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Why would the Progressive Left oppose over-the-counter birth control? Let us count the reasons…

Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) has proposed a bill to eliminate the federal requirement that a doctor’s prescription is needed to obtain birth control. According to Gardner,

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.

Six other Republicans have signed-on as co-sponsors. The change is sensible on many levels, from improving access to birth control to reducing health care costs, yet the Left and some so-called women’s advocates have reacted with horror. Most of what follows is discussed in two articles, “Why Liberals Oppose Over-the-Counter Birth Control“, by Jillian Kay Melchior, and “Republicans Push For Over-The-Counter Birth Control, Liberals Immediately Oppose The Plan“, from Before It’s News (BIN).

  1. “Free” birth control was offered under Obamacare. The Left claims that the OTC proposal is a conspiracy to eliminate federal funding of birth control and shift the cost burden back to women. Yet the bill does not change the coverage requirement in any way.
  2. The Left claims that the change to OTC will increase the cost of birth control. On one level, this is the same as #1. However, some have argued that the change will actually drive up the cost of contraception, and that’s a whole different level of delusional economics. Filling prescriptions involves much greater use resources than OTC, particularly the time of the physician and staff, the pharmacist, and the buyer. OTC would also remove a barrier to competition in the provision of birth control, which would reduce costs.
  3. Some physicians require an examination and even tests before they’ll write a birth control prescription, which can run into hundreds of dollars. Naturally, many of them would like to retain this flow of business, yet according to Melchior, “…the World Health Organization and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have confirmed that doctors can safely prescribe the pill without a full examination.” Freeing women of the need for a doctor’s blessing would  improve access unambiguously.
  4. Melchior also reports that “Planned Parenthood alone makes around $1.2 billion each year from contraceptive services.” Naturally, Planned Parenthood would like to protect that flow of revenue, but the availability of OTC birth control would expose it to competition.

What nonsense people spout in defense of their political agenda, not to mention their rents! The proposal for OTC birth control should be a slam-dunk liberalization, one that no self-respecting Liberal or Libertarian should oppose. But apparently, for the Progressives, helping women is secondary to preserving state control and the “statist quo”.