Senate Republicans Block Dem Contraception Bill
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks during a news conference following a vote on the Right to Contraception Act at the U.S. Capitol on June 5, 2024 in Washington, DC.
(Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Senate Republicans blocked a Democrat bill that sought to codify the right to access contraception in federal law, with many arguing that it would infringe on religious and parental rights.

Fifty-one members, including two Republicans, voted to advance the legislation — an insufficient number to reach the three-fifths majority needed to break the filibuster. Thirty-eight Republicans voted against moving forward. Nine other GOP members and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) did not vote.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) switched his vote to “Nay,” a move that allowed him to file a motion to reconsider the failed cloture vote at some point in the future. He has set up a vote next week for an IVF bill with a stated goal of putting Republicans on the record on reproductive rights.

The contraception bill, introduced by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), would “protect an individual’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.”

Democrat lawmakers are pressing the birth control debate in a presidential election year. They argue Markey’s legislation is necessary because the 2022 Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade — a ruling that returned the issue of abortion access to the states — also “threatened” contraception.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who is running to become the next leader of the Senate GOP, led 21 of his Republican colleagues in a statement that disparaged the contraception bill. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), considered a contender for former President Donald Trump’s running mate in the 2024 election, was among them.

“There is no threat to access to contraception, which is legal in every state and required by law to be offered at no cost by health insurers, and it’s disgusting that Democrats are fearmongering on this important issue to score cheap political points,” the GOP lawmakers said.


“This bill infringes on the parental rights and religious liberties of some Americans and lets the federal government force religious institutions and schools, even public elementary schools, to offer contraception like condoms to little kids,” they added. “It’s just another way for Democrats to use activist attorneys and our courts to advance their radical agenda and that is why we oppose this bill.”

The pair of GOP lawmakers who joined with the majority of Democrats and the independents who caucus with them voting to advance the legislation included Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

“This is not a perfect bill,” Murkowski said in a video posted to X. “This isn’t a bill that has gone through committee. Leader Schumer has decided that he’s just going to put it on the floor to move to it. That’s a lousy process, actually. This is unfortunately yet another messaging bill … but if it is going to be a messaging bill, I want my message to be very clear: that a woman should have a right to contraception.”

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