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Democrat-Sponsored Contraception Bill Fails to Advance in Senate

A picture of contraceptives
Source: Pinterest

Democrat-Sponsored Contraception Bill Fails to Advance in Senate

Source: Pinterest

The contraception bill sponsored by the Democrats to make contraception free for women and those with low wages did not move to the Senate as planned.


Congressional Democrats rushed a vote ahead of the November elections in an attempt to draw attention to the reproductive rights issue. Still, the bill protecting the right to obtain contraceptives was not able to move forward in the U.S. Senate.

The Bill Would Have Made Contraceptive Pills Available For Free

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This bill was dubbed; the “Protect Access to Birth Control Act” and aimed at ensuring insurance providers provided all methods of birth control for free or without any additional charges of co-payment. 


This bill was spearheaded by Democratic Senators Patty Murray of Washington and Barbara Boxer of California and endorsed by several women’s rights organizations.

The Bill Does Not Proceed to the Senate

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Despite 51 votes in favor, the Right to Contraception Act fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance to a full debate on this contentious issue. 39 votes were cast against the bill, which would have protected birth control access across the country.


However, the bill could not progress through the Senate since Republicans did not support it even though it had the endorsement of several Democrats.

Republicans Oppose Bill

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Democrats supported the bill while Republicans were against it, citing massive implementation costs and the possibility of employers exempting themselves from providing coverage. 


“The government is out of control and is trying to push its reckless agenda onto the American public through this bill,” stated Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah. Republicans broke ranks, which is why the vote on contraception rights was only nine votes away from passing.


ALSO READ: Minnesota Pharmacist Faces Discrimination Charges for Refusing Emergency Contraception Prescription

Women's Rights Groups Disappointed

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Women’s rights organizations like the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the National Organization for Women expressed their disappointment with the bill not passing. 


“We are very disappointed that the Senate has not approved this vital legislation,” said Cecil Richards, president of Planned Parenthood. ”We would still advocate for women’s reproductive rights and affordable care.”

Assistance to the Needy Persons

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The bill would have also made birth control free for those of low income through Medicaid and other government-sponsored programs. 


This would have contributed to preventing unwanted pregnancies and abortions among poor women.


POLL—Should Public Schools Include Critical Race Theory and Sex Education in Their Curriculum?

Republicans’ Measures to Contraception

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Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer drew attention to the fact that Republican-led states such as Nevada and Virginia have already vetoed measures meant to guarantee access to contraception. 


The conservative lawmakers’ actions have spurred Schumer and other Democrats to advocate for federal legislation.

Trump Against the Ban

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Donald Trump, the presumed Republican contender for president, recently experienced criticism after opposing politicians asserted that, should he win, he would think about outlawing birth control. 


But in a public statement, Trump said he disagreed with the notion of restricting access to birth control.

Democrats Assure They Will Keep On Struggling

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The Democrat leaders pledged to drive the fight for women’s access to affordable healthcare. 


Senator Murray further noted that “we will not give up on this fight”. Namely, they said that they would continue demanding legislation in favor of women’s health and reproductive rights.

Alternative Solutions Suggested

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Some of the Republicans proposed different measures, including the one allowing women to buy insurance policies for birth control. This caused an uproar among the Democrats who deemed it as costlier and less effective than a broader plan.


At present, most health insurance policies must cater to specific forms of contraceptives as per the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. But often co-pays or deductibles still apply for these services.


ALSO READ: Minnesota Court Rules Against Pharmacist, Says He Discriminated Against Woman by Denying Emergency Contraception

Impact on Women's Health

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This has powerful implications for women and their health, especially in light of the lack of access to affordable health care by women of low-income status. 


In his or her own words, Senator Boxer noted, “This is a devastating blow for women’s health and reproductive rights.”

Public Opinion Poll Indicates Approval of National Programs

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The latest national poll revealed that three out of four Americans favor coverage of birth control with no out-of-pocket costs. Nonetheless, such public support was not sufficient to counter Republican’s rejection.


What remains to be seen is the next actions that democrats and women’s rights organizations will be undertaking. However, they will most probably keep on advocating for other bills that seek to enhance women’s access to healthcare services.

Activists Are Disappointed

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Women’s rights activists and affordable healthcare campaigners leave disappointed as the Democrat-sponsored contraception bill fails. 


But it is not the end of the battle. Democrats and women’s civil organizations will persist in advocating for the law that protects the reproductive choice of women.

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