GOP Senators are now ready to push for over-the-counter birth control. Leading the charge is Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo); who is attempting to deliver on a campaign promise.
So far six other Senators have signed onto the bill, which would push drug companies to file an application to sell their contraceptive products OTC. Gardner recently released a statement explaining his reason to push this bill.
“’Most other drugs with such a long history of safe and routine use are available for purchase over the counter, and contraception should join them,’ Gardner wrote in a statement. He said his bill would benefit women in rural and underserved areas, while also saving people money and time by ‘increasing competition and availability.'”
However, Planned Parenthood opposes the idea, and warns that it could lead to higher prices. Their criticism largely revolves around access and price of OTC birth control. Planned Parenthood notes that Obamacare has increased access to birth control and they are concerned that without a prescription insurers may not cover the cost.
They are not the only group concerned with this bill and what it would mean to women’s health. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have released a statement condemning the bill based on the routes of access. They seem to have the same concern that women will lose birth control if it is not provided through their insurance.
Conservative supporters of the bill question the motivation of Planned Parenthood and the ACOO. They claim the real motivation:
“is actually money-related. Some have accused the groups of trying to avoid a potential scenario in which fewer women will need their services to get a prescription.”
Despite the concerns of outside voices, this remains a passion project for Sen. Gardner. OTC birth control was crucial in his campaign against Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo). For his part, he was also concerned that Gardner was attempting to ban access to birth control.
Since birth control is often a contested topic for the GOP, it is yet to be seen if Gardner’s bill will gain any traction in the Senate.
[The Hill] [Forbes]