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Opinion Northwest

Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

Topic: birth control

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July 3, 2014 at 6:01 AM

Make birth control pills available over the counter

This week’s Supreme Court decision favoring Hobby Lobby’s religious rights over the ability of its employees to access a full range of birth control options is a bad one, but it’s also a catalyst for change.

Supporters of employer-paid birth control rally in front of the Supreme Court before the decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores was announced June 30, 2014 in Washington, DC. The high court ruled 5-4 that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act violated a federal law protecting religious freedom. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Supporters of employer-paid birth control rally in front of the Supreme Court before the decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores was announced June 30, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

One way to get around the politics of the Affordable Care Act is to make birth control as accessible and affordable as possible to all women, regardless of whether they have insurance coverage.

As Vox reported on Monday, some Republicans are now in favor of taking birth control out of the insurance arena and making it available to women over the counter. Reproductive health experts have been studying and advocating this approach for a long time. The Seattle Times published an editorial in December 2012 that encouraged the FDA to consider the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (ACOG) recommendation to provide oral contraceptives (aka the pill) to women without a prescription.

Here’s an excerpt:

Many women cannot afford the cost of birth control or the doctor’s visit necessary to access the different methods sold on the market.

One consequence is that half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended, according to the ACOG. That figure hasn’t changed in 20 years…

Other forms of contraceptives, including intrauterine devices and shots, are not part of this equation. But after decades of study, birth-control pills have proved to be a common, cost-effective method for many.

No drug is without risk, not even aspirin. Do we trust women to follow instructions? Are they capable of detecting adverse side effects and seeking help if they need it? The ACOG’s decision was based on evidence that suggests they are.

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Comments | Topics: birth control, hobby lobby

January 27, 2014 at 6:06 AM

Huckabee’s lame attempt to incite women voters

Another week, another Republican attempt to appease women gone wrong. The political snafus keep coming after Democratic President Barack Obama won a majority of the female vote in 2012. (See this Gallup pre-election poll.)

Last Thursday, former preacher-turned-governor-turned-media personality Mike Huckabee fit the words “Uncle Sugar,” “birth control” and “libido” into a statement about women. Well, there’s a pretty good way to get attention before yet another potential run for president in 2016.

Here’s text of the controversial part of Gov. Mike Huckabee’s speech last week before a Republican National Committee audience, courtesy of Yahoo News’ Chris Moody. Watch the clip in this YouTube video:

Enough of your nonsense, Mike Huckabee.

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Comments | Topics: abortion, birth control, mike huckabee