Pro-Life Republican Sen. Joni Ernst has blocked a phony “contraception” bill that actually promotes abortion and funds Planned Parenthood. House Democrats passed the bill recently but Ernst has blocked the Senate from considering it.
The bill is a disingenuous way to make it appear pro-life Republican members of Congress are so extreme that they oppose contraception. A week ago, the House voted 228-195 for the measure with all Democrats voting yes and virtually all Republicans voting no. Before the final vote, Democrats defeated a Republican motion to rewrite the bill to promote contraception and birth control without also promoting abortion.
In the Senate, Democrats are seeking to fast-track the bill and asked for unanimous consent to bring it up for a vote. Ernest objected, so no vote was taken. To bring up the bill, Democrats will now have to find 60 votes to overcome a filibuster and that is almost certainly not going to happen given the fact that more than 40 pro-life senators will band together to block the pro-abortion bill.
As an alternative, Ernst offered a measure to help ensure birth control can be sold over the counter and to speed up the process with the FDA so the abortion alternative can be more readily available.
“With my bill, women 18 and older can walk into the local pharmacy, whether that be in Sidney, Iowa, or the deepest parts of Manhattan, and get the routine use birth control they need,” Ernst said.
But with House Democrats opposing the similar measure in the House, it’s unlikely that Senate Democrats will move ahead with her legislation. In fact, Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ed Markey, who sought the unanimous consent request for the pro-abortion bill to get a vote, objected to Ernst’s measure. That means neither bill will move ahead.
H.R. 8373, the Democrats’ “Right to Contraception Act,”is essentially another pro-abortion bill and, during the House debate, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) exposed the phoniness of the legislation.
She first said the bill is a disingenuous attempt to promote contraception.
“Democrats introduced it on a Friday and debated it for the first time on Monday at the Rules Committee and since then, they’ve had to introduce multiple amendments to address their own failures to draft good policy. This is not how we build trust in solutions we bring before the People’s House. If Democrats came to me and asked to work together on a bill, I would have been happy to roll up my sleeves and work with them. For years, Republicans on both sides of the Capitol have led on solutions to allow for great access to safe and effective contraception including to make it available over-the-counter,” McMorris Rodgers said.
Secondly, the bill is more of a vehicle to continue and expand funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s biggest abortion company.
“Unfortunately, today, rather than work with us, Democrats are again spreading fear and misinformation to score political points. And they are doing it with a very poorly drafted bill, that opens the door further to their extreme abortion-on-demand agenda. It should be called the ‘Payouts for Planned Parenthood Act.’ It would send more taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood, freeing up more funds for them to provide abortions and end vulnerable lives,” she explained.
The Republican congresswoman said the bill puts women’s lives and health at risk by promoting dangerous drugs that cause abortions.
“This bill endangers the health and safety of women. It allows Planned Parenthood and abortion providers to prescribe – both on and off-label – drugs to be used for abortions without any restrictions. Additionally, and again, despite many drafts, Democrats included a definition of contraception that is not limited to FDA-approved products. The term contraception is defined as ‘an action taken to prevent pregnancy, including the use of contraceptives or fertility-awareness based methods, and sterilization procedures.’ This means that the bill creates an individual right to engage in contraception, which can include the use of FDA approved products, but also any other action taken to prevent pregnancy, including non-approved products.”
And finally, the bill would trample on the conscience rights of Christians by forcing Christian medical professionals and Christian groups to violate their conscience rights.
“H.R. 8373, will also continue President Joe Biden’s war on religious liberty and conscience protections. It would force health providers to violate their religion and sincerely held beliefs to provide contraception and perform sterilizations, including on minors. It would also force organizations like the Little Sisters of the Poor to violate their religion and provide contraception. For all the fearmongering Democrats are spreading about other Supreme Court precedents being threatened where is the respect for the Little Sisters of the Poor and their victory for their constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom?”
A leading pro-life group also pointed out pro-abortion flaws with the bill.
Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America informed members of Congress that it is scoring a vote on the bill as a vote for abortion and abortion funding. It opposes the H.R. 8373, the Democrats’ “Right to Contraception Act,” which it says is better described as the Payouts for Planned Parenthood Act.
The SBA score letter reads in part: “Far from being a bill that simply allows for access to contraception, this bill seeks to bail out the abortion industry, trample conscience rights, and require uninhibited access to dangerous chemical abortion drugs.”
The letter points out that, although domestic family planning was federally funded at nearly $1.8 billion in FY 2020, this legislation:
- Seeks to guarantee funding to abortion businesses by barring federal and state governments from redirecting contraception funding to life-affirming health care providers.
- Would override state and federal freedom of conscience laws.
- Explicitly excludes application of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
- Could overturn laws regulating chemical abortion and mandate access to dangerous abortion drugs, due to its overbroad definition of contraceptives.
SBA Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser told LifeNews: “Nancy Pelosi and pro-abortion Democrats will stop at nothing to ensure the abortion industry led by Planned Parenthood has a steady flow of taxpayer dollars to prop up their brutal business. Abortion is violence and no health care provider should ever be forced to be complicit. Moreover, with thousands of pregnancy and health centers across the country that vastly outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities and offer women real choices, the abortion industry does not need or deserve tax dollars. The Payouts for Planned Parenthood Act is just the latest ploy for the Democrats to impose abortion on demand until birth nationwide and funnel money to the abortion lobby that is spending $150 million to get them elected. They will be held accountable for their radical, deeply unpopular agenda.”
Meanwhile, National Review writer John McCormack has also exposed the pro-abortion nature of the legislation. He also notes how it would violate federal law.
House Democrats — eager to paint Republicans as opponents of a legal right to contraception — are rushing toward a vote on a bill this week that would establish a nationwide right to receive and distribute all FDA-approved contraceptives, superseding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is a 1993 law that establishes a balancing test for courts to use when deciding religious-liberty cases involving federal laws and regulations. RFRA was overwhelmingly popular when it passed the House on a voice vote (where it was sponsored by then-congressman Chuck Schumer) and passed the Senate on a 97–3 vote in 1993. But since then, Democrats have turned against the law, in the wake of courts’ ruling that RFRA protects conscientious objectors such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of nuns who care for the elderly poor, from having to violate their religious beliefs in order to carry out Obamacare’s 2012 contraceptive mandate.
When Democrats held a vote earlier this year for the first time in Senate history on legislation that would “codify Roe v. Wade,” two pro-Roe Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, opposed the legislation because it went beyond Roe in several important respects, including its provision superseding RFRA. A joint press release sent out by Collins and Murkowski noted, “Congress has never before adopted legislation that contains an exemption to this religious liberty law.”
By including the same poison-pill language about RFRA in their “Right to Contraception Act,” Democrats appear to be taking a page from their 2012 playbook: picking a fight over religious liberty in order to portray Republicans as opposing the legal right to contraception.
He notes that the bill would also block states from defunding the Planned Parenthood abortion company.
While pro-life Republicans have repeatedly voted for billions of dollars in federal funding of contraception — both in the Title X program and Medicaid — they object to providing funding that subsidizes Planned Parenthood, an organization that performs hundreds of thousands of abortions each year. McMorris Rodgers pointed out that the Democratic contraceptive bill would “send more taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood, freeing up more funds for them to provide abortions and end the lives of the most helpless among us.”
And it would create a so-called right to abortion drugs to kill babies.
What’s more, the so-called “contraception” bill could create a federal right to