In a recent debate in North Carolina, Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis slammed incumbent U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan (D) on her smoke-and-mirrors talking points when the topic turned to a “war on women” favorite: contraception.
Hagan started by accusing Tillis of making it “more difficult for more women to access birth control” by defunding Planned Parenthood, and she charged that he “employers should be able to deny coverage of birth control.”
“Why have you worked to make birth control so inaccessible?” Hagan chided.
Ironically, Tillis is supporting over-the-counter (OTC) birth control, while Hagan is not. Tillis explained the economic argument that “we need to provide broader access and work to lower the cost of contraception,” then ripped Hagan for her lack of support for more economical contraceptives due to her known close ties with big drug companies.
“As a matter of fact, maybe we should talk about the extent to which you can separate yourself from big pharmaceutical companies who are clearly supporting your campaign,” Tillis shot back, “and start talking about providing lower cost alternatives and a broader access to OTC oral contraceptives.”
“The American Medical Association says they’re safe, they’re effective, and they should be allowed to be provided,” Tillis asserted. “We all know that when you provide broader access, that prices go down. This is the way that you actually increase access and provide more women with more opportunities, and more choices.”
Hagan floundered since, first off, the premise of the “war on women” contraceptive meme is entirely false: contraception has been, and is, readily available to women. In fact, oral contraceptives are already available for as little as $3.77 per month.
“Speaker Tillis just doesn’t understand the needs of women,” she countered. “The fact that he supports the Hobby Lobby decision that does deny – that does allow – an employer to deny access to birth control for their employees.”
Once again, Hagan was pitching the “women are a victim of their bosses” meme, so fashionable among feminists since the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case. Hagan and her colleagues may be hoping that women won’t recall that “bosses” were never involved in women’s private birth control decisions until 2012, when then-HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius administratively decided that they must provide coverage for contraceptives in employer-sponsored health insurance plans.
Hagan then became really confused in her messaging, as she also blasted “for profit” entrepreneurs and, finally, resorted to using her gender to try to get her way.
“You know, I would certainly support over-the-counter contraceptives, but I want it to be part of the prescription drug plan if these individuals are working for a for-profit company,” she said. “That’s what Speaker Tillis would deny. Once again, women, we’re stuck holding the bill.”
Tillis, however, revealed her deception.
“On one hand, she says she supports broad access to over-the-counter, but on the other hand, she says it needs to be rolled into a prescription drug program,” he pointed out. “That seems to be saying one thing and doing another, and that’s not new to Kay.”
Hagan’s strong ties to Big Pharma are likely keeping her wed to prescription contraceptives, even though this method of payment for them makes them more costly and, consequently, less accessible to lower income women who may wish to purchase them.
In 2009, Hagan supported an amendment that would allow for a 12-year period of data exclusivity for biologic medications used to treat cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and other disorders, when Obama and the Democrats were looking for only a seven-year period of exclusivity. The amendment protected these drugs from generic competition and allowed for 12 years of market monopoly and higher costs.
Subsequently, Obamacare passed with the 12-year period of exclusivity. Claiming that the amendment would protect North Carolina jobs, Hagan said, “This issue is particularly important for North Carolina which is home to the third-largest state biotech cluster in the country.”
The pharmaceutical industry ran ads in 2009 praising Hagan for protecting them from competition.