Senate Must Pass the Right to Contraception Act

Written by Rebecca Rosenzweig, Stanback Government Relations Fellow | Published: June 4, 2024

The U.S. Senate is set to vote Wednesday, June 5, on the Right to Contraception Act, a bill that will protect access to contraception nationwide. In the wake of the 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision and the threat of further restrictions, the Right to Contraception Act is an essential measure to codify Americans’ right to birth control.

What is the Right to Contraception Act?

The Right to Contraception Act will enshrine a federal right for all Americans to obtain and use the contraceptives that best meet their needs. The bill prohibits any requirement that impedes the provision of contraceptives or contraception related information and protects health care providers or facilities that administer contraception and related information. Specifically, it forbids any government from prohibiting or restricting the sale, provision, or use of contraception. It further protects individuals who help others obtain or use contraception. If enacted, this bill will apply to both the federal and state governments, and no government will be able to enforce any conflicting law. 

Why is it important?

The right of individuals to freely determine whether, when, and with whom to have children is fundamental. It is essential to an individual’s privacy, health, well-being, liberty, and equality. Since first being made available in 1960, modern contraception has opened the door to expanded education and economic opportunities for women. Access to birth control is vital to women’s health, autonomy, and economic security. That’s why 99 percent of sexually active women use contraception at some point in their lives.

Access to contraception has enabled individuals to advance in their education and careers, contributing to our nation’s economic and social well-being. By delaying childbirth, contraception allows individuals to increase their investments in their education and in their careers. To that end, contraception’s impact on women’s occupational choice and participation in the labor market significantly reduces the probability that a woman will live in poverty.

Some contraceptives also provide health benefits for individuals managing endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, hormone imbalances, acne, migraines, and heavy bleeding and cramps associated with menstruation. Additional health benefits of contraception access include reductions in maternal and infant mortality and morbidity.

How is contraception being threatened?

Despite the enormous benefits that access to contraceptives provides, particularly for women and girls, extremist politicians and activist organizations across the United States and around the world are prepping an assault on access. On May 21, 2024, the Republican candidate for President stated that he “will take a look at” restricting access to birth control, hinting at potential support for restrictive policies. The radical Project 2025 — a right-wing wish list for a Republican president — has contraceptive access in its crosshairs. Under another extremist right-wing administration, politicians could use the federal government’s power to undermine contraceptive access across the nation.

The past few years have indicated that the right to contraception is under palpable threat. In the Dobbs decision, Justice Clarence Thomas stated his intent to revoke Americans’ right to contraception with an explicit call to overturn the 1965 case establishing the constitutional right to birth control. In courts throughout the nation, we have already seen attempts to restrict access to essential contraceptive methods such as emergency contraception and IUDs, A federal Right to Contraception Act would stop these extreme attacks on reproductive health care in their tracks.

How can you support it?

Congress needs to act now to protect this fundamental right. The upcoming Senate vote could potentially turn this vital bill into law. However, given the lack of Republican support in the Senate, there is a significant chance that the bill will be blocked. To get involved and fight for this indispensable right, you can urge your senators to support the Right to Contraception Act.