Heinrich, Luján Announce Legislation to Codify Right to Contraception, Ahead of One-Year Mark Since Right to Abortion Struck Down
Right to Contraception Act would protect American’s right to contraception as Supreme Court threatens to roll back more reproductive rights in the wake of Dobbs decision
Ninety percent of Americans support access to all forms of birth control
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) joined Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and U.S. Representative Kathy Manning (D-N.C.) in announcing the reintroduction of the Right to Contraception Act, legislation that would protect and strengthen the right to contraception. Preserving the right to contraception in federal law would reverse steps already taken by MAGA Republicans in states across the country to restrict access to contraceptives and ensure that any future attempt by the far-right majority on the Supreme Court would not endanger access to this essential health care.
The lawmakers first introduced the legislation last July in the wake of Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — which overturned Roe v. Wade and stripped away the Constitutional right to an abortion. In his concurring opinion, Justice Thomas urged the Court to “reconsider” its substantive due process precedents, including the Griswold v. Connecticut decision from over a half century ago that recognized American’s right to contraception,
“Let’s be clear: Taking away a woman’s right to an abortion was just the beginning of a radical right-wing assault on reproductive rights,” said Heinrich. “MAGA Republicans are now pushing to restrict access to contraception in states across the country, and there’s already a Supreme Court Justice ready to back them up. I will fight like hell to stop them. Every American deserves access to health care and medication – whether it’s insulin or contraception.”
“In the wake of overturning Roe, access to reproductive health care is needed now more than ever, especially the right to contraceptives,” said Luján. “The Right to Contraception Act will safeguard the legal right to contraceptives and prohibit restrictions made by extremists. I’m proud to join my colleagues in reintroducing this legislation to ensure individuals have access to contraceptives and the ability to make decisions about their own bodies. The fight for reproductive freedom is far from over, and I’ll stay in the fight.”
“The right to contraception is the right to essential health care, yet extremist judges and radical Republicans continue to threaten access for millions of Americans. We cannot stand by as extremists continue to undo decades of precedent and progress,” said Senator Markey. “Extremist Republicans need to get out of the waiting room and start representing what the vast majority of Americans want: to let health care providers and patients make decisions about what is best for themselves. Contraception access shouldn’t be controversial, and Congress must use this moment to demonstrate clearly that we will act to protect people’s health. I will continue to fight to guarantee the right to contraception into law so that not even the radical-right majority on the Supreme Court can strip it away.”
“Birth control is key to ensuring that women are in control of their own health, bodies, and futures. The Right to Contraception Act safeguards Americans’ ability to obtain this essential reproductive health care, without political interference,” said Congresswoman Kathy Manning. “Last year, this critical legislation passed the House with bipartisan support and ninety percent of Americans agree: Americans should have the right to access all forms of FDA-approved birth control. I’m proud to lead this legislation and I will continue fighting to ensure that extreme state legislatures and radical justices cannot strip Americans of their access to birth control.”
Although nine out of 10 American adults support access to all forms of birth control, several states restrict access to contraceptives by eliminating public funding for it, defining abortion broadly enough to include contraception, and allowing health care providers to deny service related to contraception on the basis of their own beliefs.
Specifically, the Right to Contraception Act would uphold access to contraception by:
- Guaranteeing the legal right for individuals to get and use contraception and for health care providers to provide contraceptives, contraception, and information, referrals, and services related to contraception;
- Prohibiting the federal government or any state from administering, implementing, or enforcing any law, rule, regulation, standard or other provision that would prohibit or restrict the sale, provision, or use of contraception; and
- Allowing the Department of Justice (DOJ), providers, and individuals harmed by restrictions on contraception access made unlawful under the legislation, to go to court to enforce these rights.
In addition to Heinrich, Luján, and Markey, cosponsors in the Senate include Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawai’i), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawai’i), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
In the House, the bill is supported by 71 members.
The Right to Contraception Act is endorsed by Advocates for Youth, AIDS United, American Atheists, American College of Nurse-Midwives, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Americans for Contraception, Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, Catholics for Choice, Center for American Progress, Center for Biological Diversity, CenterLink: The Community of LGBTQ Centers, Coalition to Expand Contraceptive Access, Contraceptive Access Initiative, Equality California, Girls Inc., Hadassah, House Pro-Choice Caucus, Ibis Reproductive Health, Interfaith Alliance, Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health, Minority Veterans of America, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Coalition of STD Directors, National Council of Jewish Women , National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, National Health Law Program, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Women’s Law Center, People For the American Way, Physicians for Reproductive Health, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Population Connection Action Fund, Power to Decide, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Reproductive Health Access Project, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, The Collaborative, and Upstream USA.
A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.