Senators seek swift passage of the Right to Contraception Act in the Senate following last week’s passage in the House

Washington (July 26, 2022) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today announced their effort to pass the Right to Contraception Act this week in the Senate, following passage of companion legislation in the House of Representatives last week—despite nearly the entire House Republican caucus voting against the bill. The Right to Contraception Act would codify the right to contraception, which the Supreme Court first recognized more than half a century ago in its decision in Griswold v. Connecticut. Codifying the constitutional right to obtain contraceptives would reverse actions red states have already taken to restrict access to contraception and ensure that an overturning of the Griswold decision by the far-right Supreme Court majority would not endanger access to contraceptives. The senators will move forward on Wednesday to pass the Right to Contraception Act through unanimous consent on the floor of the Senate.

"When the far-right Supreme Court majority overruled Roe v. Wade and rolled back the constitutional right to an abortion, Justice Thomas made clear that he and his colleagues should go further in repealing fundamental and constitutional rights that Americans have had for decades,” said Senator Markey. “We must act now to prevent extremists from taking away another basic right by codifying into federal law the right to contraception.”

“Right now, one of the most powerful judges in the country is writing about overturning the right to contraception, Republican state legislators are working to restrict women’s ability to get the birth control of their choice, and House Republicans have voted against protecting Americans’ right to use birth control,”said Senator Murray. “Americans depend on the right to use birth control to control their own bodies and make their own decisions about when to start a family—and we must protect it. This is a basic, fundamental right—so Americans will be watching closely to see if Republican colleagues stand in our way as we work to pass the Right to Contraception Act.”

“Overturning Roe has wreaked havoc across the country, and radical Republicans are just getting started,” said Senator Hirono. “Everyone in this country needs to realize that nothing is off the table, and that’s why we must now protect the right to contraception. Our bill, the Right to Contraception Act, would create a statutory right for individuals to access contraception. This bill also protects the right of health care providers to provide contraceptives to their patients, it also empowers individuals by extending a private right of action against any state or government official that hinders these rights. We need to put every single Republican on the record on whether they support the right to contraception and, indeed, the right to bodily autonomy.”

“I refuse to let my daughters grow up in a world with fewer rights than I had. As Republicans continue their march toward a nationwide abortion ban, I will do everything in my power to ensure that Illinois remains a safe haven for all women seeking reproductive care,” said Senator Duckworth. “It is as important as ever that the Senate modify its rules to allow a majority to enshrine the right to contraception into law so that every American in every state has equal access to basic, necessary healthcare—regardless of their skin color, zip code or income. It’s time for my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to tell the American people where they stand.”

On July 19, the Senators introduced the Right to Contraception Act with the backing of over half of the Senate Democratic caucus. The legislation’s original co-sponsors include Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

The Right to Contraception Act is endorsed by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Women’s Law Center, National Organization for Women, Power to Decide, National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, Reproductive Health Access Project, Catholics for Choice, Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, Upstream USA, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Partnership for Women & Families, Jewish Women International, Positive Women’s Network-USA, and the National Council of Jewish Women.