Wyden, Merkley, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Codify the Right to Contraception

Washington, D.C. 
U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley with colleagues have introduced legislation
that 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.

The introduction follows Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring
opinion last month in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health
Organization — 
overturning Roe v. Wade — in
which he urged the Court to reconsider its 1965 Griswold decision.
Several states have already restricted access to contraception by cutting off
public funding for it, defining abortion broadly enough
to include contraception, and allowing health care providers to
refuse to provide services related to contraception based on their own personal

“Justice Thomas made
his views and the views of the extremist Republican party painfully clear:
the Dobbs decision is not just about overturning the right to a
safe and legal abortion. Conservatives will not rest until they have complete
control over women’s bodies, including access to birth control. It’s enough to
leave you wondering, what century is this?” Wyden said. “For many Americans, birth control is a part
of a basic health regimen. The Right to Contraception Act will
ensure that the government stays out of the exam room and the bedroom because
all Americans should have an equal right to chart the course of their own
lives, including if and when to be pregnant.”

“In the year 2022,
it’s outrageous that we’re even debating whether Americans should have access
to contraception—but that’s where this extremist MAGA Supreme Court has left
us,” Merkley said. “Access
to contraception and other family planning and reproductive health care
resources are vital in ensuring all Americans are able to control their own
lives and health care decisions. Let’s keep the government out of our bedrooms
and ensure that the right to contraception remains ironclad in America.”

The Right to Contraception Act would uphold
access to contraception by:

  • Creating a statutory right for individuals to obtain
    contraceptives and to engage in contraception;
  • Establishing a corresponding right for health care providers
    to provide contraceptives, contraception, and information related to
  • Allowing the Department of Justice, as well as providers and
    individuals harmed by restrictions on contraception access made unlawful under
    the legislation, to go to court to enforce these rights; and
  • Protecting a range of contraceptive methods, devices, and
    medications used to prevent pregnancy, including but not limited to oral
    contraceptives, long-acting reversible contraceptives, emergency
    contraceptives, internal and external condoms, injectables, vaginal barrier
    methods, transdermal patches, vaginal rings, fertility-awareness based methods,
    and sterilization procedures.

A copy of the legislation is HERE. 

Senators Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii,
and Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill. introduced the legislation. Along with Wyden
and Merkley, the bill is co-sponsored by 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., 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., 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.