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February 9, 2016

Republicans Use Birth Control as Campaign Wedge

Birth Control

Tillis has softened his stance. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Politics is mostly about both parties regurgitating well-established positions (on taxes, the environment, abortion and spending, for example) to appeal to base voters and demonize their opponents. But every so often, candidates from one party try a dramatically new message.

That’s what is happening now in a number of swing districts and states, as a handful of Republicans have come out in favor of allowing contraceptives to be sold over the counter.

The position was initially taken by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in a December 13, 2012 Wall Street Journal op-ed, “The End of Birth-Control Politics.” In the piece, Jindal said the use of birth control “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.”

At the end of his op-ed, the governor said that it was “hogwash” that Republicans were “against birth control and against allowing people to use it.”

In fact, the anti-abortion movement has tied birth control and abortion together in the past, so it is noteworthy that at least a handful of generally conservative Republicans who oppose legal abortion have started to embrace Jindal’s position on contraceptives.

The list includes at least four Senate hopefuls — Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner, Minnesota’s Mike McFadden, North Carolina’s Thom Tillis and Virginia’s Ed Gillespie. In addition, Republican congressional hopeful Barbara Comstock has embraced the same position during her bid for a competitive Northern Virginia House seat.

While the evolution of the issue could alienate some social conservative voters, it would appear to have a much greater upside for the GOP hopefuls. Their position on contraception could soften their image with moderate voters, diluting some of the impact of Democrats’ “war on women” talking points among suburban swing voters.

Some GOP observers expect other Republicans in competitive states and districts – not in heavily conservative, ruby Red districts or states — to embrace Jindal’s argument as they attempt to woo key voters. If enough do it, they could help move the party in a way to make it more appealing to younger voters, as well as to moderates. And of course, it could create more friction inside the GOP, as well.

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  • Jack Everett

    “a handful of Republicans have come out in favor of allowing contraceptives to be sold over the counter.”

    Don’t believe this trash its just another republican lie to try and get votes they don’t deserve. Abortion and birth control are the law of the land made so by the right wing supreme court but of course the gop has no support for the rule of law.

  • Banshee2

    Didn’t realize the GOP is medically qualified to determine whether birth control should be sold over the counter. Isn’t this something people with a medical background should determine?

    • Jack Everett

      Its anoither attempt by the wing nuts to buy votes.

    • June Maulfair

      But the Democrats are qualified to determine just what medical services everyone has to pay for whether they need them or not. How many of the bureaucrats that came up with Obamacare mandates were medical professionals?

  • Norma Munn

    I wonder if the newly found support for women and access to birth control would extend to minors? Are these not the same folks who oppose Planned Parenthood, where women can obtain the kind of check-ups necessary to determine the correct birth control pill, provide follow up care to insure that no problems have developed, etc? It is, of course, foolish to take these pills without medical supervision, but then the reputation for actual concern for women’s health from these GOP men is a bit tarnished by other actions. Somehow I doubt most women are quite so stupid as to be sold this particular bill of goods.

  • Ronald Harris

    Vote baiting out in the open. The elections are two months away. So some Republicans have seen the lightning flash! They have heard the thunder roar! So now they are partially for a choice. So why does Jindal still support closing all the abortion clinics. Doctor assisted is a bit more dangerous than self assisted. As soon as elections are over the sheets will come off and the Republicans’ true selves will be revealed. They really do think the American public is just that shallow. They are in for a rude awakening. Because what is shallow is this shallow attempt at caring.

    • wdb

      “So why does Jindal still support closing all the abortion clinics?”

      Because news flash: over-the-counter birth control and abortion are DIFFERENT ISSUES. Your position on one does not dictate your position on the other.

      Sheesh, and you people call the Republicans stupid.

      • Lets_Think_Again

        WRONG, “wdb”. Since Republicans insist on the (absurd) notion that many widely used forms of contraception are — according to them — a kind of abortion, the issues of birth control and abortion are in fact inseparable. The truth is the Republican far-right who control the party are virulently hostile to both — Rick Santorum is a prominent example who was, after all, seriously considered as a candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination.

        • wdb

          Nonsense. Most Republicans do not believe widely used forms of contraception are a kind of abortion. Even if they did, that still wouldn’t mean a person’s views on abortion and over-the-counter birth control have to correspond.

          • DDavisVA

            Get off it dope. New flash for the likes of YOU: It’s been the R’s from the very beginning, all the way to now, who have been the ones who TIED contraception and abortion together, failed to make distinctions between the two. Now, I say you self-proclaimed so-called “liberty” types, who turn right (so to speak) around and have no problems working every angle you can to try to control other peoples’ personal lives, should get to eat what you’ve cooked. It will serve you right (so to speak) if so.

          • wdb

            Sigh. I don’t know who you think “the likes of me” are, but if you think I’m some sort of Christian fundamentalist who wants to ban birth control, you are making a big fool of yourself.

          • DDavisVA

            Oh *sigh* all you want to. The very ideas either that R’s support contraception, or have kept the issues there separate from those of abortion, are both ridiculous. The R *party* has fought against contraception from the get go, and still would (many still do – e.g., how Santorum could even remotely be a viable R candidate for Pres.; and it wasn’t actually remote), if it didn’t threaten now to beat them in the upcoming elections. That’s why Jindal, exactly as Lets_Think_again pointed out. And I’m sure I don’t have to go into how R’s vehemently oppose rights to abortion. But I also shouldn’t have to go into how we all know the R’s have LOVED to try to link these two for political advantage.

            So just stow your feigned *sighs* The R’s are indefensible, and to me are not stomach-able, on either issue. Never have been. So it’s just disgusting to see a few try now to pretend to be in support, now that this would maybe get them some votes, nationally or in a local race. Disgusting.

            The rest of us are going to remember who they REALLY are. Forever.

          • wdb

            Oh yes, sorry, you’re right. I secretly believe all contraception should be illegal, rather than believing what I said in plain English. Silly me for getting confused about what’s getting on in my own brain.

            Also, I’m not clear on why you think it’s a terrible thing for politicians to do what will get them votes. That’s how democracy is actually supposed to work – elected leaders responding to the people’s wishes.

  • Lets_Think_Again

    This whole thing us just another absurd far-right exercise in deception and dis-infomation. Only the very ignorant or exceedingly stupid will be deceived by it.

    The far right, which totally dominates the Republican Party, is rabidily against both control, and everyone knows it. In the last Presidential election, the Republican Party came close to choosing as its candidate for President of the United States Rick Santorum who says birth control is morally wrong and State legislatures should pass laws to forbid it. So crazed is Santorum about
    sexuality that he says that sexual intercourse by married persons is immoral
    unless the wife is of fertile age and the act is intended to get her pregnant. A philosophy truly worthy of the Taliban.

    And after all this, Republican tacticians are now telling their candidates to spout this nonsense about over-the counter birth control !! It’s beyond ludicrous . Do they seriously imagine anyone will believe they have turn their back on far-right Talibanism? Do they seriously imagine this will persuade more women to vote for them, despite their consistent track-record of vicious misogyny?

  • Benjamin Scott

    hi this is from health care department, this medicine is use for birth control pill, and this medicine is granted for expiry date and it will give you home for chip money if you want more information. so please visit out link. thanks for sharing information!!!!

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