House Passes ‘Right to Contraception’ Bill Republicans Say Violates Religious Freedom

The Democrat-led House passed a bill Thursday, with the support of eight Republicans, that would create a federal right to access contraception, a measure that most Republicans say violates religious freedom.

The legislation (HR 8373), dubbed the Right to Contraception Act and sponsored by Representative Kathy Manning (D- NC-06), passed by a vote of 228-195. The measure would guarantee a right to all contraceptive drugs and devices, as well as sterilization procedures, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

As the Washington Examiner reported, the bill is one of the pieces of legislation Democrats contrived in an immediate response to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ note in his concurring opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, in which the Court returned decisions about abortion to the states.

In overturning Roe v. Wade, Thomas suggested the Court should reconsider other rulings, such as those concerning same-sex marriage and contraception.

Following Thomas’ opinion, House Democrats quickly set out, with 47 Republicans supporting them, to pass a bill to codify same-sex marriage into federal law.

Next, they passed the bill that purports to protect access to contraception.

“The Payouts for Planned Parenthood Act goes FAR beyond supporting access to contraception,” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-05) tweeted. “Its extreme provisions could harm women’s health, send taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood & abortion providers, & force people to violate their religious and sincerely held beliefs.”

In remarks on the House floor during debate, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ-04) noted “several pro-abortion policies are embedded in HR 8373,” including a section that states “health care providers who provide contraceptives” may not be “singled out” through “any limitation or requirement.”

Smith said the language in the bill would provide that “any federal or state policy that ensures that taxpayer funded family planning clinics are not co-located – under the same roof – with abortion clinics would now be absolutely prohibited if HR 8373 is enacted into law.”

An example of such policy, Smith said, would be former President Donald Trump’s Protect Life Rule which prohibited taxpayer funds to abortion clinics and redirected them to other family planning programs that did not perform or condone abortion as a method of family planning.

“A future pro-life president should not be precluded by any law including H.R. 8373 from re-establishing the Protect Life Rule or any similar policy,” Smith asserted.

Rodgers argued the contraception bill is too broad and would violate healthcare providers’ religious freedom to object to administering contraceptives or participating in sterilizations.

The legislation clearly states:

Providers’ refusals to offer contraceptives and information related to contraception based on their own personal beliefs impede patients from obtaining their preferred method.

She observed as well the legislation could allow some of the drugs prescribed as contraception to also be used off-label to perform an abortion. Additionally, the measure could allow Planned Parenthood to receive more federal funding.

“HR 8373 will also continue President Joe Biden’s war on religious liberty and conscience protections,” Rodgers said Thursday, according to the Examiner. “It would force health providers to violate their religious and sincerely held beliefs to provide contraception and perform sterilizations, including on minors, would also force organizations like the Little Sisters of the Poor to violate their religion and provide contraception.”

Republican Reps. Liz Cheney (WY), Anthony Gonzalez (OH), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), Fred Upton (MI), Nancy Mace (SC), John Katko (NY), Adam Kinzinger (IL), and Maria Salazar (FL) voted in favor of the legislation, while GOP Reps. Bob Gibbs (PA) and Mike Kelly (PA) voted present.

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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Nancy Pelosi” by Nancy Pelosi. 




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