Pence votes against right to contraceptives

Rep. Greg Pence

WASHINGTON — Rep. Greg Pence, R-Indiana, has voted against legislation that would codify the right to use contraceptives nationwide.

The House voted 228-195 on Thursday to pass the bill and send it to the Senate, where the measure is expected to face an uphill battle. All but eight House Republicans voted against the bill, including every Republican who represents Indiana.

The bill would explicitly allow the use of contraceptives and give the medical community the right to provide them, covering “any device or medication used to prevent pregnancy,” according to wire reports. Listed examples include oral contraceptives, injections, implants like intrauterine devices and emergency contraceptives, which prevent pregnancy several days after unprotected sex.

The measure also would let the federal and state government, patients and health care providers bring civil suits against states or state officials that violate its provisions.

Thursday’s vote was the Democrats’ latest campaign-season response to concerns a conservative Supreme Court that already erased federal abortion rights could go further, according to wire reports. The vote came one day after Pence voted against a bill that would protect same-sex and interracial marriages.

Democrats said that with the high court recently overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision from 1973, the justices and GOP lawmakers are on track to go even further than banning abortions, according to the AP.

In his opinion overturning Roe last month, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the court should now review other precedents. He mentioned rulings that affirmed the rights of same-sex marriage in 2015, same-sex intimate relationships in 2003 and married couples’ use of contraceptives in 1965.

Thomas did not specify a 1972 decision that legalized the use of contraceptives by unmarried people as well, but Democrats say they consider that at risk as well.

Republicans said the bill went too far, according to wire reports. They said it would lead to more abortions, which supporters deny, allow the use of drugs not yet fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration and force health care providers to offer contraceptives, even if that contradicted their religious beliefs.

Nearly all adults, 92%, called birth control “morally acceptable” in a Gallup poll in May. A PRRI poll in June showed about 8 in 10 said they opposed laws that restrict what types of birth control can be used to prevent pregnancy.