Independent Women’s Voice (IWV) held an “Access to Contraception” press call on July 21, featuring OnMessage Inc. founding partner Brad Todd and Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02) to underscore the overwhelming support among Republican primary voters for safe access to contraceptives. The press call took place in advance of the House of Representatives vote on H.R. 8373, the Right to Contraception Act.

Listen to the replay:

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Good morning and welcome to Access the Contraception press call hosted by Independent Women’s Voice. Some speakers will be available for questions from the media at the end of the presentation. For your information, today’s conference is being recorded. And at this time, I’ll turn the call over to your host today. I’d like to introduce Independent Women’s Voice CEO, Ms. Heather Higgins. Please go ahead, ma’am.

Heather R. Higgins, CEO, IWV:

Thank you. Good morning and thank you for joining our press briefing call which is being hosted by Independent Women’s Voice. For those of you who don’t know, Independent Women’s Voice is the C4 sister organization of Independent Women’s Forum. IWV fights for women by expanding support for policy solutions that actually enhance people’s freedom, opportunities and wellbeing. Today’s house vote on the Right to Contraception Act is yet another example of Democrats going too far and using faith access to contraceptives [inaudible 00:01:17] universal bipartisan support as a quote for extreme legislation. HR 8373, for example, would remove safeguards and could require doctors to sterilize minors without parental knowledge or consent simply because the minor believes that was what they wanted.

What it does not do is the one thing that would genuinely improve access and drive down cost for contraceptives, making them available over the counter. Democrats hope that the fantasy that the GOP would restrict access to contraceptives will distract from the issues plaguing Americans, like decades high inflation, shortages, a broken border and failing public schools. Americans deserve better. It is disappointing to see the left trying to scare women into thinking that Republicans would take away access to contraceptives if Republicans control the house, come January 2023.

The truth is that Republican political leaders and Republican voters, including 80% of those who self-identify as pro-life, overwhelmingly support access to contraception, according to a new poll commissioned by Independent Women’s Voice and conducted by OnMessage, Inc.

Now, I’d like to introduce Brad Todd co-founder of OnMessage, who will share more with you about the new poll and key findings. Brad.

Brad Todd, OnMessage Inc.:

Thanks, Heather. This is a pretty unique survey we conducted this month. It’s among 1,000 Republican primary voters nationwide and it’s stratified by geography to reflect historical turnout. So, it is a representative national sample of the Republican base. And I think it’s unique. You’ve seen very little polling on this subject, while there’s been a lot of polling in the wake of the Dobbs decision. There have been very little polling on this subject. So, I think it’s a real value add to the knowledge base.

Now, the Republican primary electorate, as you’d expect, identifies as pro-life across the board. It’s about 77% self ID’d pro-life. So, [inaudible 00:03:23] put that context around this electorate. 84% of these voters support legal access to contraception. Now, that spans across the ideological spectrum within the Republican party, which is something notable.

When we look at Republican based voters, we look first at very conservative voters. They make up nearly half the Republican base. This question is the same across that pool. 86% support for very conservatives. Similar on moderate voters in the Republican party. 86% support legal access to contraception, including IUDs, injectable and implantable contraception. So, it’s just not just the pill. It’s other forms of contraception.

Secondly, the Dobbs decision where Justice Alito made very clear that this decision did not impact access to contraception or other precedents. They guaranteed that. 81% of Republican primary voters say that the Congress and state legislature should heed that decision and not change access to contraception. Now, why is that? Well, we ask them is it pro-life to support contraception. And 79% of the Republican primary voters agreed. Now, that’s more than say they’re pro-life. Remember 77% said they’re pro-life, but 79% say that it is pro-life to support access to contraception.

We also said is there a consequence? We wanted to say, what happens if you restrict contraception? What’s the danger for a Republican going into a primary electorate? 81% of these voters, again, more than their pro-life, say that they are less likely to vote for someone in primaries who had voted to restrict contraception. 82% of very conservative voters said that. So, again, there’s not an ideological distinction within the Republican primary on this issue of contraception, which is something you would always look for as you try to evaluate the base of a party.

We also asked what they thought the impact of restricting contraception would be on abortion. If we restricted contraception, would it increase or decrease abortions? Two thirds of these voters said that, including two thirds of pro-lifers surveyed, said that they thought restricting contraception access would increase at the number of abortions in America. Therefore, that feeds into that previous answer that said it is pro-life to support access to contraception.

Next, we ask is there a difference between contraception that prevents pregnancy and [inaudible 00:05:57] that end a pregnancy? They think there’s a pretty big gap there. In fact, 54%, a strong majority, of Republican primary voters oppose abortion pills that end a pregnancy. That’s in contrast to the 84% who support contraception.

Then we asked them about what the ethical questions surrounding it? Does contraception raised the same ethical questions that other methods of birth control do? 65% said that that’s not the case. Or 67%, excuse me, said that it does not raise the same ethical questions that other access to other methods of birth control do.

So, it’s really wide support within the Republican party for access to contraception. They see it as a pro-life position to support access to contraception. They believe that contraception will decrease the number of abortions by making them not even considered. And they would think Republican legislators and Republican members of Congress should continue to heed the decision of the Supreme Court and protect access to contraception. And they’d be less likely to vote for them in a primary if they don’t.

So, that’s a quick spin through this data and I will look forward to… I’ll hang around and take questions later if others have them.

Heather R. Higgins, CEO, IWV:

Thank you, Brad. Our next speaker is Congresswoman Marionette Miller-Meeks from the state of Iowa, who recently introduced legislation that would make contraceptives available over the counter. As a state Senator, Miller-Meeks introduced and passed a bill in the Iowa Senate allowing women over 18 to buy oral contraceptives over the counter in Iowa. She plans to vote against HR 8373 today. Congresswoman, the floor is yours.

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02):

Well, thank you so much. And thank you for inviting me to speak on this forum. We have a bill today allowing greater access to safe and effective contraception act and I’m proud to join my colleague, Representative Ashley Hinson and also you’re going to hear later from representative Stephanie Bice about a similar bill of which I am one of the co-sponsors.

And you’re correct. In 2019, I championed similar legislation. I was a freshman member of the Iowa State Senate. I was the Chair of Human Services as a freshman and our bill would allow women over the age 18 to access over the counter oral contraceptives. I’m a physician. I’m a former Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health. And I’m also a mother. And because of those reasons, I thought it was important that we have increased access to affordable oral contraceptives. We make them more readily available.

And I do see this position as a pro-life position. Unlike some of the bills coming forward and the Democrat’s bill. And I am completely aligned with your statement earlier, Heather. And that is the Democrat’s bill is trying to distract people from the failures of this administration, whether they’re domestic with rising prices with gas that is over $4, was over $5, will probably be again over $5 a gallon, more in some states. Rising food prices, difficulty to purchase items and their repetitive failures in foreign policy, which have led to a war between Russia and Ukraine, unprovoked and unprecedented.

So, in order to distract from that, they are putting forward an extreme bill. It’s not just access to oral contraceptives. This bill also has that individuals will have access to non-FDA approved drugs and devices. In addition to which, in legislation, it singles out and specifies physicians. Physicians who refuse to prescribe contraceptives could be held liable and could be sued. For those reasons, I can’t support the bill coming forward, but I have been a champion of oral contraceptives over the counter. I will continue to champion for that. If our bill does not pass, I will reintroduce it in the future.

Providing over the counter contraceptives are safe. They’re effective. They were first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1960. They pose fewer health risks than some drugs that are already being sold over the counter. And they’re one of the most popular methods for preventing conception and avoiding pregnancies. And the morning after pill, for instance, is already over the counter. So, in addition to women using birth control pills or oral contraceptives… They use it for a variety of other reasons, not just to avoid pregnancy. They’re used for regulating menstruation, to prevent anemia from heavy menstrual cycles, to prevent heavy, painful periods and to address acne in low doses.

So, I think making them over the counter provides benefits to populations that has historically faced challenges in accessing healthcare, whether they’re low income, rural, young women and women in inner cities.

Just to support that, an NIH study conducted that compared women receiving oral contraceptives through a prescription to women who were able to get oral contraceptives over the counter. And it indicated that women were more likely to continue taking oral contraceptives if they were available for them to buy over the counter.

In addition, you mentioned affordability. And I think having oral contraceptive or contraception over the counter would make it vastly more affordable. And that too increases access. The one caveat I would say is the bill that I had introduced, and I passed that bill in the State Senate. We had 32 Republicans. So, we had a majority. It would’ve passed with a Republican majority alone. We did not need Democrats to pass that bill, but it ended up 42 to 6. But, our bill also did not want to remove women by getting oral contraceptives over the counter. We didn’t want to circumvent their regular routine preventative healthcare.

So, you had an initial exam if you’d already had it, but then every three years, you had to have another exam. So, I think it’s important that we do acknowledge that there are side effects and that women need to be fully apprised of any side effects. And if they have a potential health risk, making them more at risk for side effects of oral contraceptives. So, we don’t want to circumvent women getting regular healthcare and preventative healthcare as they should, but we can still champion oral contraceptives.

And let me be clear. I think that oral contraceptives over the counter that this bill and the bill that I introduced in the Senate, this bill is pro-family, pro-woman and pro-life.

Heather R. Higgins, CEO, IWV:

Thank you. Thank you so much.

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02):

Thank you for inviting me to speak.

Heather R. Higgins, CEO, IWV:

Thank you, Representative Miller-Meeks.

Now, I am pleased to introduce Representative Stephanie Bice from the great state of Oklahoma. Who introduced the Access to Safe Contraception Act 2022, this week, to give women the peace of mind of knowing they have access to safe FDA approved contraception. Congresswoman Bice, the floor is yours.

Rep. Stephanie Bice (OK-05):

Thank you so much. And I want to give a special shout out to Dr. Miller-Meeks, my freshman colleague in Congress, for being such an advocate and champion for women on these issues. It is incredibly important that conservative Republican women make our voices heard on this issue. I believe that Democrats are using fear mongering to push what I would consider to be radical legislation on this issue.

Too often, Republicans are incorrectly told that we don’t care about women and that is simply not true. And it instills fear. I am pro-life. I support a women’s right to access contraception. This is why I am proud to introduce the Access to Safe Contraception Act. Legislation that counters the Democrats, what I label, payouts for planned parenthood act, which furthers the extreme pro-abortion agenda.

The bill that I am putting forward ensures women do have access to FDA approved contraception, excluding chemical abortions. And let me be clear here, preventing a pregnancy and terminating a pregnancy are two fundamentally different things and they should be treated as such, which is why I am glad to not only have the support of my Republican colleagues on this legislation, but Republicans across the nation.

I want to say thank you to the Independent Women’s Voice for the study that was commissioned. With that information, we now know that 84% of likely Republican primary voters support safe access to contraceptives.

Additionally, 83% believe that contraception reduces abortions. And I think it’s important. I think it was mentioned early on this isn’t something that’s really been polled before. And I think it’s important for us to have the insight in this issue because it proves that access to contraception is an incredibly important issue for Republicans to engage on. I will continue to advocate for women in Oklahoma and across the country.

I’m looking forward actually to heading to the floor, again, here in a few minutes to put forward this legislation. And I hope that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will look at this as a reasonable, responsible piece of legislation to move forward, rather than what I think Dr. Miller-Meeks and I would consider to be a radical bill that expands this contraception to things that are wholly unnecessary and could be dangerous in the future.

So, again, thank you to Independent Women’s Voice for allowing us to be a part of this discussion today.

Heather R. Higgins, CEO, IWV:

Thank you so much. And we really appreciate your taking the time because I know you’re rushing to get to the floor. We will now be taking questions from the media on the call. Operator, which you open up for lines, please?


Thank you very much, ma’am. Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to ask an audio question, please press star one on your [inaudible 00:16:31] keypad at this time. Please also ensure your mute function is not activated to the larger your signal [inaudible 00:16:36].

So, once again, just please press star one. We’ll give everybody a chance to signal. One moment, please.

Ladies and gentlemen, once again, if you have any questions, please press star one at this time. We do not appear to have any questions at this time, ma’am.

Heather R. Higgins, CEO, IWV:

Okay. I’d just like to say that the GOP is for access, while Democrats apparently are for making other people pay for birth control, regardless of whether or not you use it, unless you’re uninsured. And then you’re out of luck, paying the Democrat’s higher prices for the birth control and still having to pay for it out of pocket. Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Tew:

Thank you, Heather. That concludes today’s Access to Contraception press call, hosted by Independent Women’s Voice. For more information visit And for follow up questions for any of our speakers on today’s call, please email [email protected]. That’s press, P-R-E-S-S Thank you.


Thank YOU very much ma’am. Ladies and gentlemen, that will conclude today’s conference. We thanks so much for your attendance. You may disconnect. Have a good day and goodbye.