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The Real Reasons Why Conservatives Blocked the ‘Right to Contraception Act’


“The truth about the so-called ‘Right to Contraception Act’ is that it’s an outright attack on religious liberty and it expands funding for Planned Parenthood and access to abortifacients. Conservatives were entirely justified in voting it down.”  


Last week, Congress voted on a bill backed by House Democrats called the “Right to Contraception Act,” and this week, it was reported that Senate Republicans “blocked” the bill in the Senate.

In usual leftist fashion, the authors of the bill named it something that has very little to do with what the bill would actually accomplish. Much like “Build Back Better,” the “For the People Act,” the “Equality Act,” and the “Violence Against Women Act,” the “Right to Contraception Act” appears to be a bipartisan, indisputable cause worth voting for.

However, despite its appealing and seemingly helpful title, the text of the bill itself is chock full of hidden agendas that no conservative, and certainly no informed American, would support or vote in favor of.

And yet, the propagandist mainstream media took no hesitation to target 195 House Republicans for voting “against ensuring the right to contraception.”

Here’s the real scoop on this bill

HR 8373, or the Right to Contraception Act, passed the House 228-195 and failed to pass in the Senate just this week.

The purpose of the bill was to codify the 1965 Supreme Court case Griswold v Connecticut into federal law to ensure that people have unrestricted access to contraceptives. This came as a reaction from elected Democrat officials following the overturn of Roe v Wade.

Despite there being no real threat to Americans receiving contraception, Democrats saw an election year as a convenient time to force the politically-divided Congress to put on the record their stance on “protecting the right to access contraceptives.”

Left-wing media outlets and D.C. bureaucrats, on the other hand, argue that there is a need for such legislation, citing Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ “warning shot” about revisiting Griswold v. Connecticut in his concurring opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson decision. However, this is just a political cheap shot intended to mislead the public for partisan gain.

A closer analysis of Justice Thomas’ opinion would show that he merely pointed out that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided on the basis of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, which guarantees Americans the right to receive due process of the law when the government deprives a person of life, liberty, or property. Essentially, the decision invented a constitutional right based on faulty reasoning. In his analysis, Justice Thomas stated that it is possible that other decisions made based on this rationale, including Griswold v. Connecticut, should be reconsidered, as they, too, could potentially become decisions left for the states as they are not “rights” guaranteed by the Constitution.

All this spurred House Democrats on to present the Right to Contraception Act to Congress.

Undercutting religious liberty and parental rights

What the bill would first accomplish is override religious liberty for hospitals and healthcare providers by requiring them to supply patients with contraceptives, regardless of whether doing so infringes upon their religious convictions or practices.

In the past, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) has protected religious healthcare providers like the Little Sisters of the Poor from partaking in healthcare practices that would otherwise violate their religious beliefs. In 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that the Little Sisters could not be forced by the government to subsidize birth control and abortifacient drugs as the Health and Human Services Department required under Obamacare.

The Right to Contraception Act usurps this ruling and explicitly condemns state conscience laws that would otherwise protect healthcare providers and religious medical establishments from being forced to offer contraception. This is explicit in the bill’s text:

“Providers’ refusals to offer contraceptives and information related to contraception based on their own personal beliefs impede patients from obtaining their preferred method, with laws in 12 States as of the date of introduction of this Act specifically.” 

–Sec 3.23, HR 8373

The bill also contains vague language pertaining to who can access abortion, raising concerns about whether parental rights would be infringed upon as minors receive contraceptive care.

“A person has a statutory right under this Act to obtain contraceptives and to engage in contraception, and a health care provider has a corresponding right to provide contraceptives, contraception, and information related to contraception.”

Sec 4.a, HR 8373

Because the bill does not specify “a person,” concerns have been raised as to whether a minor could receive contraceptives and abortifacient drugs without her parents’ knowledge. Such measures could have damaging, long-term implications, including infertility and an increased cancer risk.

As Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., pointed out,

“This bill undermines laws that protect minors, people who have a mental illness, and incarcerated women from irreversible sterilization procedures. This means that under this extreme agenda, a Planned Parenthood can use taxpayer dollars to sterilize a 13-year-old without her parents’ knowledge. A Medicaid beneficiary who has a mental disability can be sterilized without informed consent.”

A Trojan horse for more abortion

By including language that applies provisions to “facilities” that distribute contraception, the bill would also send more taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood, increasing funding for abortions.

The statutory rights specified…shall not be limited or otherwise infringed through any limitation or requirement that expressly, effectively, implicitly, or as implemented singles out the provision of…facilities in which contraceptives, contraception, or contraception-related information is provided…” 

Sec 4.b, HR 8373

In other words, by including facilities in this provision, neither the federal government nor the states, even those that have banned abortion, could deny taxpayer funding for establishments like Planned Parenthood which provides contraception for its clients. This would mean that the passage of this bill would guarantee funding for and protection of Planned Parenthood to continue abortion procedures.

In her remarks, Rep. McMorris Rodgers pointed this out, citing that the bill would “send more taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood, freeing up more funds for them to provide abortions and end the lives of the most helpless among us.”

Due to the bill’s broad definition of “contraceptives,” the Right to Contraception Act could provide a federal right to abortifacients with both contraceptive and non-contraceptive uses like Mifepristone.

“The term ‘contraceptive’ means any drug, device or biological product intended for use in the prevention of pregnancy, whether specifically intended to prevent pregnancy or for other health needs…”

–Sec 2.2, HR 8373

What other health needs would there be to provide use of contraceptives if not to prevent pregnancy?

In her letter to Congress, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List Pro-Life America, wrote this:

“Because the definition of contraceptives in this bill is overbroad, it could mandate access to abortion drugs. H.R. 8373 states that contraceptives include drugs, devices, or biological products intended for contraception, “whether specifically intended to prevent pregnancy or for other health needs.” This could include noncontroversial applications of the drug but could also include the use of the drug to induce abortion. What follows is that H.R. 8373 would then require the right to obtain a chemical abortion, the right to provide a chemical abortion, and would overturn any law that regulates chemical abortion by singling it out.”

The truth about the so-called “Right to Contraception Act” is that it’s an outright attack on religious liberty and it expands funding for Planned Parenthood and access to abortifacients. Conservatives were entirely justified in voting it down.

Follow Reagan on Twitter! @thereaganscott

Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.

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