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Congressional Democrats introduce new bill to protect access to birth control

Chris Graham
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Democrats in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate are working on legislation that would codify the right for Americans to have access to FDA-approved birth control into federal law.

The Right to Contraception Act would seem to have a hard, if not impossible, track getting through the Republican-majority U.S. House, despite public-opinion polls showing nine in ten Americans support protecting basic access to birth control.

This is today’s reminder that elections matter.

“When the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Dobbs, Justice Thomas explicitly called into question additional rights beyond access to legal abortion — including the right to use contraception,” said Seventh District Democrat Abigail Spanberger, who is co-sponsoring the 2023 Right to Contraception Act.

Similar legislation introduced in 2022 passed the House, which last year had a Democratic majority, but failed to even get a vote in the Senate, after Iowa Republican Joni Ernst put a block on consideration, putting the bill under threat of a filibuster.

See above about how elections matter.

The 2022 bill, and its 2023 update, are both framed as responses to the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which upended reproductive and substantive due process rights.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a concurrence in that case explicitly called for the reconsideration of multiple rights — including the constitutional right to contraception.

“All Americans deserve privacy in making their own healthcare decisions. And all providers deserve the freedom to provide the most accurate information to their patients,” Spanberger said. “Today, I’m joining more than 80 of my colleagues in introducing legislation to protect these rights, guarantee the right of all Americans to access contraception, and safeguard rights that have been afforded to Americans for generations.”

The 2023 bill would create a statutory right for providers to dispense contraception and provide information about contraception, as well as for patients to access contraception. The bill would also create a statutory definition of contraception for the very first time.

The bill would not impact insurance coverage of contraception.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].