Protecting Access to Contraception

Did you know that two bills have been introduced in the North Carolina legislature to protect access to contraception?

HB670 - Preserve Access to Contraception

SB540 - Right to Use Contraception

Did you know the Right To Contraception Act has been introduced in both the federal House and Senate?

The North Carolina bills have not even been given a hearing, as lawmakers prioritize banning abortion and gender-affirming care, and try to make backroom deals about casinos. In Congress, neither bill has received any support from GOP lawmakers. It seems very few anti-abortion lawmakers support access to contraception. That's because restrictions on reproductive health, especially abortion, are about control, not patient health and safety, or preventing unplanned pregnancies.

Our mission at Pro-Choice North Carolina is to ensure all people have access to the reproductive healthcare they need, when they need it, in the communities where they live. This includes equitable access to the full range of safe and effective contraception methods.

Access to abortion has been quickly decimated across the country in the 15 months since Roe was overturned, but the foundation for that devastating Supreme Court decision had been decades in the making.  Junk science, false narratives, a politicized judiciary, and brazen legislative and political attacks on abortion all chipped away at access. Finally the anti-abortion movement had consolidated the power it needed on the U.S. Supreme Court in 2022 to overturn what was supposed to be “settled law” and nearly 50 years of legal precedent. We should be prepared that even older precedent – 1965’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Griswold v CT that legalized some access to contraception – is also in the crosshairs of the anti-abortion and anti-choice movement.

Just as with abortion, we have witnessed decades of attempts to erode access to contraception. There were women’s health clinics immediately post-Roe that did not offer abortion but did offer family planning – birth control – that immediately attracted the ire of anti-abortion protesters, and that connection has never been severed.

Over the years we have seen anti-abortion centers, abstinence-only sex ed curriculums, anti-choice websites, and right wing social media influencers spread false and inflammatory information about the efficacy and safety of birth control. False narratives based in misogynistic and racist stereotypes about who accesses birth control have led to Congressional hearings, lawsuits, smear campaigns against young women who speak out, and even U.S Supreme Court decisions that give employers, politicians, and right wing special interests a say over one’s access to birth control.

When these efforts to shame and intimidate people about using birth control have not worked – birth control remains highly popular in this country – we’ve seen political attacks on insurance coverage for contraception, legislative efforts to keep safe contraception away from minors, and even the empowerment of anti-choice pharmacists to block people from accessing contraception. This is the same playbook for attacks on abortion, and the end goal is the same in both instances - block access to common aspects of reproductive healthcare, in particular women’s reproductive healthcare. Like abortion, contraception is also healthcare, and politicians play dangerous games with other people’s lives when they restrict and ban it. 

Opposition to birth control, as with abortion, is about control, perpetuating gender inequality, and enforcing rigid gender, racial and social hierarchies.That’s why legislation like what has been introduced at the federal and state level is so important. As we’ve seen with a rash of recent U.S Supreme Court decisions upending “settled law”, we cannot be complacent about our rights, including our right to bodily autonomy and the right to plan and grow our families in ways that work best for ourselves. There is no middle ground with anti-choice extremists. This emboldened opposition that successfully overturned Roe is not going to stop at attacking abortion.  We must act now to protect our bodies, our families, our futures, and our rights. Both abortion and contraception are part of the normal full range of reproductive healthcare, and any society that claims to care about the health, safety, and lives of people who can get pregnant must protect both options. We applaud the lawmakers taking these proactive steps to protect contraception access, and urge their colleagues to join them.

TAKE ACTION: You can raise your voice for contraception access by contacting your state and federal elected officials to let them know these bills have been introduced in their respective chambers and you want to see them passed. We know that anti-choice extremists won't stop at abortion access, and we expect our lawmakers to proactively protect access to birth control!

Representation and contact information the the North Carolina Legislature: https://www.ncleg.gov/findyourlegislators

Representation and contact information for Congress: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials

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