Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) voted July 21, 2022, to defend Americans’ right to access birth control. The Right to Contraception Act passed with all Democrats and eight Republicans voting in favor, weeks after Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurrence in Dobbs urged the Supreme Court to “reconsider” its landmark Griswold v. Connecticut ruling.
Griswold, a case about contraception, established a constitutional right to privacy that was the basis for the Roe v. Wade abortion protections which the Court overruled in Dobbs.
“Today House Democrats again acted to check an out-of-control conservative majority on the Supreme Court, which has shown its clear intent to eliminate Americans’ freedoms,” said Rep. Beyer. “Americans have a right to privacy, and that right includes the right to make their own family planning decisions without interference from the government. My Republican colleagues have argued that this vote was unnecessary because the protections conferred under Griswold are not under threat, but Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion and their own votes today make it clear that this is not true. In the past seven days, House Republicans have overwhelmingly voted against abortion rights, protecting the right to interstate travel for reproductive care, marriage equality, and now contraception. The contrast could not be clearer.”
Following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs, right-wing legislators in Idaho and Louisiana are already using the Dobbs decision to begin restricting access to contraception, while other Republicans have called Griswold “constitutionally unsound,” “wrongly decided” and “an issue that should have been left up to the states.” The Right to Contraception Act establishes a statutory right to obtain, use, and provide contraception under federal law — preempting Republican attempts to criminalize contraception.
Contraceptive use is crucial to preventing unintended pregnancies, preventing and treating a wide array of medical conditions and decreasing the risk of certain cancers. Access to contraception also advances economic equity – leading to higher wages and lower rates of poverty. Support for contraception is nearly universal: 96 percent of voters support having access to contraception and 99 percent of U.S. women who have been sexually active report having used some form of contraception.