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Kaine, Markey, & Colleagues Introduce Bill to Protect Americans’ Right to Contraception

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and other colleagues in introducing the Right to Contraception Act, legislation to codify Americans’ right to contraception, which the Supreme Court first recognized more than half a century ago in Griswold v. Connecticut. 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 Supreme Court to overturn Griswold would not endanger access to this essential health care.

“Comprehensive health care should include access to contraception, which is essential for family planning and management of many health conditions,” said Kaine. “The vast majority of Americans support protecting women’s right to contraception, and this bill is critical to protecting this important freedom.”

The lawmakers first introduced the legislation last July in the wake of Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to an abortion. In Justice Thomas’ concurring opinion, he urged the Court to “reconsider” its substantive due process precedents, including Griswold.

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

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

Nine out of 10 American adults support access to all forms of birth control, but several states have restricted access to 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. Attacks on health care, especially reproductive health care, fall hardest on Black, Brown, Indigenous and immigrant communities, as well as people with disabilities, low-income people, and those living in rural and underserved areas.

Kaine has introduced his bipartisan Reproductive Freedom For All Act to codify the essential holdings of Roe v. Wade and related cases—including Griswold—and protect Americans’ access to abortion and contraception.

In addition to Kaine, Markey, Hirono, and Duckworth, the Right to Contraception Act is cosponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), John Fetterman (D-PA), Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

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.

Full text of the bill is available here.