Here Are the 38 Senate Republicans Who Just Blocked the Right to Contraception Act

The bill was expected to fail, with Democrats introducing it to strategically expose where Republicans stand on contraception, even as the party repeatedly claims that they’re not targeting it. 

Politics
Here Are the 38 Senate Republicans Who Just Blocked the Right to Contraception Act
From left, Senators Joni Ernest, Marco Rubio, and Marsha Blackburn. Photos: Shutterstock

On Wednesday, Senate Republicans blocked a bill to enshrine a right to obtain and provide the full range of contraception into federal law. The move builds on a growing, disturbing trend of GOP lawmakers threatening access to birth control ever since Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022. By a 51-39 vote, the bill failed, with Republican senators including Sens. Ted Cruz (TX), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Marsha Blackburn (TN), and Joni Ernst (IA) voting against it. Nine GOP senators—Mike Braun (IN), Katie Britt (AL), Lindsey Graham (SC), Bill Hagerty (TN), John Kennedy (LA), Jerry Moran (KS), Mitt Romney of (UT), Dan Sullivan of (AK), and JD Vance (OH)—didn’t vote. Sens. Susan Collins (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK) were the only Republicans to vote in favor of the bill.

The bill was expected to fail, and Senate Democrats led by Sen. Patty Murray (WA) introduced it to strategically expose where Republicans stand on contraception, even as the party repeatedly claims to not be targeting it.

This is the full list of Republican senators who voted against the bill:

  • John Barrasso (WY)
  • Marsha Blackburn (TN)
  • John Boozman (AR)
  • Ted Budd (IN)
  • Shelley Moore Capito (WV)
  • Bill Cassidy (LA)
  • John Cornyn (TX)
  • Tom Cotton (AK)
  • Kevin Cramer (ND)
  • Mike Crapo (ID)
  • Ted Cruz of (TX)
  • Steve Daines (MT)
  • Joni Ernst (IA)
  • Deb Fischer (NE)
  • Chuck Grassley (IA)
  • Josh Hawley (MO)
  • John Hoeven (ND)
  • Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS)
  • Ron Johnson (WI)
  • James Lankford (OK)
  • Mike Lee of (UT)
  • Cynthia Lummis (WY)
  • Roger Marshall (KS)
  • Mitch McConnell (KY)
  • Markwayne Mullin of (OK)
  • Rand Paul (KY)
  • Pete Ricketts (NE)
  • Jim Risch (ID)
  • Mike Rounds (SD)
  • Marco Rubio (FL)
  • Eric Schmitt (MO)
  • Rick Scott (FL)
  • Tim Scott (SC)
  • John Thune (SD)
  • Thoms Tillis (ND)
  • Tommy Tuberville (AL)
  • Roger Wicker (MS)
  • Todd Young (IN)

In remarks on the Senate floor before rejecting the bill, Sen. Bill Cassidy (LA) claimed that “Senate Democrats are using their power in the majority to push an alarmist and false narrative that there was a problem accessing contraception.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) argued the opposite in his own remarks: “Make no mistake. Americans’ uncertainty about using birth control is one of the many, many shameful consequences of overturning Roe.”

Republicans’ move to block a right to birth control follows former President Trump’s remarks in May that he’s “looking at” restrictions on contraception—only to flip-flop on social media hours later and insist that he has “never, and will never advocate imposing restrictions on birth control,” and “I DO NOT SUPPORT A BAN ON BIRTH CONTROL, AND NEITHER WILL THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!” Welp, the GOP senators’ vote just proved that wrong.

Plus, just days after the Supreme Court killed Roe in 2022, almost 200 House Republicans voted against a bill to establish a right to birth control. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) vetoed a bill that would have codified the right to obtain and use contraception in state law in May, arguing it was unnecessary. And back in February, Tennessee Republicans also blocked a bill to codify IVF and birth control protections from even coming out of the state House committee. Tellingly, they argued it would limit the totality of the state’s abortion ban, implicitly equating birth control and IVF with abortion.

And yet, earlier this week, Britt called Democrats and abortion rights advocates warnings that Republicans will target birth control next “scare tactics” and “fearmongering.” Well, there’s clearly something to fear when, over and over, Republicans on the federal and state level block bills to protect access to birth control, or attempt to conflate it with abortion, which is banned in over a dozen states.

Ernst, in blocking Wednesday’s bill, has baselessly claimed it would “mandate access to abortion drugs for women and girls of all ages,” dangerously equating birth control and abortion, laying the groundwork to attack both. In a particularly disturbing twist, she told CNN this week that she will introduce her own bill to ostensibly protect a right to access birth control, but with a key distinction: “It does not include Plan B, which many folks on the right would consider abortive services. Big distinction. We want to prevent a pregnancy, not end a pregnancy,” she told CNN this week. This is… both so untrue and so dangerous. Plan B prevents a pregnancy from occurring; abortion ends a pregnancy that’s underway. Under abortion bans, when they’re equated, both can be banned.

Even more concerning, on Tuesday, an anti-abortion doctor who testified as part of a Senate hearing about the impacts of abortion bans also equated IUDs with abortion. (The copper IUD can also be used for emergency contraception when inserted within five days after having sex, and it works by making it harder for sperm to fertilize an egg.) “If you look at the package inserts such as the cooper IUD, it actually clearly states that they do prevent implantation even if fertilization has occurred which would classify that as an abortifacient, yes,” the doctor, Dr. Christina Francis, CEO of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), said.

This shouldn’t be surprising: Hot mic audio published by ProPublica in November 2022 showed a top anti-abortion group counseling Tennessee Republicans to wait before inevitably going after birth control and IVF, which makes it all the more foreboding that they rejected the aforementioned bill to protect both back in February. As for IVF, ever since an Alabama Supreme Court ruling recognizing embryos as “extrauterine children” plunged IVF access into chaos across the state, anti-abortion leaders have struggled to unify around a stance. Some Republicans have tried to distance themselves from attacks on IVF while top anti-abortion groups have come out swinging against IVF. Meanwhile, in February, Senate Republicans blocked a bill similar to Murray’s Right to Contraception Act that would have enshrined a federal right to fertility treatments, and over 100 Republican Congress members have cosponsored a bill recognizing that “life begins at conception,” jeopardizing IVF.

The same day as the Senate vote on the Right to Contraception Act, Planned Parenthood and other reproductive rights groups installed a 20-foot model of an IUD in Washington, D.C., to rally for birth control rights and bring attention to Republicans and anti-abortion leaders’ attacks on contraception like IUDs. As the installation picks up more traction online, hopefully, it can also serve as a warning about what anti-abortion politicians are trying to take away from us.

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