Senate Republicans block the Right to Contraception Act - TAI News
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Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) speaks during a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, June 5, 2024. (Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

On June 5, the U.S. Senate voted on the Right to Contraception Act, a bill that, according to its text,  would be intended “To protect an individual’s ability to access contraceptives and to engage in contraception and to protect a health care provider’s ability to provide contraceptives, contraception, and information related to contraception.” Senate Republicans blocked the bill.

Introduced by Democratic Sens. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, the bill, which needed 60 votes to move forward, failed with just 51 votes in favor and 39 opposing.

“Contraception is health care, essential health care, that millions of people rely on,” Hirono said, according to the Associated Press.

On X, President Joe Biden called the GOP rejection of the bill “at odds with the majority of Americans.”

In a statement, the president said: “Senate Republicans just refused to protect a woman’s right to birth control. This is the second time since the Supreme Court’s extreme decision to overturn Roe v. Wade that Congressional Republicans have refused to safeguard this fundamental right for women in every state. It’s unacceptable.”

In an email sent to the American Independent, Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin said, “Wisconsinites have said loud and clear that they want the right to control their own bodies, families, and futures without interference by judges or politicians. Unfortunately for millions of women, that right is no longer certain.”

The vote came just days before the 59th anniversary of the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Griswold v. Connecticut that established a fundamental right to privacy regarding a person’s reproductive decisions. The ruling paved the way for the legalization of birth control and eventually the decision in Roe v. Wade that found a right to safe and legal abortion.

Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted with Democrats on the bill. However, most Republican lawmakers dismissed the bill as a political ploy by Democrats.

Sen. Katie Britt of Alabama argued that putting the bill before the Senate was intended to be a tactic to scare people about the possibility of losing contraception for partisan political reasons, and Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa claimed the bill went beyond protecting contraception and could make it available to minors.

Before the vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said: “To those who think that federal action protecting access to birth control is unnecessary, just look at what’s happening in states like Virginia and Nevada and Arizona, where Republicans are openly blocking these very protections. … I would hope that protecting access to birth control would be the definition of an easy, uncontroversial decision here in the Senate. But the vote will tell all.”

On June 3, Senate Democrats Cory Booker of New Jersey, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, and Patty Murray of Washington unveiled a legislative package aimed at protecting in vitro fertilization called the Right to IVF Act. The act would protect the right to receive IVF, make the procedure more affordable, and expand access to fertility treatment for veterans. 

According to CBS News, Schumer has indicated he will bring the IVF bill to the Senate floor for a vote as soon as next week. 

In response to the vote on contraception, Reproductive Freedom for All president and CEO Mini Timmaraju said in a statement, “Their refusal to protect this popular and fundamental right tells us everything we need to know—and voters won’t forget it this November. … As Republican lawmakers and Donald Trump continue to threaten access to contraception, protecting it is more important than ever.”

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