Will Tillis' Debate Comments on OTC Birth Control Help or Hurt H - myfoxcarolinas.com

Will Tillis' Debate Comments on OTC Birth Control Help or Hurt Him?

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A political science professor says there could be fallout from social conservatives after U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis said in Wednesday's debate he's in favor of putting birth control over the counter.

Tillis said, “I think over the counter, oral by contraception, should be available without a prescription. If you do those kinds of things, you will actually increase the access and reduce the barriers for having more options for women for contraception.”

Dr. Michael Bitzer, Political Science Professor and Provost at Catawba College, said, “There's going to be a lot of focus in terms of how his base reacts to this particular pronouncement, and that's the big question: Is there going to be energy? Is there going to be mobilization? Social evangelicals are an important faction within the Republican Party. If they don't show up, that makes it harder for him to remain competitive in a very, dead-even tied race.”

Bitzer said other Republicans around the country have taken the same stance on contraceptives. He said it may be part of the plan to replace Obamacare. Bitzer said, “Maybe it's part of the repeal and replace. We're finally getting some replacement. It could also be an attempt to focus on women's issues and the gender gap that is becoming much more pronounced.”

The North Carolina Right to Life says it does not take a stand on contraception. The North Carolina Family Policy Council also did not comment on Tillis' remarks.

Mark Harris, a Republican and former U.S. Senate candidate, said, “It's going to need to be sort of fleshed out a little clearer for folks to really have an understanding of what the point was he (Tillis) was seeking to make. Was it an economic point? Was it a free market point? Was it a point that he really believes that we ought to just put contraception on the shelves at our local drug stores? I do think there would be some that would be concerned about their daughters, 13, 14, 15 years old going and being able to buy birth control pills over the counter.”

Tillis' campaign responded to our request for clarification on his comments Friday morning. Press Secretary Meghan Burris released a statement, which reads, "Thom supports improving access to contraceptives and lowering costs by making them available over the counter, which is commonsense policy endorsed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists."

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