Pallone Floor Statement on the Right to Contraception Act
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) delivered the following statement on the House Floor today during consideration of H.R. 8373, the Right to Contraception Act:
Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 8373, the Right to Contraception Act, introduced by Representative Manning.
When the Supreme Court overruled a woman’s constitutional right to abortion last month, it also called into question all the other fundamental freedoms that Americans cherish under the Fourteenth Amendment’s right to privacy, including the right to contraception. In his concurrence, Justice Clarence Thomas went so far to even contend that the Court should reconsider Griswold, the landmark case that first recognized the constitutional right to use contraceptives.
This has opened the door for Republican legislators in states like Idaho, Louisiana, and Mississippi to try to ban certain contraceptive methods.
These extreme proposals build on decades of Republican efforts to restrict access to essential reproductive health care services. They have tried to gut the Title X family planning program, which provides access to contraceptives and family planning services for low-income and uninsured individuals. They have also repeatedly tried to invalidate the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, which ensures coverage for contraception free of charge.
Contraception is basic preventive health care and is crucial to the health and human rights of all people. Millions of people rely on contraception not only to prevent unintended pregnancies but to prevent and treat a wide range of medical conditions. Access to contraception is essential to achieving gender equality as it advances women’s health and economic empowerment.
H.R. 8373 ensures that Republicans can not limit people’s access to contraceptives. It also ensures that health care providers can provide contraceptives and information about them, free from political interference.
Madam Speaker, while the right to contraception is legal today, we must act to ensure this remains true in the future. This legislation does exactly that, by enshrining the right to contraception in federal law. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation and I reserve the balance of my time.