May 28 2015
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) have introduced a bill which they say would make it easier for women to access birth control.
The bill would allow contraceptives to be sold over the counter, without a doctor’s prescription.
Such a move would increase access to contraception, Gardner says, by increasing access in rural areas and “increasing competition and availability,” according to The Hill.
Hadley Heath Manning, President of the Independent Women’s Forum, agrees. She wrote in Forbes:
“Over-the-counter birth control would offer new options to women. Consumers would be able to see on the shelf the different products that are available, compare prices, and ultimately select the option that provides them with the best value, just as they choose products in other markets.”
Yet, two influential groups have slammed the proposal, saying it will do the opposite.
Dr. Mark DeFrancesco, president of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, cited Obamacare’s current rules requiring insurers to pay for birth control without a co-pay as a basis for his opposition:
“Unfortunately, instead of improving access, this bill would actually make more women have to pay for their birth control, and for some women, the cost would be prohibitive.”
Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards told Bustle:
“This bill is a sham and an insult to women. It would give women fewer birth control options and force women to pay twice for their birth control.”
And Jezebel stated that, while increased access is a good thing, “it seems like Gardner and Ayotte’s proposal is a sneaky way to effectively end Obamacare’s mandatory contraception coverage.”
However, many aren’t buying the critics’ arguments, calling it a “War on Women” and politics as usual:
Manning argues the real reason that some oppose the bill is because they stand to lose money if women don’t need to visit a physician before obtaining contraception, and pharmaceutical companies can keep the real cost of contraception hidden in layers of insurance benefit bureaucracy.
The full text of the bill has not been released.