Jul 21, 2022 - Health

House passes bill to protect birth control access

Picture of congresswomen standing behind a podium that says "the right to contraception act"
Rep. Kathy Manning (D-N.C.) speaks during an event ahead of the passage of the Right to Contraception Act at the U.S. Capitol on July 20. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The House on Thursday passed a bill to protect a person's ability to access contraceptives in a 228-195 vote.

The big picture: Lawmakers have been introducing legislation in response to Justice Clarence Thomas' concurring opinion overturning Roe v. Wade saying that the court should reconsider "all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents," including those guaranteeing birth control access and marriage equality.

  • This week, the House passed a bill to enshrine marriage equality into federal law with a wide bipartisan margin.
  • Eight Republicans joined Democrats in supporting the bill. They are Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Maria Salazar (R-Fla.), Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio). Two Republicans voted "present."

Details: The bill, known as the Right to Contraception Act and introduced by Rep. Kathy Manning (D-N.C.), is focused on guaranteeing access to birth control measures and protecting health care providers' ability to provide them.

Between the lines: As more states continue to ban abortion starting at fertilization, it is possible that these could be interpreted to limit access to birth control, since certain forms of birth control, such as intrauterine devices, prevent implantation in the uterus but not fertilization.

  • Additionally, medical experts worry that states making abortion illegal could also potentially move to ban contraceptives.

A Republican House lawmaker, Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa), introduced legislation that would let people over the age of 18 access to birth control pills over-the-counter that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Editor's note: This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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