WASHINGTON — The House on Thursday passed a bill that would protect access to birth control at the federal level, as Democratic lawmakers say they fear the Supreme Court’s recent ruling ending the constitutional right to abortion could undermine danger of other protections.
The bill passed 228-195, with eight Republicans on the Democratic side, while two Republicans voted present. It follows another bill passed this week to protect same-sex and interracial marriage, in which about four dozen Republicans joined Democrats.
Democrats are seen as the underdogs in November’s House midterm elections, and they staged a series of privacy-related votes. Many Republicans have accused Democrats of playing politics by arranging votes on rights that aren’t in jeopardy and crafting legislation that GOP lawmakers can’t accept because of concerns about abortion or abuse. other problems.
“Should we do a session on birds and bees? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) on Thursday said her response to Republicans who oppose the birth control bill. “You don’t want birth control, but you want female control.”
The law protects access to any contraceptive device, including all contraceptive products approved by the Food and Drug Administration, including intrauterine devices called IUDs and emergency contraception such as Plan B.
GOP lawmakers who opposed the contraceptive bill said it could open the door to broader access to abortion or potentially force medical workers to provide contraception even if it goes to the against their religious beliefs.
Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R., Iowa), a physician, said the legislation “removes conscience protection laws and clarifies that all providers would be required to administer contraceptives despite their moral or religious beliefs.” because the bill lacks language protecting physicians. Democrats say the bill requires the government, not individual providers, to enforce the right to contraceptives.
Miller-Meeks, along with GOP Representatives Nancy Mace of South Carolina and Ashley Hinson of Iowa, introduced legislation on Wednesday to improve access to over-the-counter birth control pills that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
“I have and will continue to support women through increased access to health care resources like these,” said Ms. Mace, who voted for the Democrats’ bill. She showed up for the votes with tape on the back of her jacket that read, “My state prohibits exceptions, protect birth control.”
Ms Mace, who spoke out against abortion except in cases of rape, incest and danger to the life of the mother, said access to emergency contraceptives was particularly important in states that had prohibits abortion.
A Democratic-led effort in the Senate to pass a similar contraception bill by unanimous consent failed Thursday afternoon, when Sen. Joni Ernst (R., Iowa) objected. Senate Democrats have not announced a plan to hold a floor vote. The legislation, along with the same-sex marriage bill, would need the support of at least 10 Republicans to advance in the equally divided Senate.
According to the National Survey of Family Growth, 2017-2019, approximately 65% of women ages 15-49 in the United States used contraception. Gallup opinion polls show that access to contraceptives is supported by more than 9 in 10 Americans.
In 1965 the Supreme Court ruled in Griswold v. Connecticut that the U.S. Constitution protected the freedom of married couples to purchase and use contraceptives without government restriction, overriding a Connecticut law that prohibited birth control. A later decision guaranteed access to all people, regardless of their marital status.
Some conservative state legislatures discussed access to contraception following the Supreme Court ruling on abortion. Idaho State Rep. Brent Crane — the Republican chairman of the House State Affairs Committee, which oversees abortion laws in the state — told local reporters that he would like to discuss the banning of emergency contraceptives.
A Louisiana House committee earlier this month passed a bill stipulating that ‘human personality’ begins at the time of fertilization, which abortion rights advocates like Ms Pelosi say could be used to ban intrauterine devices and emergency contraception. The state’s Democratic governor said he would veto the bill if it passes.
In a concurring opinion last month when the Supreme Court overturned Roe, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that if Roe’s legal foundations were wrong, then the foundations of other unenumerated rights in the Constitution that the Court has recognized over the decades, such as the right to same-sex marriage and contraception.
—Teresa Mettela contributed to this article.
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