Senate to vote Wednesday on Right to Contraception Act

The Senate will vote Wednesday on whether to approve the Right to Contraception Act, both as a way to safeguard women’s access to birth control and to show voters where their senators stand on the issue, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Sunday.

The New York Dem noted that June marks two years since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision that guaranteed women the constitutional right to an abortion. He said nothing short of legally codifying a person’s fundamental right to birth control will stop the conservative-leaning Supreme Court from continuing to chip away at women’s health care.

“Now more than ever, and as we approach the two-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s dismantling of Roe v. Wade, contraception is a critical piece of protecting women’s reproductive freedoms, standing as nothing short of a vital lifeline for millions of Americans across the country,” Schumer said in a statement.

“The American people have a right to know where their elected officials stand.”

He vowed that he and fellow Senate Democrats would “fight to protect access to contraception and other reproductive freedoms that are essential safeguards for millions of women to control their own lives, their futures and their bodies.”

Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., speaks before President Joe Biden at Prince William Forest Park on Earth Day, Monday, April 22, 2024, in Triangle, Va. Biden is announcing $7 billion in federal grants to provide residential solar projects serving low- and middle-income communities and expanding his American Climate Corps green jobs training program. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) speaks before President Biden at Prince William Forest Park on April 22, in Triangle, Va. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The legislation, introduced by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), is designed “to protect a person’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.” It covers everything from oral contraceptives to condoms.

While some Republicans have said there is no need for such a bill because the right to contraception and family planning are not being challenged, the bill’s supporters claim that the Supreme Court’s failure to protect abortion rights and in vitro fertilization (IVF) are clear signs that the conservative-majority justices are coming for the rest of it.

“It’s a slow creep to a very bad situation in terms of rights,” Schumer spokesman Angelo Roefaro told the Daily News.

That is underscored by the fact that many right-wing and extremist officials in politics and the judicial system have called for a Supreme Court reckoning on contraception, Schumer said. Moreover, he said, states are already restricting public funding for contraceptive products and services.

State legislation to protect contraception rights has been blocked or shot down in Virginia, Missouri, Arizona, Tennessee and Idaho, among others. Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump implied earlier this month that contraception is on the policy table, although he walked his statements back later on.

“I have been clear we will not stand for these attacks, and we will fight to preserve reproductive freedoms,” Schumer said, adding that Democrats “remain absolutely committed to doing everything we can to protect women, families, reproductive freedom.”

The vote will be a litmus test and a source of information for voters heading into this fall’s election, of the measure, which passed 228-195 in the House of Representatives in 2022, when it was under Democratic control.

With News Wire Services

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