WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- The House on Thursday passed a bill that would protect access to birth control in a 228-195 vote.
- Only eight Republicans joined Democrats in supporting the legislation, known as the Right to Contraception Act.
- The Democrat-led House passed a bill to protect same-sex and interracial marriage with wide bipartisan support.
The House on Thursday passed legislation that would protect a person’s ability to access birth control in a 228-195 vote. All 195 “no” votes came from Republicans.
Eight Republicans joined Democrats in supporting the bill, known as the Right to Contraception Act. The House Republicans are Liz Cheney of Wyoming, John Katko of New York, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Nancy Mace of South Carolina, Fred Upton of Michigan, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Maria Salazar of Florida, and Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio. Two Republicans voted “present.”
Lawmakers have been introducing legislation following Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion overturning Roe v. Wade. He said that the court should reconsider “all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents,” including those guaranteeing birth control access and marriage equality.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused Republicans of trying to roll back the clock for women in the U.S. by restricting access to birth control. She said, “we are not going back.”
“This is their moment. Clarence Thomas has made that clear, right down to the fundamentals of privacy they want to erase,” Pelosi said. “With this passage, Democrats will make clear we will never quit in the fight against the outrageous right-wing assault on freedom.”
The bill was sponsored by Democratic Rep. Kathy Manning. It is focused on guaranteeing access to birth control measures and protecting health care providers’ ability to provide them.
“We need federal legislation to make it absolutely clear that people have the right to use and buy birth control,” Manning said in an interview.
As more states move to ban abortion, it is possible that these could be interpreted to curtail access to birth control, since certain forms of contraceptives, such as intrauterine devices, prevent implantation in the uterus but not fertilization.
Health experts are concerned that states making abortion illegal could also likely move to ban contraceptives.
GOP Reps. Mace and Ashley Hinson of Iowa, introduced a bill that would let people over the age of 18 access birth control pills over-the-counter which have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
On Wednesday, the House passed a bill to protect same-sex and interracial marriage into federal law with wide bipartisan support.