Bobby Jindal Birth Control Op-Ed: The GOP Better Listen Up
Lost amid the shock and horror of Friday’s news was a remarkable op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who should no longer be called a “rising star” of the GOP. He commands attention by virtue of being smart, good at his job, and not a white guy. So it’s significant that he chose to use his platform to break ranks with many social conservatives in his party by calling for over-the-counter sales of birth control pills.
Of course, Jindal did so by couching his argument in a hyper-partisan defensive posture, lashing out at “Democrats [who] demagogue the contraceptives issue and pretend, during debates about health-care insurance, that Republicans are somehow against birth control.” Jindal recognizes that the vast majority of Americans support the use of contraception, and that the issue of access to contraception is a loser for Republicans. So he proposes to take the issue of birth control out of the political arena by endorsing a proposal from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) to allow adult women to purchase birth control pills over the counter. Women currently need a prescription to get birth control pills from a pharmacy.
In the op-ed, Jindal praised the ACOG proposal as “a common-sense call for reform that could yield a result everyone can embrace: the end of birth-control politics.” Republicans haven’t traditionally been terribly supportive of ACOG, an organization many conservatives believe is too sympathetic to abortion-rights supporters. In her confirmation hearings, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan was questioned sharply by Republicans about her close work with ACOG during her time in the Clinton White House. And religious conservatives complained when they thought ACOG was insufficiently supportive of conscience protections for doctors who refuse to perform abortions.