Flashback: Republicans Can’t Stop Talking About Over-the-Counter Birth Control. “The controversy has put Democratic candidates in the odd position of seemingly opposing a policy proposal that voters are inclined to believe they support: the availability of birth control without a doctor’s prescription.”

Related: Over-the-Counter Contraception Is Immensely Popular. But Democrats Have Doomed It.

Rather than working with Republicans to craft a compromise measure—say, one that protected insurance coverage for contraception but also paved the way for over-the-counter pills—and helping to secure a rare bipartisan win for women’s health care, liberals actively advocated against conservative colleagues’ efforts.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, suggested, without evidence, that making pills available over the counter would hike costs for individual women to $600 a year. Republican politicians pushing for OTC pills, she said, would somehow “drag women back to the 1950s.”

In 2014, Planned Parenthood’s political arm bought ads in multiple states. “In its first TV ad buy of the 2014 cycle,” noted HuffPost, “Planned Parenthood’s political arm is warning voters in North Carolina and Colorado that Republican Senate candidates’ support for over-the-counter birth control is not what it seems.” . . .

This was a dark moment in Democratic politics: Even as they ramped up efforts to portray Republicans as the harbingers of a Handmaid’s Tale scenario and to portray themselves as hip to the needs of marginalized groups, Democrats sacrificed an opportunity to help women struggling to obtain birth control prevent unintended pregnancies. Instead, at the expense of undocumented immigrants, low-income women, victims of domestic violence, and others, they opted to help middle-class women save $10 a month—and prop up insurance providers, pharmaceutical companies, and the Democratic fundraising machine in the process.

All the while, they insisted that they were putting contraception in reach for more American women. But evidence suggests they were merely shifting around costs.

Planned Parenthood is a big provider of birth control prescriptions.