Candidates’ OTC Birth Control Plans are a Raw Deal
This election season, many candidates, particularly Republicans,Â from Virginia to Colorado,Â are trying to run from their war on women voting records by coming out in support of over-the-counter (OTC) birth control. Make no mistake, they are targeting middle and low income women â€“ people who would not vote for them anyway!
Their proposal might seem like they suddenly understand the need for increasing contraceptive access, but don’t be fooled!
These candidates just want women to pay for the full cost of their birth control, with no help from insurance coverage.These candidates are helping insurance companies, not women. (Note, they are not suggesting doing away with insurance coverage for Viagra.)
These candidates aren’t supporting women’s reproductive health — they’re attacking it.
According to theÂ American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), out-of-pocket costs prevent many women from consistently accessing birth control, and the most effective – and most expensive – methods, such as the intrauterine device (IUD), always require a visit to a health care provider. (So what about a doctorâ€™s visit is OTC?)
Just to make this point even clearer, not one birth control manufacturer has sought FDA approval for OTC birth controlÂ — so these so-called improvements would result in middle and low income earning women being without contraceptive access because they canâ€™t afford it!
This OTC proposal comes from the same candidates who have pushed to restrict access to comprehensive reproductive health care.Â These same politicians have placed repealing the Affordable Care Act which would cover contraception as preventative care and cutting back on public clinic funding at the top of their agendas.Â These candidates want: NO preventative care coverage for annual exams, Pap smears, or contraception.Â
OTC contraception has a place in efforts to expand reproductive choice.Â People need access to services like emergency contraception on demand.Â ButÂ putting birth control in front of the counter is only the first step to ensuring comprehensive access.Â Women need policy makers who support a full spectrum of reproductive health decisions.Â Instead of doing away with insurance coverage for contraceptives, we need to expand it to cover Plan B, a very expensive OTC emergency contraceptive.
Women, donâ€™t be fooled. Don’t let these candidates stick women with the bill!
by Olivia Cappello