Abortion and contraception are deeply personal matters that, for many women, stir up a range of emotions and ethical questions. These are not issues that politicians should use to manipulate or scare women.
Sadly, staring at sinking poll numbers, desperate to turn the conversation away from inflation and crime, and hoping to recapture the voters they need, Democrats are resorting to another fake “war on women” narrative to do exactly that. And they are pushing bad legislation in the process.
In the wake of the Supreme Court decision Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Democrats advanced the “Right to Contraception Act,” which just passed the House and now heads to the Senate. This legislation, despite its name, is not about birth control. It is about politics and using what seems reasonable to advance an extreme agenda.
First, Democrats have fabricated yet another hoax: the notion that contraception is at risk. It isn’t.
Republican primary voters are near unanimous at 84 percent in their support for safe and accessible contraception. Some of the strongest support is from those who self-identify as pro-life, two-thirds of whom believe that restricting contraception would increase abortions. Nearly 80 percent say it is a pro-life position to support legal and accessible contraception in order to prevent abortions from even being considered.
It is really disappointing that the Left would take an issue on which there is near universal bipartisan agreement—the importance of safe, legal, and accessible contraception—and misrepresent and misuse it. At a time when so many Americans are feeling discouraged about the divisive state of politics, we should look for common ground and opportunities to make good, bipartisan policy, but that’s not what the Right to Contraception Act is.
This extreme legislation cloaks multiple harms in the guise of something good. It redefines contraception so broadly that it includes abortions and sterilization and supersedes any religious freedom concerns or other federal protections. Perhaps most disturbingly, if this bill passes the Senate, it would allow the Left to insist that certain medical professionals were now required to sterilize minors without parental consent and without any waiting period.
On a quick read, the bill seems not to require anything of anyone. But there’s a catch, implied in the act’s broad language and based on the expectation that, if a physician or an institution provides a product or service for some patients, they have to provide it to all patients.
If, for example, a physician were to perform hysterectomies or other procedures that cause sterilization, and a minor came to them wanting to be sterilized as part of gender transitioning, current federal law to protect against uninformed and non-consensual sterilization wouldn’t apply. There would be no waiting period, no age limitations, and no required parental awareness or consent.
That’s a heck of a thing that 220 Democrats in the House have just voted for.
This takes us outside of the realm of family planning and into another culture war—one over sex reassignment surgeries and other “gender-affirming” treatments for minors. Democrats shouldn’t push this radical agenda under the pretext of expanding or protecting access to birth control.
The bill text also makes explicitly clear that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not override or offer exceptions to any part of it. This would require the small minority of Americans who do find birth control (or even just certain methods of birth control) morally objectionable, to participate in the personal choices of others. This means that—had the Right to Contraception Act been law at the time—employers like Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor would likely have lost in court, and would have been forced to choose between violating their religious consciences or violating the law.
This isn’t about birth control; it’s simply about control.
If policymakers truly wanted to support women by making birth control more accessible and affordable, they would make it available without a prescription. GOP lawmakers have advocated for over-the-counter availability, but the Right to Contraception Act fails to do this.
Making birth control available over the counter could reduce unplanned pregnancies by as much as 25 percent, according to an estimate from UC-San Francisco. And the price of birth control would fall, as we’ve seen with other drugs that become available over the counter.
The Right to Contraception Act does nothing to improve women’s access to birth control or to make it more affordable. No doubt the legislation is meant as fodder for election ads, wherein Democrats will attempt to paint any GOP lawmaker who votes against it as an authoritarian theocrat who wants to take away women’s rights.
There are many important policy questions surrounding abortion, contraception, and transgenderism. But these questions should be approached honestly and in good faith. It is terribly sad that Democrats seem unable to resist going too far with an extreme and unpopular agenda and preying on women’s fears for political gain. There they go again.