties one has free access with a prescription.
    Why a prescription , because some could have health issues which would prevent them to take the drug , hence a physical is required first.
    Tell politicians , for or against birth control , to stay out of your private lives.

    December 14, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  19. Robrob

    "It's a disingenuous political argument they make,"

    Since it's true and many prominent Republicans had advocated that position in the last election, how can it be "disingenuous" for the Democrats to point out YOUR position?

    December 14, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  20. David

    Insurance covers Viagra should cover birth control too, this is just a stunt, and will prevent screenings and proper use – do you really want 12 year olds buying this without having to talk with a doctor.

    December 14, 2012 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  21. MD

    Although birth control pills are widely used, they do have potentially serious side effects which should not be overlooked such as blood clots, stroke and heart attacks. Women/girls should be appropriately screened by their health care provider before taking such medications. As a physician I believe it would be foolish from a safety perspective to let these pills go over the counter.

    December 14, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  22. askdavey

    the election is 4 years away and he thinks he is going to get a head start, his otc idea is a joke, tending to insurance companys so they don't have to pay for it while young women who could be getting the wrong dose or even leaving them sterile from not using properly. i am a man and know one thing .....this should be left up to a female and her dr. to asure the proper product, next is insuli otc ? so the insurance companys can save more money while robbing the public with crazy prem. the afortble heath care act is going to put the insurance companys in check which is way over due.

    December 15, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  23. ThinkAgain - The GOP's policies are all PROVEN FAILURES

    If you want to reduce unwanted pregnancies and abortions, then make birth control as accessible and affordable as possible.

    End of story.

    December 15, 2012 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  24. Wombat


    Good thing the actual doctors disagree! Yes there are some women with issues with taking birth control, but they are in the vast minority and usually already under OBGYN care. Making low dose, standard, no-bells and whistles (no Seasonique or other high-dose, cycle skipping pills) birth control available over the counter is a solid decision in a risk/reward framework, which is why the association (again, of doctors in the field) made the recommendation.

    The rewards outweigh the risks, especially for the average consumer.

    December 15, 2012 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  25. Thomas

    What pharmaceutical company paid him off ?

    Why didn't he feel this way before the election ?

    December 15, 2012 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
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