Friday, June 16, 2023

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley said today they and colleagues have reintroduced legislation that would codify and strengthen the right to contraception in Oregon and nationwide.

“Right-wing extremists have made their agenda painfully clear: they will not rest until they have control over women’s bodies, including the right to access safe medication,” 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 2023, it is 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 doctors’ offices and ensure that the right to contraception remains ironclad in America.”

Although nine out of 10 American adults support access to all forms of birth control, several states restrict accessto contraceptives by eliminating public funding for it, defining abortion broadly enough to include contraception, and allowing health care providers to deny service related to contraception on the basis of their own beliefs. Enshrining the right to contraception into federal law would reverse steps already taken by Republicans in states across the country to restrict access to contraceptives and ensure that any future attempt by the far-right majority on the Supreme Court to overturn Griswold v. Connecticut would not endanger access to this essential health care.

A copy of the legislation is HERE.

Specifically, the Right to Contraception Act would uphold access to contraception by:

1.     Guaranteeing the legal right for individuals to get and use contraception and for health care providers to provide contraceptives, contraception, and information, referrals, and services related to contraception;

2.     Prohibiting the federal government or any state from administering, implementing, or enforcing any law, rule, regulation, standard or other provision that would prohibit or restrict the sale, provision, or use of contraception; and, 

3.     Allowing the Department of Justice (DOJ), providers, and individuals harmed by restrictions on contraception access made unlawful under the legislation, to go to court to enforce these rights.

Senators Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawai’i and Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill. introduced the bill in the Senate. Along with Wyden and Merkley, more than half of the Senate Democratic caucus backs the Right to Contraception Act, including Senators Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Ben Cardin, D-Md., Tom Carper, D-Del., Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., John Fetterman, D-Pa., Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawai’i, Tim Kaine, D-Va., Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Alex Padilla, D-Calif., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Brian Schatz, D-Hawai’i, Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Tina Smith, D-Minn., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Peter Welch, D-Vt., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.

The Right to Contraception Act is endorsed by Advocates for Youth, AIDS United, American Atheists, American College of Nurse-Midwives, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Americans for Contraception, Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, Catholics for Choice, Center for American Progress, Center for Biological Diversity, CenterLink: The Community of LGBTQ Centers, Coalition to Expand Contraceptive Access, Contraceptive Access Initiative, Equality California, Girls Inc., Hadassah, House Pro-Choice Caucus, Ibis Reproductive Health, Interfaith Alliance, Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health, Minority Veterans of America, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Coalition of STD Directors, National Council of Jewish Women , National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, National Health Law Program, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Women’s Law Center, People For the American Way, Physicians for Reproductive Health, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Population Connection Action Fund, Power to Decide, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Reproductive Health Access Project, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, The Collaborative, and Upstream USA.

A web version of this release is here.