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Senate Republicans are really concerned about making sure women have greater access to birth control. No, really, it is true! (No, really, it is not.) From the same party that has tried for years to defund Planned Parenthood, ban certain types of birth control that they think murder babies (because they are idiots who don't understand what contraception is), and protect employers' "right" to tell you what kind of medicine you can use on your ladyparts comes the latest clever attempt to make life harder for the ladies, but, you know, "for the ladies."


Last week, Sens. Cory Gardner and Kelly Ayotte -- Republicans who oppose the contraception mandate of the Affordable Care Act that requires health insurance companies to cover all FDA-approved contraception at no cost to patients, so that should be your first hint -- introduced the obligatorily Orwellian named Allowing Greater Access to Safe and Effective Contraception Act. The bill does not have any words in it yet, but it's got a catchy title, right? See, Republicans do care about women! You can tell because Ayotte and Gardner said so in a statement:

“Our legislation will help increase women’s access to safe and effective contraceptives and further empower women to make their own health care decisions,” said Ayotte. [...]

“It’s time to allow women the ability to make their own decisions about safe, effective, and long-established methods of contraception,” Gardner said. “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. Making this medication available over the counter would increase access in rural and underserved areas, save consumers money by increasing competition and availability, and save women time by increasing the ease of getting the safe contraception they need.”

Sounds downright pro-choice, doesn't it? Allowing women the freedom to make their own healthcare decisions. Yay, the feminists have finally won!

So then why are women's healthcare providers and experts, like Planned Parenthood and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, opposed to this bill? Maybe because the bill would do the exact opposite of what its sponsors claim it would do, as you might have imagined because the bill's sponsors are all Republicans who don't want women to have access to birth control. See, right now, we've got a pretty good thing going, thanks to Obamacare. Lady-Americans are saving a ton of money on contraception because of how Obamacare makes insurance companies cover whatever contraception our doctors think is best for us, without making us cough up any copay at all. (Even though the Obama administration recently had to clarify to insurance companies that they really do have to cover all types of birth control, because some of them thought that was just, like, optional, not THE LAW.)

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So does this new "for the ladies, no really" bill offer a better deal than "whatever kind of birth control you want, for free"? Hahahaha of course not. Instead, women will get to purchase whatever over-the-counter birth control their local pharmacy has available on its shelves, which might not be every single one of them, and then women will get to pay for it, out of their own pockets, instead of paying the zero dollars for it to which we've become accustomed. And some types of birth control can cost hundreds of dollars a year, and even a dumb lady who is not good at math can calculate that "hundreds of dollars" is more than "zero dollars."

So -- surprise! -- the Republicans supporting this bill, who do not typically support access to birth control, as their records demonstrate, have introduced a bill to make it harder and more expensive for women to get birth control, and they're pretending it is somehow a good thing for women, even though it clearly is not, but hey, that's the Republican Party for you, isn't it? Yup, it is. As always.

[Salon / Cory Gardner Senate / Congress.gov]

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