We must enshrine our right to contraception before it’s too late

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We must enshrine our right to contraception before it’s too late

Overturning Roe v Wade and, with it, the fundamental right for women to make our own health care decisions was just the beginning of the right-wing’s attack on our freedoms, plain and simple. Since that decision, the American people have seen our reproductive freedoms under siege across the country, from the Alabama Supreme Court’s in-vitro fertilization (IVF) ruling to bills being introduced in state after state that could ban IUDs and Plan B. 

If Donald Trump wins in 2024 with an anti-choice Senate and House majority, MAGA-supporting Republicans, as outlined in their Project 2025 plan, will further restrict a woman’s right to control her body and label contraceptives as “obscene” and “illicit” to prevent women from accessing them.

Today, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on the Right to Contraception Act, a bill which I co-sponsor. The act protects women’s rights to birth control and other contraception nationwide. 

As we stare down the real chance that right-wing extremists could take control of the White House and the U.S. Congress, we must protect the right to contraception before they have a chance to roll back decades of progress in reproductive health care and personal autonomy — this time on a nationwide scale.

In an era when reproductive rights face relentless attacks, the right to contraception has emerged as a central battlefield in the fight for bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom. 

At the heart of the threat is U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who, in his concurring opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson case in 2022, voiced support for “reconsidering” Griswold v. Connecticut. This decision established the right to contraception, a bedrock of privacy and personal freedom since 1965. 

Thomas’s call to undo the longstanding legal foundations protecting our right to contraception — a sentiment endorsed by Trump-supporting Republican Speaker Mike Johnson (La.) — echoes the judicial reasoning the right used to reverse Roe.

Soon thereafter, despite 90 percent of Americans wanting the right to contraception to remain legal, 195 House Republicans voted against the Right to Contraception Act, which includes condoms, IUDs, the pill, patches, Plan B and other forms of emergency contraception. It passed the House only thanks to the support of all 220 Democrats then in the majority. Senate Republicans proceeded to block all action in the Senate and did so again in 2023. 

There can be no confusion here about what right-wing Republicans did. The bill, which would have enshrined the right to contraception in federal law, was only several pages long. When it comes to contraception, Republicans continually demonstrate they care more about pleasing far-right groups and other MAGA forces than protecting the American people’s fundamental freedoms. 

In the face of relentless attacks by right-wing extremists, the Right to Contraception Act is more than legislation; it is a declaration that we will not stand idly by as our fundamental rights are threatened. It represents a critical defense against those who wish to drag our reproductive rights back five decades. 

As we move toward the vote, let us be guided by the principle that all women have the fundamental right to make their own healthcare decisions and ensure our collective voice is heard loud and clear. We must act decisively to protect our rights from those who seek to undermine them. 

The stakes here for the American people could not be higher. Extremist attempts to impose limits to contraception would hurt women, families and communities. 

I urge every American to contact their senators and demand they vote for the Right to Contraception Act. Our collective future — our freedoms, our health and our autonomy — depends on it.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and a cosponsor of the Right to Contraception Act.