Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bill Cassidy favors over-the-counter sales of birth control.
The Baton Rouge congressman recently gave his opinion to an LSU journalism student on Tiger TV, a campus television station.
After criticizing the Affordable Care Act in an Oct. 28 interview, Laryssa Bonacquisti, a student from Dallas, asked if the government should make it easier for young, sexually active people to get birth control. “The Pill” is widely used in the United States to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Cassidy replied that contraception should be sold over the counter.
“It actually then increases your freedom. It removes the government from the decision at all. And since I’m a doctor and since the College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has recommended it, I’m okay with that. If the docs who care for women think that’s the way it should be, then that’s the way it should be,” Cassidy said, using the former name of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “We should just remove the government from the decision, allow it to be sold over the counter.”
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, that group of doctors who care for women, by the way, also advocates against laws that restrict access to abortion, such as the one Louisiana recently passed that requires physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Cassidy’s first public appearance after the primary election was to receive the endorsement of a national anti-abortion group.
Everyone was all smiles after the interview, which was held at the Tiger TV studios in Hodges Hall on the LSU campus, recalls Kristen Althouse, of Mandeville, who at the time was the station’s news director. (She now is station manager of Tiger TV.)
The next day, however, Cassidy’s communications director, John Cummins, sent Bonacquisti a scathing email, blistering the young student for acting unprofessionally by asking a question not on the list approved by the campaign, Althouse said,
Cassidy, Cummins and other staffers on his campaign did not respond to three requests for comment Wednesday.
Tiger TV is a television channel that operates on campus and is designed as a learning workshop for LSU journalism students. The interview became more public when radio talk show host, Jim Engster, who is on a student media advisory committee, played portions of the interview on Tuesday.
While access to contraception was one of the major issues in the 2012 presidential campaign, the subject has been little mentioned in Louisiana Senate race.
In Washington, the debate has broken along party lines with much of the controversy focusing on whether birth control should be easily available and, if so, the way to pay for it.
Wisconsin Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, whom Cassidy often cites as one of the congressmen he most admires, sponsored legislation called the “Sanctity of Human Life Act,” which would define life as beginning at conception and would eliminate most common forms of birth control.
Both chambers of Congress, as well as the judiciary, also have been bickering over whether corporations of a certain size should be required to provide to their employees health care insurance that covered contraception.