GOP Senate Republicans Block Bill Protecting Access to Contraception

Senate Republicans Block Bill Protecting Access to Contraception

In a vote intended to highlight the differences between the two parties on women’s reproductive decisions ahead of the fall election, Senate Republicans rejected a Democratic proposal to safeguard access to contraception worldwide.

The bill, which contained regulations for emergency contraceptive drugs such as Plan B, was supported by 51 senators and opposed by 39, falling short of the 60 votes required to move under chamber rules.

The vote was the first in a series intended by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) to portray Republicans as not just anti-abortion but also anti-contraception and in vitro fertilization. It is part of an election-year campaign that Schumer and other top Democrats believe will rally suburban women, a critical bloc of swing voters.

Republicans, the majority of whom support abortion restrictions, accuse Democrats of inciting anxiety and claim that there is no actual threat to contraception or IVF in the courts or Congress. They said that the Democrats’ contraceptive plan would provide broad safeguards that would violate religious and parental rights.

In an interview, Schumer expressed his desire to continue pressuring Republicans on the issue ahead of the November elections. Nearly two years after the Supreme Court overturned federal constitutional safeguards for abortion access, he claims the argument is more politically charged than ever.

“It’s an even bigger issue in the heads of the American people” than it was in 2022, he explained.

Schumer claims that Republicans are outside the mainstream on reproductive issues and that placing them on the record clarifies their beliefs to the public. He claims that many people assumed Roe v. Wade’s abortion laws would never be removed until they were.

“Look what happened,” he explained. “We have to be on guard.”

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Montana) claimed the votes demonstrate Schumer’s desperation. Democrats now control the Senate 51-49, but they will have an uphill struggle in the fall to maintain their majority.

“It’s a political stunt,” said Daines, who leads the Senate Republicans’ campaigns arm. “And they’re just doing this to create an issue because they can’t argue on any other issues right now because they’re failing on inflation, they’re losing on the border, they’re failing on national security, they’re losing on energy.”

Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, both centrist Republicans, crossed party lines to support the contraceptive bill. “I sent a message expressing my support for women’s access to contraception.” “If this is a messaging vote, that’s my message,” Murkowski stated. “This is a contraceptive! We thought we resolved this 50 or 60 years ago!”

She stated that her party could do a better job communicating about reproductive rights following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling, which abolished the right to abortion.

“I think it’s been less than clear,” Murkowski explained.

House Democrats filed a petition this week to force a vote on their contraception bill, and the Biden campaign announced Wednesday that it would hold events in key swing states around the Senate vote and the Friday anniversary of the 1965 ruling by the Supreme Court in Griswold v. Connecticut, in which the judges ruled that married couples have the right to use contraception.

Schumer stated that the Senate will vote again on a package of bills that would establish a legal obligation to access IVF services, allow veterans to freeze their eggs before deployment to a battle zone or other hazardous assignment, and require employer-sponsored and public health plans to cover fertility treatments.

birthcontrol hobbylobby 063014getty
GOP Senate Republicans Block Bill Protecting Access to Contraception 3

Abortion rights are popular among voters in a politically varied range of states, including Michigan, Ohio, and Kansas. The issue might be on ballots in at least a half-dozen states in November, including Senate battlegrounds like Arizona, Montana, and Florida. Bringing contraception and IVF into the discussion is more fresh, and it remains to be seen if people will believe such rights are under threat.

Democrats refer to the Alabama Supreme Court’s February decision that embryos are considered minors under the law. The ruling temporarily disrupted IVF availability in the state before the Republican legislature approved legislation exempting IVF providers from civil and criminal responsibility.

An Arizona Supreme Court ruling in April, which reinstated a Civil War-era rule prohibiting abortion throughout pregnancy, aided Democrats in convincing people that their rights are always threatened. A tiny group of Republicans teamed with Democrats in the state to abolish the statute.

Former President Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee, sparked renewed attention in contraception last month when he was questioned in an interview if he would favor limits and replied that his team was “looking into that.” He also stated that the issue had “a lot to do with the states.”

According to the Guttmacher Institute, an activist group that supports abortion rights and records national and state statistics, state legislators have passed around a dozen legislation safeguarding access to contraception this year, typically with bipartisan backing. Republicans in numerous states, including Virginia, Nevada, and Arizona, opposed similar legislation.

Several states discussed measures this year that would mandate parental notification or permission when minors receive contraceptives. According to Guttmacher, Tennessee recently enacted legislation granting parents access to their children’s medical records about contraception.

Some anti-abortion organizations and Republicans reject the use of some common types of contraception, such as intrauterine devices, or IUDs, and the morning-after pill Plan B, a hormonal medicine that can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. They claim they are abortifacients that kill unborn children.

Senator Joni Ernst (R., Iowa) stated that Plan B was a “red line” for her. She has offered an alternate measure that would make certain contraceptives more accessible without a prescription, but it excludes emergency contraception. “My goal is to prevent pregnancy, not end pregnancy,” she stated.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that none of the Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, including the IUD or morning-after pill, are sterilizing agents because they don’t interfere with pregnancy and aren’t effective after a fertilized egg has successfully implanted in the uterus.

Three percent of suburban women said abortion was the most significant topic on which they would vote in a recent Wall Street Journal poll of seven crucial states. Of them, over three-quarters felt that the operation should be permitted either always or most of the time, and most thought that Trump’s abortion restrictions were too onerous.

Voters are not questioning Sen. Rick Scott (R., Fla.) about contraception, he claimed. Their inquiry concerns inflation. They have a border question for me. They want to know about my foreign policy, Scott added.

Sen. Tim Kaine, D., Virginia, however, warned Republicans to ignore the significance of abortion rights at their own risk. The economy is essential, Kaine declared. “But to tell voters, ‘You don’t care about anything’—they’ll tell you what matters to them. And ever after Dobbs, they have been expressing their concerns in election after election.


Did Republicans block a federal right to access contraception?

Senate Republicans blocked legislation Wednesday that would enshrine a federal right to access contraception, sinking the Democratic-led measure.

Will Democrats’ vote on the Right to Contraception Act be phony?

In a statement, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said, “It’s a huge overreach. It doesn’t make any exceptions for conscience. It’s a phony vote because contraception, to my knowledge, is not illegal. It’s not unavailable.”

What is the Right to Contraception Act?

The Right to Contraception Act, introduced by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., seeks to codify people’s right to use and protect health care providers’ right to distribute contraceptives.

Read More:

History’s Biggest Tragedy: Trump Will be in Jail During GOP Presidential Nomination


The Wall Street Journal

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *