Thom Tillis supports birth control only to gain support

Thom Tillis supports birth control only to gain support

Allison Stallberg/Guilfordian


“What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers,” said Thomas “Thom” Tillis in an interview at his Raleigh office regarding the political environment.

Recently, several Republican Senate candidates all across the country have temporarily changed their policy regarding birth control. In an attempt to gain the favor of voting women due to their continued defeat at the hands of Democrats, Republicans have been more lenient in their opinions on birth control. The biggest case of this, which has been receiving wide national coverage, is Tillis, a North Carolina Senate candidate.

Throughout his political career, Tillis has taken it upon himself to restrict women’s access to legal abortion. Tillis managed to garner another victory for the anti-abortion cause.

Slyly slipping an anti-abortion clause into a motorcycle bill, which nearly called for the shutdown of all North Carolina abortion clinics, Tillis has continually aimed at limiting women’s rights.

So why has Senate candidate Tillis abruptly decided to break from his flourishing and enthusiastic track record of anti-abortion policies and openly embrace contraceptives?

In order to close the staggering gender gap of 33 percent with his opponent Democratic Senator Kay Hagan.

“This is simply a cynical political attempt to whitewash his terrible record and agenda for women’s health,” stated Vice President for Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood Action Fund Melissa Reed in a public statement released after a Tillis-Hagan debate. “If Thom Tillis and others were serious about expanding access to birth control they wouldn’t be trying to repeal the no-copay birth control benefit or cut women off from Planned Parenthood’s preventive health services.”

Currently, Hagan is leading by six percent against Republican candidate Tillis with a 45 percent to 39 percent record according to a Rasmussen Reports poll. To entice voters, Tillis, along with several other Republicans, has engaged in politicking. Why else would a personhood amendment advocate, someone who supports the legal right of a fetus’ life, accept over-the-counter birth control?

In order to gain votes, Tillis has temporarily taken up supporting birth control which, after the elections, will eventually result in his formerly conservative views of strict anti-abortion policies taking precedence. This can undoubtedly be seen in the fact that Tillis, despite “supporting” contraceptives, has yet to discuss the future of birth control and his plans regarding it.

“Tillis must realize that running against such a moderate nominee threatens him, and in order to save his political career, he, in turn, concedes certain birth control rights and his personal values in order to gain popularity at the polls,” said Early College senior and former Gay Straight Alliance president Kaelan McCone in an email interview with the Guilfordian.

By rallying behind the support for over-the-counter contraceptives, Tillis most likely aims to make the public forget his colorful track record regarding abortion.

“I think, once again, Speaker Tillis doesn’t understand the needs of women,” said Hagan at their debate on Sept. 3, 2014. “He supports the Hobby Lobby decision that does allow an employer to deny access to birth control for their employees. I would certainly support over-the-counter contraception, but I want it to be part of the prescription drug plan if these individuals are working for a for-profit company. That’s what Speaker Tillis would deny.”

From championing an ultrasound bill that required women to be shown an ultrasound before an abortion to working to limit funding for Planned Parenthood, Tillis has continually strived to oppose abortion.

Tillis’ sudden decision to support contraceptives is quite baffling. It does not constitute a true change of heart or represent progress on the conservative side towards more women’s rights.

Instead Tillis, along with a handful of other Republicans, is just trying to even up the voter gender gap through false advocacy.