Republicans Say Access to Birth Control Is Protected. They’re Lying.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) with Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) during a news conference on the Right to Contraception Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on Wednesday, June 05, 2024. (Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Republicans killed a bill that would have federally protected an individual’s right to access birth control and a healthcare worker’s right to distribute it.

The Right to Contraception Act passed a Democratic-led House in 2022. Since then it has been blocked by Senate Republicans at every turn.

The latest attempt to pass the measure was considered a “messaging” or protest vote and in the end only Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) crossed the political aisle to vote in the affirmative. The rest of the GOP cohort gave a defiant thumbs down, claiming that any effort to codify the right to contraception in federal law is unnecessary. 

“‘Democrats’ fear mongering and lies on contraception are nothing more than a means to infringe on Americans’ political and religious rights,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla) posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Contraception is legal, to my knowledge—it’s not in any jeopardy,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) claimed on the Senate floor. “And yet Sen.Schumer wants to schedule a show vote that suggests that somehow it is, maybe striking fear or anxiety in the minds of some.”

It is wonderful to hear anti-abortion legislators with a well-documented lust for power reaffirm the long-established right to access and provide birth control. There’s just one painfully obvious problem with their feeble assurances: They’re lying. 

Republicans havebeen lying about the safety, effectiveness and use of contraception for decades with the sole purpose of curtailing access to various methods of birth control. 

In recent years, the lying has only persisted.

There is a reason why one in five adults living in the U.S. consider the right to use contraception actively under threat—because it is. 

A woman holds up a sign and a replica of a intrauterine device (IUD) ahead of a news conference with elected officials and reproductive rights groups on the Right to Contraception Act outside the U.S. Capitol on June 5, 2024 in. (Kent Nishimura / Getty Images)

Republicans made the same faux guarantees when it came to the constitutional right to access abortion care. This guarantee was disproved when right-wing judges decimated 50 years of legal precedent by overturning Roe v. Wade. It is the same lie fueling the Republican’s so-called “we’ll leave it up to the states” narrative as they simultaneously tout a nationwide abortion ban

Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion in Roe laid bare the conservative movement’s battle plans for continuing their full-fledged war on the right to privacy and bodily autonomy by urging the Court to revisit and overturn landmark cases that solidified the right to same-sex marriage and contraception.

The three justices who attempted to save Roe v. Wade—Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan—issued their own warning, writing in a dissenting opinion that “no one should be confident that this majority is done with its work.” 

It is politically advantageous for Republicans to lie about their ongoing attacks on birth control and emergency contraception—the Right to Contraception Act was supported by eight in 10 voters, and in general nine out of 10 voters believe access to birth control should be legal. What’s just as clear is how the GOP is continuously attempting to deceive the American public.

The real question is not if birth control access is in jeopardy—that much is certain—but whether voters are going to once again ignore the dying canary in the coal mine of democracy and allow another constitutional right to fall by the wayside. 

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Danielle Campoamor is a former NBC and TODAY reporter and award-winning freelance writer and editor published in The New York Times, Washington Post, TIME, New York Magazine's The Cut, CNN, MSNBC, Mother Jones, Marie Claire, Vogue, Vanity Fair and more. She covers a wide variety of topics, including reproductive justice and abortion care, gun violence, mental health, gender-based violence, climate change and more. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., with her husband and two feral sons.