February 26, 2024

Republicans are taking aim on contraception — and they’d rather you didn’t know

The fall of Roe v Wade in 2022 sparked fears that entry to contraception may quickly observe. A glance into their legislative votes means that these fears are not unfounded.

We previously reported that Republicans standing for re-election this yr hold altering what they are saying about abortion on their public web sites. Many would rather the general public didn’t deliver up their voting information on contraception, both.

Despite distinguished Republicans’ claims on the contrary, “Republicans have a long history of attacking contraception,” says Dana Singiser, cofounder of the nonprofit Contraceptive Access Initiative. And for the reason that Dobbs choice, “it is getting harder and harder for Republicans to actually hide their long-standing opposition to contraception.”

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his concurring opinion on Dobbs that the courtroom “should reconsider” its long-standing rulings, together with the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut choice, which granted married {couples} the precise to make use of contraceptives with out authorities oversight. (The Eisenstadt v. Baird choice seven years later granted single {couples} the identical proper.)

“If that’s not a direct threat, I don’t know what is,” Ms Singiser says.

In the wake of Justice Thomas’ opinion, Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn called the Griswold choice on contraception “constitutionally unsound” and Republican Sen. Mike Braun voiced his opinion that the difficulty of contraceptive entry ought to be left to the states.

Since then, Democrats have campaigned on defending abortion and contraception — and they’ve repeatedly gained elections.

President Biden lately announced new steps that the administration is taking to cut back obstacles to contraceptive entry. On X/Twitter, Mr Biden accused “MAGA Republicans” of “trying to stop women in America from getting safe and effective medication that has been approved by the FDA for over 20 years, even in states where women’s health care choices are still protected.”

Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene took situation with the president’s tweet, firing back: “‘MAGA Republicans’ are trying to stop women from getting contraceptives? Nope.” She continued, “Old man Joe needs to stop lying to women that the only way to avoid unplanned pregnancy is to take an abortion pill or have an abortion.”

Despite her assertion, members of her celebration have repeatedly rejected measures aiming to broaden or defend contraceptive entry.

“When the rubber hits the road, support for contraception in the Republican Party simply isn’t there,” Ms Singiser says.

In 2022, Rep. Greene voted against the Right to Contraception Act — together with 194 of her GOP colleagues. Only eight Republicans supported the measure. Of these eight, 5 are now not in workplace.

That invoice is “as simple as it gets,” says Rachel Fey, Vice President of Policy and Strategic Partnerships on the nonpartisan nonprofit Power to Decide. If somebody didn’t support this measure, then “it’s really hard to say that you support contraception.”

Yet the Republicans who opposed the measure supplied quite a lot of explanations.

Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers known as the invoice “a Trojan horse for more abortions,” including that it’s “spreading fear and misinformation to score political points.” Arizona Rep. Debbie Lesko claimed that the measure “permits the widespread use of chemical abortion pills.”

Others, Dr Larry Bucshon, a physician-turned-Indiana Representative, and Oklahoma Rep. Stephanie Bice, stated they opposed the invoice as a result of the language was too ambiguous. Mr Bucshon stated the measure “could be applied to chemical abortion drugs to end a pregnancy in addition to traditional contraceptives.”

Florida Rep. Kat Cammack known as the invoice “completely unnecessary,” including that: “In no way, shape or form is access to contraception limited or at risk of being limited.”

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz defined his opposition to the Right to Contraception Act, writing on X/Twitter: “Contraception likely needs protection FROM Congress more than it needs protection BY Congress. If there is any entity you don’t want involved in your contraception choices – it’s the federal gov.”

However, Democratic Rep. Kathy Manning, who launched the laws, defined her reasoning behind the invoice: “We will not play defense anymore; this time we’re playing offense.” The Dobbs that overturned Roe v Wade had been made a month earlier.

But the party-line situation of contraception entry has lengthy predated Dobbs.

Partisan fights over Planned Parenthood and Title X, a federal program devoted to household planning providers together with publicly funded contraceptive care, return to the Seventies. And since 2007, Congress has launched payments that might defund entities that carry out abortions, due to this fact threatening contraceptive entry.

“When money doesn’t go to that program, people who lack health insurance don’t get contraception,” Ms Fey says.

When public funding for contraceptive care is threatened, she provides, the burden “falls disproportionately on women of color, on people who live in rural areas, and people who are struggling to make ends meet.”

In 2021, Republicans rejected the Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act, a measure that might give girls veterans entry to the identical no-cost contraception as non-veteran girls. The invoice finally handed, however 181 Republicans voted towards it.

Montana Rep. Matt Rosendale falsely claimed on the House flooring that “drugs like Plan B and Ella [two morning-after pills] are not contraception, they are abortifacients.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene additionally made the inaccurate declare that “the Plan B pill kills a baby in the womb once a woman is already pregnant.”

Indeed, spreading misinformation and disinformation about contraception appears to have develop into a Republican technique. Some have been “purposefully” pushing misinformation and disinformation round contraception “in order to have a more expansive set of restrictions on reproductive health,” Ms Fey stated.

She added, “Policymakers who want to go after contraception have found that an expedient way to do that is to link it to abortion by claiming that methods of contraception are actually methods of abortion.”

Tucked away in some items of federal and state laws are definitions of being pregnant, stating that being pregnant begins at fertilization rather than implantation. While these definitions are sometimes present in abortion payments, this language threatens some widespread types of contraception, like IUDs and emergency contraception. It may additionally doubtlessly cease the usage of IVF fully.

On the federal degree, doctor and Iowa Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks and 9 different Republican girls launched the Orally Taken Contraception Act of 2023, aiming to require the FDA to advise producers on how you can get their contraceptives permitted to be offered over-the-counter.

Ms Singiser calls this invoice one other one of many GOP’s “hollow efforts to mask their terrible position on contraception.” The measure’s language is limiting, defining contraceptives as these being “used to prevent fertilization.”

Some state measures do the identical. Arkansas’ trigger ban, as an example, defines life as starting “at the moment of conception” and defines “unborn child” as an “individual organism of the species Homo sapiens from fertilization until live birth.”

The hazard that these legal guidelines pose, Ms Fey says, is that “anytime that a particular state official wants to, they could use that to go after IVF or contraception.”

The misinformation round emergency contraceptives turned so extreme that in December 2022, it sparked the FDA to launch a memo clarifying that Plan B “does not terminate a pregnancy.”

Whether far-right politicians prefer it or not, contraceptive care is vastly standard. A 2022 Gallup ballot confirmed that 92 per cent of Americans say contraception is “morally acceptable.”

There have been some profitable efforts to guard contraception on the state degree. At least 30 states and Washington, DC require eligible insurers to cowl FDA-approved prescribed contraceptive medication and units, and 17 states and DC prohibit contraceptive cost-sharing.

But, Ms Singiser factors out, “a lot of those proactive measures are all happening in the same state,” contributing to contraceptive entry deserts. The existence of those deserts “inevitably exacerbates the racial inequities in care in this country based on where you live.”

Such a scenario underscores the necessity for federal protections.

Not all Republicans take such a radical stance towards contraception, after all. Some have even actively labored towards defending the precise to entry it. Republican Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski — together with Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema — launched the Reproductive Freedom For All Act of 2023, which might codify entry to abortion and contraceptive providers. But more and more, the MAGA aspect of the Republican Party is profitable out, and that’s dangerous information for ladies’s rights.

Republicans’ stances on abortion have backfired electorally for the reason that Dobbs choice fell. If voters develop into extra conscious of what number of far-right voices within the celebration would additionally limit contraception, it’s cheap to presume that it may harm the GOP much more.

“What Republicans can’t seem to grasp is that it doesn’t matter what they say, it matters what they do — and what they do is push unpopular and outright dangerous policies that roll back our fundamental rights,” Reproductive Freedom for All Communications Director Ally Boguhn tells The Independent.

Citing abortion bans and blocking necessary laws designed to guard contraception, she provides, “It’s clear they don’t care about their constituents’ health or well-being. You can’t message your way out of that, and that’s why they’ll keep losing.”