Often overlooked in the debate over the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision is the fact that oral contraceptives serve several purposes other than birth control.
The Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling this week legitimizing the religious beliefs of “closely held companies” as an excuse to opt out of paying for employees’ contraception has reignited a uncharacteristic Republican push for over-the-counter birth control pills. Back in 2012, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal declared his support for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ recommendation that birth control pills should be sold without prescription at local drug stores. Ahead of the Hobby Lobby decision, Republican Rep. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who is running to unseat Democrat Mark Udall in the Senate, also voiced his support for the over-the-counter sale of oral contraceptives.
It’s certainly an unexpected cause for members of the party that opposed the contraception mandate of the Affordable Care Act in the first place. And many reproductive rights activists reacted with more suspicion than celebration to Jindal’s OTC endorsement, wary that it would, in effect, mean charging women for a medication Obamacare said they could have for free. Not to mention that the narrow-minded focus on birth control pills would result in restricted access to the other types of birth control that many women use, such as IUDs and vaginal rings.