House passes Right to Contraception Act guaranteeing access to contraceptives, abortion drugs

Eight House Republicans voted for the contraception bill in the wake of the Supreme Court abortion ruling

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation on Thursday enshrining into federal law the right to contraception, including medications used to induce abortion, with the support of eight Republicans. 

In a 228-195 vote, lawmakers passed the Right to Contraception Act after limited debate and no amendments. The legislation, largely a messaging bill unlikely to pass the 50-50 Senate, would create a federal right to obtaining contraception. 

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds an event with Democratic women House members and advocates for reproductive freedom ahead of the vote on the Right to Contraception Act, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, July 20, 2022. 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds an event with Democratic women House members and advocates for reproductive freedom ahead of the vote on the Right to Contraception Act, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, July 20, 2022.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Overall, eight Republicans voted with every single Democrat to back the bill: Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Fred Upton of Michigan, Nancy Mace of South Carolina, John Katko of New York, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Maria Salazar of Florida.

Republican Reps. Bob Gibbs and Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania voted present.

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The vote was held in response to the Supreme Court's recent overturn of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. In its decision to throw abortion back to the states, the Supreme Court deemed that there was no federal right to abortion. 

Abortion-rights protesters gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022.

Abortion-rights protesters gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas went a step further by authoring a concurring opinion that suggested the court should revisit other rulings including, gay marriage and access to contraception. The opinion set off a firestorm on the left, with Democrats arguing that the nation's highest court was preparing to strike down one precedent after another.

Out of that concern arose the legislation, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 

"With this passage, Democrats will make clear," said Pelosi, D-Calif. "We will never quit in the fight against the outrageous right-wing assault on freedom."

House Republicans labeled the bill a political gimmick meant to boost Democrats ahead of the midterms. 

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"If we allow the majority to undermine constitutional safeguards for an imagined and fake emergency, they will create more imagined emergencies in the future to violate and undermine our constitutional principles," Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y.