House Dems to take up birth control this week
The Right to Contraception Act is one of a series of bills lawmakers are working on to protects rights the Supreme Court has indicated could at risk in the near future.
First Things First
From the moment we learned the Supreme Court would ultimately overturn Roe v. Wade, the almost-50-year-old decision that protected the right to abortion care, Democratic politicians and pro-choice advocates warned that the ruling was an affront to the fundamental right to privacy on which other opinions were based.
This isn’t speculative either: Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson, the case that repealed Roe, called on the court to “correct the error” established in the precedents that protect the right of married people to obtain contraceptives, the right to engage in private, consensual sexual acts and the right right to same-sex marriage.
In response, House Democrats are introducing a series of bills that would codify these precedents and demonstrate a proactiveness to take action before the Supreme Court ever hears cases on these issues. (On Friday, the House passed the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would make Roe v. Wade the law of the land, and the Ensuring Women’s Right to Reproductive Freedom Act, a bill that allows people to cross state lines to seek and receive abortion care without fear of prosecution.)
First up on Tuesday is the Right to Contraception Act. If passed, the government would be prohibited from interfering with a person’s ability to access birth control, a health care provider’s ability to provide it and the flow of information about the practice of preventing unwanted pregnancies. The bill also protects interstate access to medication abortion, the method that more than have of pregnant people use to exercise their right to choose.
“This legislation, introduced by Rep. Kathy Manning, will protect in federal statute the rights enshrined in Griswold v. Connecticut and in Eisenstadt v. Baird,” House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer said in a statement last Friday. “American women deserve to be able to make decisions about their own bodies and their own lives, including whether to become pregnant and have children.”
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