NC Congressman: Access to birth control must be protected

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In this August 26, 2016, file photo, a month-long dose of hormonal birth control pills is displayed in Sacramento, California.

In this August 26, 2016, file photo, a month-long dose of hormonal birth control pills is displayed in Sacramento, California.

PA

The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, who demolished the constitutional right to abortion, has created a deep sense of fear and uncertainty in women of all ages. Two generations of women grew up believing that the reproductive freedoms recognized in Roe v. Wade were established law. Now the ground is moving under their feet.

Take it from a group of girls at a fire camp hosted by the Greensboro Fire Department. During my recent visit with them, the first question asked was, “Now that Roe is knocked down, what will happen to us?”

The angst over this issue has highlighted two things: the women in my district are terribly worried about their reproductive future, and I have to fight for them in Congress.

The next battlefield has been clearly delineated. This time politicians are attacking our right to use birth control.

Kathy Manning Photo 1.jpg
WE. Rep. Kathy Manning

In his opinion Dobbs, Justice Clarence Thomas explicitly called for a re-examination of the constitutional right to contraception, first recognized in Griswold v. Connecticut of 1965. Her words added fuel to the fire that had been smoldering for years as hardline lawmakers across the country tried to curb women’s access to contraceptives. Radical politicians have confused abortion with contraception and spread misinformation to support their extreme positions.

It’s 2022. We shouldn’t have to explain that access to birth control is a matter of equality. This is essential to ensure women can complete their education, get good jobs, protect their health, plan their families, and build economically secure and fulfilling lives.

Here are the facts: almost all women will use birth control at some point in their lives, and 96% of voters support access to birth control.

So why are politicians attacking something so critical to women’s lives, and so clearly endorsed by voters? It’s simple: it’s about control.

I will not allow extremist politicians to deprive women of private health care rights and choices. We have to stop playing defense and start playing attack.

That’s why I introduced the Right to Birth Control Act to Congress. My bill creates a federal legal right to birth control, protecting a full range of birth control methods, including birth control pills, IUDs, and emergency contraceptives. It prohibits states or government officials from violating these rights.

The United States House of Representatives passed my bill last week with the support of eight Republicans. Unfortunately, none of these Republicans were from North Carolina.

The speeches against my bill were alarming. The extremists opposite either did not read the bill or were shamelessly lying about it.

They have made it shockingly clear that they are prepared to limit the types of birth control available to women. It was a warning to all who value the freedom to choose the type of birth control that works best for them.

Now it’s in the Senate. I hope the Senate will recognize the importance of giving women the freedom to use contraceptives – a freedom that senators, their wives, mothers and daughters have had for more than 50 years.

I listened to the women and girls in my neighborhood. I fought for their voices to be heard and for their fundamental rights to be recognized. I look forward to the day the Senate passes my bill, so that we can show women and girls, especially the promising future firefighters in my district, that their voices matter and they will have the freedom to sue their dreams with their guaranteed reproductive rights.

US Representative Kathy Manning is a Democrat who represents North Carolina’s 6th congressional district. She lives in Greensboro.

This story was originally published July 25, 2022 5:00 a.m.

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