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Thom Tillis tries to mansplain away his contraceptives contradiction

In last week’s North Carolina Senate debate, Speaker Thom Tillis declared his support for over the counter access to birth control, a statement that flies in the face of not only his earlier comments on contraceptives in particular, but his broader record on reproductive rights. Tillis’ proclamation in last week’s debate, no doubt a deliberate attempt to whitewash his position on these issues in the face of a significant gender gap in the race, rightfully earned the scorn of his hometown paper, the Charlotte Observer.

The paper’s Sunday editorial referred to Tillis’ contraceptives comments as having the “pungent odor of politicking,” considering his previous support for defunding Planned Parenthood and dangerous personhood amendments that could severely limit access to or even criminalize women’s health services. The Observer notes that his support for over the counter birth control is “quite the turnaround,” given that earlier this year, during his bid to secure the GOP nomination for Senate, Tillis agreed with his fellow GOP candidates that states should be able to ban contraceptives, according to a report from the Raleigh News & Observer.

In the days following last week’s debate, Tillis’ true rationale for supporting over the counter birth control has been called into question, so what’s an extreme GOP candidate to do? Try and mansplain the contradiction away, of course. In an interview with POLITICO, not only does Tillis flatly deny that he has changed his position on contraceptives, he attempts to erroneously blame Senator Kay Hagan for clarifying what was actually his position just a few short months ago:

“I don’t know why it’s a surprise,” Tillis said in the interview this weekend. “I’ve never been in a situation, unlike what Sen. Hagan said — I’ve never been against — at some point I think she suggested I would ban contraception. That’s absurd. I would never do that. The question I think then had more to with taxpayer funding.”

The “absurd” claim in question? From the News & Observer in January: “At a GOP forum last month, candidates also said they thought states had the right to ban contraceptives. Tillis, who skipped the event, later said he agreed.”

POLITICO’s recap of the interview with Tillis says that he “dismisses ‘mansplaining’ charges,” but in reality, Tillis just goes back to his default position of mansplaining away legitimate criticisms of his record on women’s health; put simply, he mansplains away the mansplaining charges. Thom Tillis: a meta-mansplainer for the ages, and too extreme for North Carolina.