Next up in the post-Roe legislative battle? Contraception.


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Today’s edition: The Biden administration is reorganizing the federal health department to create a new division to lead the nation’s pandemic response. A key Democrat is criticizing the nation’s monkeypox response. But first …

Next up in the post-Roe legislative battle? Contraception.

House Democrats are attempting to put Republicans in another uncomfortable spot. 

The chamber will vote today on legislation aimed at protecting the right to contraception — another messaging bill in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

But in a surprising twist, Tuesday’s supposed messaging vote to protect same-sex marriage garnered the support of 47 Republicans, including two of the party’s top lawmakers. Now, Senate Democratic leaders are scrambling to shore up enough Republican support to bring the measure to the floor.

Yet, there may not be as strong of a showing for the contraception bill, as our colleagues reported last night. Some key GOP lawmakers have argued the legislation is “poorly drafted” and too broad. A prominent antiabortion group will ding the scorecards of lawmakers who support the measure. And the No. 3 House Republican, Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) — who voted for the same-sex marriage bill — told The Health 202 that she would oppose the birth control legislation. 

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wrote that the ruling overturning Roe doesn’t impact other precedents, like birth control or same-sex marriage. But Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion said the nation’s highest court should review other precedents — a statement Democrats are now targeting.

The party wants to force votes on issues that could turn into ready-made attack ads during the midterm elections. The strategy is to expose “Republican extremism” on positions Democrats believe are far outside the views of mainstream Americans, according to a senior Democratic aide. 

  • “As some of our colleagues have said, we want to put the Republicans on record, but we’d like to put them on record in support of contraception,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at a news conference yesterday. “We want this legislation to pass in a bipartisan way. But if not … we will remember in November.”

Republicans contend they’re not against contraception. “I don’t think there’s a lot of disagreement that contraception, on both sides of the aisle, is certainly appropriate and right,” Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.), the top Republican on the House Rules Committee, said during a hearing earlier this week.

Here are the arguments likely to be made on the House floor today. 

The view from Republicans: Some GOP lawmakers contend the bill is way too broad and could also open the door for medication abortion — a notion Democrats dispute. Two GOP lawmakers, as well as a Republican aide, instead pointed to other contraception bills supported by Republicans, which they believe are more narrow. This includes one from Rep. Stephanie I. Bice (R-Okla.).

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