Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz floated the possibility of working with Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to make birth control available over-the-counter Wednesday.
“Psst! Birth control should be over-the-counter, pass it on,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter June 7.
“I agree. Perhaps, in addition to the legislation we are already working on together to ban Members of Congress from becoming lobbyists, we can team up here as well. A simple, clean bill making birth control available over the counter. Interested?” Cruz responded Wednesday.
I agree. Perhaps, in addition to the legislation we are already working on together to ban Members of Congress from becoming lobbyists, we can team up here as well. A simple, clean bill making birth control available over the counter. Interested? https://t.co/7kh3kqxN1w
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 12, 2019
Cruz’s offer comes after the two made plans to work together to end the so-called “revolving door of K Street,” referring to federal lawmakers using their connections to become lobbyists once out of office.
Cruz and Ocasio-Cortez may not be perfectly aligned on the issue, however. Ocasio-Cortez is a proponent of Medicare for all, a single-payer health care system that Republicans have painted as a socialist nightmare.
“[Birth control] should be free, too – like in the UK!” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter June 7.
(It should be free, too – like in the UK!)
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 7, 2019
Some states have passed laws that allow pharmacists to prescribe oral birth control, but for most women, it is only available with a doctor’s prescription, according to Business Insider. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has called for over-the-counter oral contraceptives since 2012 as “a potential way to improve contraceptive access and use, and possibly decrease unintended pregnancy rates.”
The powerful American Medical Association is also behind the over-the-counter push.
But congressional Democrats have blocked Republican legislation to make birth control available over-the-counter for years. For example, Republicans including Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner introduced a bill to facilitate pharmaceuticals companies’ applications to make their oral contraceptives over-the-counter in 2015, according to The Washington Post.
Meanwhile, Democrats and groups like Planned Parenthood have said Republicans’ push to make birth control easier to access could mean insurers won’t cover it, which could drive up out-of-pocket costs.