Tillis made the argument during a debate against Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) on Wednesday night.
"First, I believe contraception should be available and probably more broadly than it is today," Tillis said. "I actually agree with the American Medical Association that we should make contraception more widely available. I think over the counter oral contraception should be available without a prescription. If you do those kinds of things you will actually increase the access and reduce the barriers for having more options for women for contraception."
Tillis's comments come a day after Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO), the Republican nominee in Colorado, released a new ad moving farther away from his previous support for the Personhood set of restrictions on contraceptive care and arguing for easy access to birth control.
Later on during the debate the conversation veered back toward contraception. Hagan alluded to Tillis' role in helping to move a controversial anti-abortion bill through the state legislature as well as Tillis's support for the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling, which determined for-profit employers can opt out of covering birth control for their employees.
"I think once again Speaker Tillis doesn't understand the needs of women," Hagan said. "The fact that he supports the Hobby Lobby decision that does allow an employer to deny access to birth control for their employees. I would certainly support over the counter contraception but I want it to be part of the prescription drug plan if these individuals are working for a for-profit company. That's what Speaker Tillis would deny."
"Once again women, we're stuck holding the bill. We would have to pay out of the pocket which all the other situations would not," Hagan continued. "I think Speaker Tillis has the wrong priorities."