Reynolds supports over-the-counter birth control


Thomas A. Stewart

Kim Reynolds speaks at the Second Annual Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 13, 2018. Reynolds is running for a full term in the 2018 gubernatorial election. (Thomas A. Stewart/ Daily Iowan)

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, said she would support allowing access to birth control without a prescription.

In a debate Oct. 17 in Sioux City, Reynolds unveiled the plan when moderators directed a question at her asking about her support for the unborn and her support for women’s access to birth control.

“I will be working with the Legislature next year to do what Utah did and make birth-control pills available at pharmacies across the state,” Reynolds said after affirming her stance as pro-life.

Currently, birth control is available at a pharmacy when the purchaser has a prescription from a doctor, but it is not available over-the-counter in Iowa.

Reynolds is up for election in a race against Des Moines businessman Fred Hubbell, a Democrat. A former board member of Planned Parenthood, he has made women’s access to abortion and affordable family-planning services a key component of his campaign.

“I am an unabashed supporter of Roe v. Wade,” Hubbell said during the debate.

Reynolds has repeatedly indicated her support for a controversial law passed in the 2018 legislative session that would ban most abortions in the state of Iowa. The law has been on hold as a lawsuit against the state winds through the courts.

Currently, fewer than 10 states allow the purchase of contraceptives without a prescription and also allow them to be purchased without a copay or deductible.

According to a statement from a Reynolds’ spokesperson, the governor would like to see a bill introduced in the next legislative session that mirrors policies passed in Oregon and Utah.

Reynolds believes her proposal would eliminate barriers women face — especially women in rural Iowa — obtaining safe and effective birth control and preventing unintended pregnancies and abortions,” spokeswoman Brenna Smith said.

The policy announcement comes after a successful Republican-backed campaign to block state funding for Planned Parenthood in 2017. The state recently reported that two-thirds of funds have gone unused for the state’s family-planning program, an insurance program that covers birth control, STD testing, and other services for low-income individuals.

— Julia Shanahan