The House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that would codify a person’s right to access contraception, although its prospects in the Senate are dim.
The bill, backed mainly by Democrats, passed by a 228-195 margin.
Republicans argued that the legislation is an avenue for Democrats to legalize “chemical abortion.” The bill states that access to emergency contraception, otherwise known as “Plan B pills,” would be protected nationally.
“ American women deserve to be able to make decisions about their own bodies and their own lives, including whether to become pregnant and have children. That is a basic human right that House Democrats will defend with all our strength,” said Steny Hoyer, House majority leader.
The bill is among several passed by Democrats in the House in the wake of last month’s ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade. On Tuesday, Democrats, with the backing of 47 Republicans, passed a bill that would codify same-sex and biracial marriage nationally.
House Democrats say there is a possibility that the conservative Supreme Court could reverse same-sex and interracial marriage and contraception rights at the national level the same way it overturned Roe v. Wade, which includes leaving the question of legal abortions to the various U.S. states.
Writing the majority opinion in the abortion case Dobbs v. Jackson, Justice Clarence Thomas suggested the Supreme Court should revisit past cases.
“In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell. Because any substantive due process decision is ‘demonstrably erroneous,’ we have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents,” Thomas wrote.
Access to contraception has been allowed nationally since the 1965 Supreme Court ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut. The court held that privacy is protected by the 14th Amendment under its due process clause.
The “Lawrence” case Thomas referenced was a 2003 ruling by the Supreme Court that ruled criminal punishments for sodomy were unconstitutional and violated privacy rights.
While the bills passed with a Democratic majority in the House, the Senate would need the support of 10 Republicans to break the filibuster.