Udall: Problems with Gardner's birth control plan - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Udall: Problems with Gardner's birth control plan

Posted: Updated:
  • NationalMore>>

  • Official: Hospital gunman intended to kill others

    Official: Hospital gunman intended to kill others

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:52 PM EDT2014-07-25 20:52:38 GMT
    A man who authorities say fatally shot a caseworker at a hospital complex near Philadelphia and was then shot by his psychiatrist remains listed in critical condition.More >>
    A psychiatrist's patient ranted about a gun ban at a suburban medical complex before opening fire there, killing his caseworker and grazing his psychiatrist before the doctor pulled out his own weapon and fired back,...More >>
  • Baby dies after being left in hot car in Kansas

    Baby dies after being left in hot car in Kansas

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:44 PM EDT2014-07-25 20:44:48 GMT
    Police have arrested the foster parent of a 10-month-old girl who died after being left inside a hot car in Wichita, Kansas.More >>
    A 10-month-old Kansas girl died after being strapped for more than two hours inside a sweltering car, and police arrested a foster parent who said he'd forgotten about her until something on TV jogged his memory, an...More >>
  • Carjacked vehicle hits crowd, killing 2 children

    Carjacked vehicle hits crowd, killing 2 children

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:10 PM EDT2014-07-25 20:10:32 GMT
    Two men forced a woman into the backseat of her vehicle at gunpoint, drove off but later lost control and plowed into a group of people on a corner near a fruit stand in Philadelphia on Friday, police said. Two...More >>
    Two men forced a woman into the backseat of her sport utility vehicle at gunpoint, drove off but later lost control and plowed into a group of people on a corner near a fruit stand in Philadelphia on Friday, police said....More >>
By NICHOLAS RICCARDI
Associated Press

DENVER (AP) - Democratic Sen. Mark Udall expressed skepticism Friday about his challenger's proposal to allow birth control pills to be sold without a prescription, as contraception issues continued to dominate the competitive contest.

Udall made the remarks in response to a question at a news conference to highlight his latest foray into the volatile politics of birth control. He has co-authored a bill to reverse last week's Supreme Court decision that allows closely held companies with religious objections to provide employee health insurance that doesn't cover all forms of contraception.

Udall said Republican Rep. Cory Gardner's idea for over-the-counter sales of oral contraceptives "has some merit" but "isn't necessarily the way to go."

"I believe it would put more barriers to women's health and contraception," Udall said, noting that under President Barack Obama's health overhaul, birth control is free for consumers, so costs would rise if oral contraceptives were available over-the-counter at retail prices.

Gardner's campaign reacted with disbelief, noting that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists had also proposed making birth control pills available without a prescription. Spokesman Alex Siciliano said Udall's reaction "shows he is more concerned with his own political health than women's health."

Udall has cast himself as a champion of women's rights and rebuked Gardner for backing a measure to grant legal rights to a fertilized egg, which some argued could ban popular forms of contraception. Gardner, who has disavowed at least one of those proposals, last month countered with his proposal on birth control pills.

Udall wasn't alone in raising concerns about possible cost increases under Gardner's plan. Reproductive rights proponents also warned that women could pay more for retail birth control than forms prescribed by a physician.

"It masquerades as a solution, but it is not one," said Vicki Cowart, president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

Indeed, while the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does recommend some over-the-counter forms of birth control, including oral contraceptives, it also warns that the approach could increase the cost and must be coupled with no-cost contraception through insurance coverage.

At the news conference, Udall and the reproductive rights groups decried the politicization of birth control.

"Access to reproductive services and planning is not a political issue," Udall said. "It is a health and economic issue."

Siciliano said Udall's coolness to Gardner's proposal contradicts that.

"We can only conclude that Mark Udall is desperate to keep this as a political issue instead of solving the problem," he said.

___

Follow Nicholas Riccardi at https://twitter.com/NickRiccardi .

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.