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Why McFadden’s over-the-counter birth-control idea is not actually good for women

Making birth control available OTC will prompt insurance companies to discontinue coverage — and guess who will be stuck with the bill? Women will.

Just when insurance companies are finally required to treat birth control like every other form of preventive health care and cover it at no cost, Senate candidate Mike McFadden wants to take that away. Worse – he’s disguising his efforts as “pro-woman” and “pro-birth control.” But women voters in Minnesota won’t be fooled. 

Sarah Stoesz
Sarah Stoesz

Mike McFadden’s position on women’s health has been evident from day one. He opposes the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. He opposes the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) mandate that birth control be covered with no co-pays. He applauded the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, which allows a woman’s boss to decide whether she gets coverage for her birth control, based on religious views.

So, why is he suddenly proposing that contraceptives should be available over-the-counter (OTC)?

Because he’s trying to win an election that his pollsters tell him can’t be won without the support of women.

Make no mistake, allowing birth control to be sold over the counter is not a quick fix – and McFadden knows it. This is nothing more than a political stunt being carried out among several GOP candidates for Senate across the country – and Minnesotans aren’t going to fall for it.

Free now, birth control’s cost will be borne by women

Right now, 48 million women get birth control under the health care law and, as a result, they are saving $483 million a year. But, making birth control available OTC will prompt insurance companies to discontinue coverage – since most don’t cover any OTC drugs (just like Tylenol or Claritin). And guess who will be stuck with the bill? Women will.

From day one, McFadden has aligned himself with the most fervent opponents of women’s health in his party; politicians who have waged an unprecedented war on women. He has shown that he cannot be trusted on this issue.

Planned Parenthood supports every sincere effort to expand women’s access to the health care they need, but we aren’t fooled by McFadden’s empty proposal. Women throughout our state won’t be either.

Sarah Stoesz is the president of the Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota action fund.


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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 09/23/2014 - 11:12 am.

    When Our “Conservative” Male Friends

    Have been raised in families that taught them, from the moment of their birth (even nurses in hospital nurseries treat male and female babies differently, especially in “conservative” places), that in order to be acceptably male (i.e. not to be a “wimp” or worse),…

    they must stamp out within themselves anything that any person around them might identify as feminine – tenderness, gentleness, showing emotion (except anger), etc…

    it’s quite likely that, in response to severe and painful criticism and punishment, their psyches have locked away any and every aspect of their personalities that could be regarded to be feminine,..

    i.e. empathy, compassion, non-competitive collaboration, the ability to truly commit to (“love”) others, etc.,…

    it not only becomes impossible for them to allow themselves to consider the perspectives of women,…

    but such things are anathema to them.

    Try as they might they simply can’t do it,…

    and since they’ve been taught that women are far LESS (in every way) than men and certainly not to be trusted,…

    they can’t trust any woman to advise them on these issues,…

    except for those women who have taken into themselves the “conservative” male hatred of women,…

    and thus, at some deep level, hate themselves for BEING women and hate other women as well (the Phyllis Schlafly types).

    It’s clear that Mr. McFadden and most of his “conservative” Republican colleagues can’t find any way to allow themselves to propose policies which directly affect the well being of women,…

    which do not reflect, even moreso, the perspective (literally or figuratively) beaten into them by those who raised them:…

    that women are LESSER beings in every way, and certainly not to be trusted to live independently (without benefit of a husband to manage their lives) nor to make their own choices.

    The hope on the part of these men in trying to make birth control into an “over the counter” item is that those who need it most will NOT be able to afford it,…

    and will thus suffer what “conservative” men consider to be the just punishment for their wayward ways,…

    (tempting men, who can never be expected to have sufficient emotional maturity or restraint to keep their own pants zipped, into improper sexual activity, which is, of course, NEVER the fault of the man involved but only of the woman who made herself available – or, far too often, couldn’t avoid being his victim.)

  2. Submitted by Rosalind Kohls on 09/23/2014 - 01:12 pm.

    not expensive

    Being able to get birth control pills over-the-counter will make them less expensive than making an office visit to a physician to get a prescription.
    Also, birth control pills cost much less than cell phone service, talk and text, for which even poor women don’t mind paying. I know, because I took them for years.
    However, they include powerful hormones, so I wouldn’t want minors to be able to buy them without some supervision. Maybe birth control pills could be sold only to adults the same way tobacco and liquor are sold.

  3. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 09/23/2014 - 02:13 pm.

    Battle Stations

    But hey, the Republican Party doesn’t have a war on women, or so they would like you to believe.

  4. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 09/23/2014 - 04:26 pm.

    free birth control

    Maybe “community action of MPLS” could provide free birth control for needy women?

  5. Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 09/23/2014 - 05:26 pm.


    What’s missing here is any discussion of the medical impact of over-the-counter birth control pills.

    Regardless of McFadden’s motivation, drugs should be classified as over-the-counter or prescription based on their risk, not who would pay.

    Of course, this cuts both ways. If they’re safe over-the-counter, than any restriction on their use or sale needs to be medically justified, not politically.

  6. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 09/23/2014 - 09:28 pm.


    Planned Parenthood stands to lose a lot of money if women don’t have to go through them to purchase their birth control.

    If birth control pills aren’t one of the most studied and safe options for birth control, why are they promoted so much by organizations like–Planned Parenthood?

  7. Submitted by Peder DeFor on 09/26/2014 - 01:03 pm.


    If you’re telling people that ‘covered by insurance’ is the same thing as ‘free’, then you’re either deeply ignorant on how insurance works or you’re being deliberately deceptive.

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