Can an over-the-counter birth control push pay off for Republicans?

The party hopes its stance, widely shared by healthcare providers, will help neutralize tough debates over birth control coverage and cut into Democrats’ traditional advantage among women voters.

“Cory’s proposal puts women in control,” said Alex Siciliano, spokesman for Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), the first 2014 Senate candidate to talk up the idea.

“Making oral contraception available to adults at every pharmacy, without the trouble of a doctor’s visit, would drop the retail price and save money and time and hassle,” Siciliano said in a statement.

But Democrats have not embraced the overtures, calling them a confused ploy to distract women from the GOP’s opposition to abortion rights and universal coverage for birth control.

“Access to contraception and family planning services aren’t election-year gimmicks,” said Kristin Lynch, spokeswoman for Gardner’s opponent, Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.).