September 11, 2014 6:05 AM EDT

Republicans may have found an answer to the Democrats’ accusation that they are leading a “war on women” in the most unexpected place: the women’s-health section of your local pharmacy.

At least four GOP Senate candidates are calling for birth control pills to be available over the counter. “I actually agree with the American Medical Association that we should make contraception more widely available,” GOP candidate Thom Tillis said in a debate with Democratic Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina.

The pitch unsettles liberal groups, who find themselves arguing against something they usually support: greater availability of birth control.

But they accuse Republicans of deception, pointing out that the proposal could raise out-of-pocket costs for women, since insurers tend not to cover medication sold over the counter.

In Colorado, Democratic groups launched a five-figure television ad campaign on Sept. 8 to push back at challenger Cory Gardner’s embrace of the proposal. A spokesman for Democratic incumbent Mark Udall and an official with Planned Parenthood Action Fund said they would consider the idea only if it’s coupled with a mandate requiring insurers to pay.

This appears in the September 22, 2014 issue of TIME.

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