Washington (June 5, 2024) - Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee’s Subcommittee on Primary Health & Retirement Security, along with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) blasted Senate Republicans who voted against the lawmakers’ Right to Contraception Act. The group held a press conference alongside reproductive rights groups today calling on Congress to pass the Right to Contraception Act, which would guarantee the right for people to obtain and use contraceptives and for health providers to prescribe contraceptives, and give information related to contraception, free from government interference.

The vote comes at a crucial time as right-wing judges, U.S. Supreme Court Justices, and Republican-led state governments work to restrict contraception access across the country. Some states have attempted to ban some or all contraceptives, and others have defined abortion so broadly so as to include contraceptives in abortion bans. Despite nine out of ten voters believing that birth control should be legal, Senate Republicans have blocked the bill from passing twice already, once in 2022 and again in 2023.

“Today, we asked every Senator whether or not they support the right to contraception. Republicans resoundingly said no, while Democrats showed unequivocally that they will fight for Americans’ health, freedom, and equality. Republicans will mislead, and they’ll hide behind excuses. When given the opportunity to protect the right to contraception, they chose instead to pursue the MAGA anti-freedom, anti-choice agenda,” said Senator Markey.

“Thanks to Donald Trump and the right-wing MAGA Supreme Court, Americans now have to question whether or not they’ll have access to something as basic and widely supported as birth control,” said Leader Schumer. “We could have eliminated that worry in one fell swoop by passing the Right to Contraception Act, but Senate Republicans showed the American people where they truly stand.”

“As Republican states across the country roll back fundamental reproductive rights, including the right to contraception, it is critical we protect access to contraceptives at the federal level,” said Senator Hirono. “The Right to Contraception Act is a straightforward bill that would do exactly that, protecting patients’ right to access contraception, as well as providers’ right to provide it. But once again, Republicans have shown they’re more interested in controlling women’s bodies than protecting our freedoms. Senate Democrats will continue working to protect reproductive rights and ensure that every person can access the health care they need.”

“In the nearly two years since the Supreme Court threw out Roe v. Wade, we’ve seen extreme MAGA Republicans across the country work to roll back health care and tear reproductive freedom away from Americans—which has cruelly put birth control, plan B, IUDs and other forms of contraception under threat,” said Senator Duckworth. “The freedom to decide if, when and how someone becomes a parent should belong to every American. And yet, by blocking our Right to Contraception Act today, Republicans have made it clear that they are committed to continuing their anti-choice, anti-science crusade and exerting further control over women’s bodies. But this is not over—Senate Democrats will keep working to protect the right to access contraception, IVF and the reproductive freedom every American deserves, no matter their zip code.”

“Today we put every single senator on the record to see where they stand on a very simple question: should Americans have the right to access contraception? The Right to Contraception Act is exactly as straightforward and commonsense as it sounds—it simply codifies Americans’ right to birth control into law,” said Senator Murray. “The vast majority of the American people support the right to contraception, so this should have been an easy vote. And it almost shouldn’t be necessary—except there are Republican bills, right now, with large GOP support, that would actually attack the right to birth control. While this vote sent a message, this is more than a messaging bill—it is a meaningful way to protect a really fundamental right. And Democrats are going to keep pushing, full force, to hold Republicans accountable for their extreme policies and the harm they are causing, to restore abortion rights across the country, and to protect women’s reproductive rights across the board.”

“Women deserve the right to make decisions about whether and when to start their family without interference from the government,” said Senator Kaine. “It’s outrageous that the Senate couldn’t pass this bill to protect access to contraception—a safe, effective, and widely used form of care that has come under attack since the Supreme Court’s disastrous Dobbs decision. When given the opportunity to show that they support this commonsense measure, many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle chose extremism. I’ll keep pushing to pass legislation to protect Americans’ reproductive freedom.”

“Today, the Senate had the opportunity to make history and ensure that the constitutional right to access contraception would never face the same fate as the formerly-constitutional right to access abortion—which the ultraconservative Supreme Court ripped away two years ago. Rather than stand on the right side of history and protect reproductive rights, our Republican colleagues blocked our effort to protect the right to access contraception,” said Senator Durbin. “History will remember our Republican Senate colleagues for how they chose to vote today. And Senate Democrats will continue our efforts to protect the reproductive rights of all Americans.”

"Today Senate Republicans blocked the Right to Contraception Act and refused to defend access to birth control for Georgia women. I will continue to fight back against any effort by extremists to ban birth control for Georgia women,” said Senator Ossoff.

“Every woman needs access to whatever birth control options make the most sense for them, and to whatever preventive health care makes sense to them – that’s what the Right to Contraception Act is all about,” said Sen. Peter Welch. “This is about the right to make decisions about their own bodies and their own futures. Politicians should not be involved. The Court shouldn’t even be intimating it is threatening to take that away. This legislation is needed to guarantee they won’t.” 

Contraception is essential not only for sexual and reproductive health, but it can also be used to treat a wide array of medical conditions and decrease the risk of certain cancers. The Right to Contraception Act would guarantee that people – including historically marginalized groups – can get the care they need.

“Everyone, no matter where they live, should be able to get the birth control they need when they need it. The Right to Contraception Act will help protect access and prevent politicians and judges from interfering in people's personal health care decisions,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “We know these ongoing attacks fall hardest on communities of color, young people, LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities, and people working to make ends meet — people also disproportionately impacted by abortion bans and restrictions on access to reproductive health care. Nearly all voters support birth control access. Now is the time to guarantee this essential tool for freedom and well-being.”

"As a healthcare union, we know the importance of access to the full scope of reproductive healthcare, including contraception. It is the foundation of our patients’ and our members’ right to make personal and private decisions about their bodies and their families. The Senate must act to protect access to contraception,” said American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.

“If you still need more proof that Republicans are coming for birth control, here it is. Their refusal to protect this popular and fundamental right tells us everything we need to know—and voters won’t forget it this November. We’re grateful to Senators Markey and Hirono for introducing this crucial legislation, and to Leader Schumer for bringing it to the floor for a vote. As Republican lawmakers and Donald Trump continue to threaten access to contraception, protecting it is more important than ever,” said Mini Timmaraju, CEO of Reproductive Freedom For All.

“This bill is needed because the threat to contraception is real, and it’s coming from the very people who are saying it’s not. People who can get pregnant do not owe their fertility to anyone else. Virginians couldn’t trust Gov. Youngkin to protect contraception, so we needed the Senate to do the right thing today,” said Virginia Delegate Marcia "Cia" Price (D-Newport News)

“As an OB-GYN, I’ve seen firsthand that the right to birth control is essential for the well-being of my patients, their families and their communities. For nearly six decades, birth control has allowed millions of people to manage health conditions, plan if and when to have children, and achieve their career and educational aspirations. We urge Congress to pass the Right to Contraception Act so that every person has the power to decide their future,” said Dr. Raegan McDonald Mosley, CEO of Power to Decide.

“As the largest union of healthcare and service workers, with a membership that is more than 60% women, SEIU refuses to go backward when it comes to our reproductive freedom. As if attacking abortion rights were not enough, extremist Republicans are now coming after our right to safe, effective and widely used methods of contraception. When they attack our reproductive freedom, they attack entire families, their educational outcomes and economic mobility. This union will continue to stand strong in support of reproductive rights and with leaders like Sens. Markey, Hirono, Duckworth and so many other champions, who are fighting to protect these essential rights,” said SEIU President April Verrett.

"Today's defeat of the Right to Contraception Act in the U.S. Senate due to Republicans’ universal opposition mirrors the Republican opposition in state capitals to protecting the right to contraception. Once again, they demonstrated how out of touch their party is with the overwhelming majority of Americans that the right to choose if, when, and how to have children is a private matter and should be protected from political interference. Their actions reflect a broader coordinated assault on Americans' reproductive freedoms, which includes the right to contraception. The American public is listening. First abortion, then IVF, now contraception -- the threats are real, and people know that. Still, today’s vote will not deter us from fighting for reproductive justice. Republican lawmakers must be held accountable for disregarding the needs and rights of their constituents. And we will continue to push for legislation that protects individuals’ rights to make their own healthcare decisions," said Dr. Dara Kass, Board Member at Americans for Contraception.

“We are deeply grateful to Senator Markey for his commitment to protecting contraception access and guaranteeing reproductive equity for all. Today, Republicans were put on the record and made their true intentions crystal clear. Not only will they work to ban abortion care nationwide, but they will attack contraception and birth control access, LGBTQ+ health care, and assisted reproduction, too,” said Rebecca Hart Holder, President of Reproductive Equity Now. “Today’s vote once again clarifies what is at stake this November, and is a clarion call to eliminate the filibuster and protect our reproductive health care once and for all.”

Cosponsors of the Right to Contraception Act in the Senate include: Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawai'i), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawai’i), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Krysten Sinema (I-Ariz.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), John Tester (D-Mont.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Representative Cathy Manning (NC-06) is the co-sponsor in the House. 195 House Republicans voted against the Right to Contraception Act in 2022, with only 8 Republicans voting in support.