Making birth-control pills available without a prescription has become an unlikely midterm-election issue. Even more surprising is that the idea is mostly being pushed by Republicans. Democrats are in the unusual position of pushing back hard, insisting the move would actually limit access and breathlessly reminding voters, We're the ones who've cared about women all along!
The bickering over the details about how such a plan might work and whose concern for women is more sincere obscures a pretty amazing fact: Everyone seems to agree that selling birth control over the counter is a good idea. That's remarkable consensus within the minefield that is women's health.
As recently as last year, progressives like journalist Amanda Marcotte thought over-the-counter birth control was a lofty, out-of-reach goal: "Standing up for OTC birth control pills would absolutely be a hard, long fight, but it would be one that demonstrates that the pro-choice community really means it when we say we trust women with their own health-care decisions."
This isn't the first time a Republican has expressed support for the idea—Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal raised it in 2012—but it's only now gaining solid traction among the GOP ranks. Since July, a growing roster of Republican candidates has rolled out a plan to make birth control available over the counter, including Senate candidates Representative Cory Gardner in Colorado, Thom Tillis in North Carolina, Mike McFadden in Minnesota, and Rob Maness in Louisiana. House candidates Carl DeMaio and Jeff Gorell, both running in California, have also announced support for such a plan.