After many aspirin-between-the-knees travails and legitimate rape pratfalls, Republicans have finally seized on something that they hope will resonate with women: over the counter birth control. Yay! Right?
Since their last electoral ass-whipping and faced with the reality that their archaic attitudes about sex and contraception are untenable, Republicans have scrambled to find a way to get women to vote for them. They've tried the "real women don't need the government to pay for stuff for them!" angle, which didn't get a lot of traction because the same logic could be applied to real men not needing the government to pay for their viagra or hypertension medication. They've tried the "religious freedom" angle, which it didn't take long to reveal was dog whistle talk for "freedom for superstitious people to use old legends to justify sexism." But now, this "over the counter birth control" thing seems to be the flavor du jour of GOP outreach to women, according to a fascinating story by NPR Morning Edition's Mara Liasson.
The shiny new (and decidedly pinker) party line goes something like this: if women need birth control, then they should be able to get it without having to go to the doctor. Of course, there are a couple of drawbacks to this tactic: first of all, certain long term and incredibly effective methods of birth control like IUDs could never be made available over the counter, as it's generally tough for a human to insert things into her own cervix without medical assistance. Second, most insurance policies don't cover over the counter medications, and without insurance, birth control would cost most women $600 a year or so, which means this is a sneaky way for conservatives to pretend to be pro-woman in theory but in practice actually advocate the same shit they were advocating before — segregating women's reproductive health from other health issues. With no price controls or subsidies in place on contraception, the GOP plan would give low-income women the freedom to never be able to afford birth control.
The GOP's feminist cosplay rings especially hollow when actual Republicans try to talk about it in debates. Liasson writes,
Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman stumbled on the issue in a recent debate: "I am just pro-life, and I'm proud of that. And, uh, I do not support personhood. But, uh, I support a woman's access to, to, um, certainly to — this Hobby Lobby decision — to uh, to get ... "
At that excruciating moment, Coffman is rescued by the audience, which feeds him the word he's been looking for: "birth control."
The exchange is followed by laughter, but Democrats do not find this the least bit funny.
Liberals aren't against over the counter birth control, either; Planned Parenthood already believes that certain types be made available without a prescription. Problem is that no pharmaceuticals have petitioned the FDA to make that allowance.
Overall, this strategy smells like, uh... what is it—
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