US Senate to hold vote today on protecting rights to contraceptives

Right to Contraception Act of 2024

From The Guardian: “The US Senate will vote on Wednesday (today) on a bill that would recognize a legal right to contraception, weeks after Donald Trump made  and quickly walked back – comments indicating he is willing to restrict access to birth control.

The Wednesday vote is part of an offensive broadside by Democrats to spotlight their work around reproductive rights, a vital issue in the upcoming 2024 elections, nearly two years after the US supreme court overturned Roe v Wade. On Monday, Democrats also unveiled a new, sweeping package of legislation designed to Ienshrine a federal right to in vitro fertilization as well as make it more affordable.

CNN reports, “Facing a Senate where bills need 60 votes to advance and a Republican-controlled House, passing the Right to Contraception Act will be a steep, if not impossible, uphill battle for Democrats. By putting the legal right to birth control up for a vote, Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader, is in effect daring Republicans to go on the record opposing the right to something that almost all American women use in their lifetime.

“Contraception has been increasingly entangled in the abortion debate in some conservative states, however. In Missouri, a women’s health care bill was stalled for months over concerns about expanding insurance coverage for birth control after some lawmakers falsely conflated birth control with medication abortion. In Arizona, Republicans unanimously blocked a Democratic effort to protect the right to contraception access. Tennessee Republicans blocked a bill that would have clarified that the state’s abortion ban would not affect contraceptive care or fertility treatments.”

Refer to Life Begins at Conception bill

But Democrats say that is incongruous with the House GOP legislation defining life as beginning at conception. Under that bill, equal protections under the 14th Amendment would be granted at the moment of “fertilization” — regardless of whether the union of sperm and egg occurs inside the body, which is what happens in a traditional pregnancy, or outside the body, which is the case with IVF, and possibly Plan B, the IUD and others depending on how the are perceived to prevent pregnancy.

The anti-abortion movement has quietly worked to redefine the meaning of “abortifacient”, or drugs that induce abortions, for years. In 2014, the US supreme court permitted Hobby Lobby, a Christian-owned chain of craft stores, to avoid covering their employees’ morning-after pills and intrauterine devices (IUDs) because their religious beliefs deemed them abortifacients – even though scientists disagree.