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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Thom Tillis supports birth control only to gain support

“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.


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  • C

    ChristopherSep 20, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Thom Tillis, among a growing number of Republicans are indeed supporting over the counter access to birth control. If you want to know why, look no further than the organization that does not support over the counter access to birth control: Planned Parenthood. Yes, that’s right; the organization that champions women’s health (and has found a number of supporters from students writing in the Guilfordian) is against this measure proposed by Republicans. But why?

    I’ll get to the reason why later. But supporting over-the-counter access to normally prescribed contraception makes sense for anti-abortion advocates, and for obvious reasons. The more access to contraception, the less likely women will seek abortion. It also makes sense for Republicans to support such a measure. For years Democrats have been lambasting Republicans for waging “The War on Women.” By supporting further access to contraception, and thereby watching the left freak out about their motives (See above), they can effectively show how insincere the left is about the “War on Women.” How?

    Democrats have enjoyed much support and lobbying from Planned Parenthood. PP has sponsored pro-Democrat/anti-Republican commercials, donated cash, and they even have their own Political Action Committee. Democrats, in exchange for such support, grants/backs public funding to the non-profit organization. Now here is the kicker: PP’s budget is over a billion dollars and one third of their services are attributed to, you guessed it, contraception. Ergo, if Republicans can help women get cheap over the counter access to contraception, they can effectively destroy one third of one of the most ardent supporters of Democrats in Congress and state legislatures nationwide. In addition, as Democrats and Planned Parenthood scramble to denounce the measure, Republicans can also demonstrate just how disingenuous the left is when they claim to support easy and cheap access to women’s health care. NOW, who’s waging the “War on Women?”

    Every accusation from the left criticizing Republican support for cheap over-the-counter access to birth control should be viewed in the above context. Accusations of the “War on Women” have been one of the many ways Democrats scare women into the voting booth. You see, it isn’t about women’s health after all, but a means to turn out women in the polls. It isn’t about access to contraception, but a means to place women in a victim category with no other hero but the Democrat Party. It isn’t about easy and cheap access to women’s health care, it’s about protecting one of their most reliable lobbying groups. Now champions of the left are scrambling to frame the Republican support for contraception as anti-women.

    I’m willing to bet that the author of the above article is not an advocate of Republicans. I will further speculate that if Republicans and Democrats were in perfect agreement on a plan that he/could stand behind, he/she would still champion other liberal causes not referenced here. Thus, his/her support for Democrats isn’t going to change on a single issue. If true, then the above opinion piece amounts to what I said in the previous paragraph; “champions of the left are scrambling to frame the Republican support for contraception as anti-women.”

    Anti-Abortion Republicans have every incentive to support Thom Tillis. After all, pro contraception is in fact anti-abortion. Pro-choice Democrats have every political incentive to denounce “new found” Republican support for easy affordable access to women’s health care. Indeed, it would take one of their favored women’s scare tactics off of the political table. Pro-Democrat voters, who wouldn’t vote for Republicans even if they were in perfect agreement on women’s health, have every incentive to denounce Tillis as a façade as seen in the article above. Health conscious women voters have every incentive to support cheap and easy access to contraception.

    I will expect more articles like the one above appearing in publications nationwide, but with the full understanding that politics, not women’s health, is pressing the ink to the parchment. Indeed, what would it hurt to simply make over-the-counter an option on select drugs? Easily answered, it would hurt flawed Democrat talking points and favored donors.