Topics: Obamacare

House Republicans should pass bill allowing over-the-counter birth control sales

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Philip Klein,Obamacare,Supreme Court,Bobby Jindal,Contraception,Hobby Lobby,Cory Gardner

Monday's ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court against the Obama administration's contraception mandate may have been a defeat for liberals, but Democrats are already treating it as a political gold mine.

Democrats hope to recreate the "War on Women" narrative that helped them in the 2012 election ahead of the 2014 midterms. And in the wake of the Hobby Lobby ruling, they now have an opening to respond with legislation to expand contraception access. If Republicans oppose the Democrats' legislative solutions, the GOP will be attacked as being anti-women.

There is one way that House Republicans can stay a step ahead, however. That is following the lead of Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., and more recently, Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo. (who is now running for U.S. Senate). That is, they should support a bill to allow oral contraceptives to be purchased over the counter.

To start, allowing contraceptives to be purchased without prescriptions is good policy. It would bring down prices and expand access.

Making oral contraceptives available over the counter would also be safe, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Philosophically, it's consistent with limited government principles. It removes unnecessary government regulations and increases choice.

It doesn't impose new burdens on businesses or religious institutions, nor does it require an increase in government health care spending.

And politically, it would also be beneficial to Republicans. It would make it a lot more difficult for Democrats to portray the GOP as being only interested in obstructing Democrats rather than supporting their own ideas, and harder to accuse Republicans of being broadly against access to birth control.

Instead, it would allow Republicans to go on offense, and show that Democrats are the ones who want to play politics with birth control.

If Democrats oppose the move, they'll have to explain why they want to force women to go through their doctors to obtain birth control and make it harder for uninsured women to gain access.

For another case for making birth control available over the counter, see Adrianna McIntyre of Vox.

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