New Republican Pitch To Female Voters: Over-The-Counter Birth Control

By Cathleen Decker
Los Angeles Times.

Elections have consequences, and those consequences are most acutely felt, it seems, in closely contested elections.

In at least four hot races across the nation, Republican candidates have adopted a new approach to birth control: It should be available over the counter. “More rights, more freedom,” Republican Cory Gardner says in a new TV ad airing in Colorado, where he is in a tight race with first-term Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall.

The strategy is particularly notable because some of the candidates have in the past not supported ready access to birth control.

Gardner has been slapped around for months by Udall and his allies for his past support of “personhood” ballot measures that would have established life as beginning at the point of conception.

Only this year, when he entered the Senate race, did Gardner renounce the measures, saying that he had belatedly learned that they could restrict some forms of birth control.

Republican Thom Tillis, running against first-term Democrat Kay Hagan for a Senate seat in North Carolina, had previously said that it was within the state’s rights to ban birth control altogether, although he would not say whether he supported such a move.

Still, in a debate on Wednesday night, he declared that birth control pills should be available over the counter.

“First, I believe contraception should be available, and probably more broadly than it is today,” said Tillis, the speaker of the state House.

“I think over-the-counter oral contraception should be available without a prescription. If you do those kinds of things, you will actually increase the access and reduce the barriers for having more options for women for contraception.”

Previously coming to the same conclusion were Republican Senate candidates Ed Gillespie in Virginia, who made his announcement in a July debate with Democrat Mark Warner, and Mike McFadden, seeking the Senate seat now held by Al Franken in Minnesota.

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