Bill reintroduced in Congress gives federal protection for right to birth control access

WASHINGTON, D.C. — There’s another push in Congress to give federal protection for the right to access birth control after similar efforts failed last year.


Congressional Democrats have reintroduced the Right to Contraception Act, which codifies the right for individuals to access and use birth control and for healthcare providers to provide it, according to the bill’s sponsors.

“It protects the full range of FDA approved contraceptive methods including birth control pills, IUDs and emergency contraceptives like Plan B,” said Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC), a sponsor of the House bill.

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“Your healthcare is your business,” said Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA). “This is fundamentally about freedom.”

Supporters say it’s necessary after last year’s U.S. Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade, which overturned the federal right to abortion.

It’s also in direct response to conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas signaling he wants the high court to reconsider birth control access, too.

“We have a good reason to be gravely concerned about access to contraception,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), a sponsor of the Senate bill. “The Right to Contraception Act would set the bare minimum standard that the right to contraception should be protected even if the Supreme Court overturns settled precedent.”

Nearly all U.S. women who have been sexually active have used some form of birth control at some point in their lives, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The proposal in Congress comes as at least ten states have passed some kind of restriction on access to emergency contraception.

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Those states include Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota and Texas, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

This is the second time Congressional Democrats have introduced the bill.

It passed in the House last year, but it was blocked by Senate Republicans.

In last year’s House vote, 195 Republicans voted against the measure.

“H.R. 8373 is a trojan horse for more abortions,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers in July 2022. “It should be called the payouts for Planned Parenthood Act.”

Anti-abortion rights groups say the measure would override state and federal freedom of conscience laws and would exclude the application of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

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“Far from being a bill that simply allows for access to contraception, this bill seeks to bail out the abortion industry, trample conscience rights, and require uninhibited access to dangerous chemical abortion drugs,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.

The bill is likely to fail again this year since there is a divided Congress, which includes a GOP-led House.

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