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. retirednomore

    Insurance companies win again most don't pay for over the counter drugs but would for a prescription.

    December 15, 2012 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  2. kuewa

    Opportunity knocks, Jindal answers– hoping to position himself for a run at POTUS. Big ego, shallow beliefs.

    December 15, 2012 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  3. LizardLance

    What? A Republican govenor exercising common sense? Did the Tea Party approve this move? Surely Grover Norquist was consulted before Bobby Jindal made this recommendation. Still, it was a good move.

    December 15, 2012 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  4. PRussell

    God he wants to be president bad. Too bad it'll never happen! He doesn't have the character, he's just faking it

    December 15, 2012 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  5. Jan

    So in other words, he wants women to pay for it themselves rather than insurance companies paying?

    December 15, 2012 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  6. saidso

    Sadly this is a dangerous idea. We are talking about hormones powerful enough to disrupt a natural process. The amount needed by each individual varies. Too much is harmful. Too little is ineffective. A doctor's supervision is required. Over the counter wouldl have disastrous effects.

    December 15, 2012 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  7. Greenspam

    In that case, let's make morning after pill OTC too. What say you Jindal?

    December 15, 2012 04:46 am at 4:46 am |
  8. Kate65

    If Viagra is covered by health insurance, birth control medications should be as well. Religion and the state have no business, at all, in the bedroom. Period. What should be OTC, as someone commented, is the emergency morning-after pill. Then again, pharmacists who are members of the religions who do not believe that birth control is a right, can still refuse to sell it anyway. Frankly, sperm has no rights under the law.

    December 15, 2012 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  9. Robert Wilson

    Well it sounds like a good idea it still does not address the fact that many birth control items are not covered under insurance, even though the should be.

    December 15, 2012 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  10. Maryellen

    While it's a good idea on the surface, many of the women taking birth control don't have insurance and won't see a doctor. Many birth controls have side effects and these should be monitored. Chances are if they are available without a prescription, this won't happen.

    December 15, 2012 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  11. Mike

    So, Bobby Jindal is advocating otc birth control. And, according to this article, he may be on the radar as a GOP presidential candidate in 2016. Let's see if he flip-flops on the issue when he's trying to appease the nut cases in order to get their support.

    December 15, 2012 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  12. nadinesh

    Erin, you make a very good point. And having once taken these pills and had a very very strong reaction, I also feel that they are kinda dangerous. Nevertheless, let's face it, so is Tylenol. One dose of Tylenol in someone who has 2-3 drinks a day can fry your liver. Not in everyone, but it happens–and it is not rare. Yet no one is putting acetaminophen on prescription. There are OTC drugs which should probably be regulated. Heck, aspirin can–and does–cause perforated ulcers, and so can ibuprofen. So whereas I see your point and agree with it, I think finding a way to end-run the politics of the this issue outweighs the risks. Furthermore, it may possibly do something about all the unwanted babies, because girls will be able to buy these pills without parental knowledge and thereby avoid all the melodrama which usually results in having unwanted kids. I'm all for it. Jindal is political opportunist and I recognize that, but geez, I don't care. A good idea is a good idea. We want our politicians to carry out our intentions.

    December 15, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  13. BD70

    Over the counter birth control is a great idea. You can still consult your dr on which is best for you. You just won't need a prescription to get them anymore. Just like with any OTC drug.

    December 15, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  14. steve

    It is not "hogwash" that the GOP do not want easy access to birth control. This is more politics. Jindal is just getting positioned for a run at the 2016 election.

    December 15, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  15. texasnotea

    Absolutely! The 'pubs should expel all the wackos especially the far religious right and start over. Otherwise, they will be like the Costa Concordia and crash and sink off the coast of insanity.

    December 15, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  16. Realist76

    I recognize this is purely a political move, but not a smart one. Different women need different types of birth control. It's the main reason that it requires a prescription.

    While in college, Bobby Jindal preformed an exorcism on a friend. If this isn't nut job enough for someone, I don't know what is.

    December 15, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  17. jorgath

    How about a compromise, Governor? Require a prescription for anyone under 18.

    December 15, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  18. Malloy

    I don't trust this guy at all. I'm not sure what the true meaning of his statements might be, but I do know what he says is no way connected to what he means. When did politicians get to make decisions that should be left up to a doctor? Oh yeah, never mind, a republican can always determine whats the best medical decision for an American. Another anti-women, neo-con republican positioning himself for 2016. What garbage.

    December 15, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  19. pumpnturbine

    But, Jindal supports a "Personhood Amendment" to define a fertilized egg as a person. Birth control pills can prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. That would make the pill Illegal.

    December 15, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  20. SkepticalOne

    I am happy to see that there is at least one thinking Republican out there but I'm afraid Mr. Jindal is mistaken in his assertion that the Republican party is not against birth control. The GOP has been taken over by religious fundamentalists who are very much opposed to birth control.

    December 15, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  21. rmtaks

    "It's a disingenuous political argument they make"

    Let's see how the conservative base reacts to this proposal and see if the argument was disingenuous.

    December 15, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  22. Ethelsdad

    "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."

    Will any politician ever say that we should do something because it would be better for the citizens of America rather than only worrying about how it will position them and help them in the polls. Would selling birth control, morning after pills and viagra OTC make them cheaper and of higher quality?

    December 15, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  23. john

    Clever little Chameleon, wonder if this came to him in a dream..........

    December 15, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  24. john

    “Too many OB/GYN’s aren’t able to practice their love with women all across the country.”
    ― George W. Bush

    December 15, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  25. exboyracer

    Disingenuous argument that teapublicans are against birth control – there would be no discussion about birth control at all if the teapublicans weren't against birth control.

    December 15, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
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