There have been concerns about access to medical care and medication in the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson decision by the Supreme Court. In response, the House of Representatives passed “H.R.8373 – To protect a person’s ability to access contraceptives and to engage in contraception, and to protect a health care provider’s ability to provide contraceptives, contraception, and information related to contraception.”
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC) and passed the House with 228 votes; all of the chamber’s 220 Democrats and 8 Republicans voted in favor of the bill, and 195 Republicans voted against it.
“We need federal legislation to make it absolutely clear that people have the right to use and buy birth control,” Rep. Manning told Reuters.
Birth control is used for a variety of reasons, not only limited to only pregnancy management, including regulating periods, anemia, relieving endometriosis symptoms, preventing ovarian cysts, helping with polycystic ovarian syndrome, and lowering patient risk for some cancers, among others.
Furthermore, denying access to contraception for child-bearing-capable Americans would also effectively deny access to any drug that can cause birth defects, because these drugs often require a simultaneous prescription for birth control during their use. This has already been seen in the use of drugs like methotrexate and misoprostol.
The overturn of Roe v. Wade has already created barriers to medical care and access to medication, including FDA-approved drugs like mifepristone, methotrexate, and misoprostol. These drugs are used in abortive procedures, but are also key to treating a variety of issues not related to abortion, including auto-immune diseases, long COVID, and chronic stomach ulcers, among others.
While the Biden administration has signed into law the Executive Order Protecting Access to Reproductive Health Care Services, which aims to safeguard and protect patients and their providers, Members of Congress have taken steps to further codify protections across the board.