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The Ongoing Battle for the Right to Contraception

Youngkin's Veto Is Just the Beginning

On May 17, 2024, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin vetoed the Right to Contraception bill. This bill would have safe-guarded the right to basic-contraception in Virginia—condoms, the pill, and IUDs—which 90% of all women in the USA currently use. The bill would have ensured individuals’ right to create healthy families and access life saving medical care.

Birth control right to contraception

Larry Sabato, Director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, tweeted following Gov. Youngkin’s veto: “It’s not just Roe. Looks like the ‘right to contraception’ will be a significant issue in both 2024 and 2025.”

Court Cases That Protect Access to Contraception May Be Overturned

Post-Dobbs, the reproductive battle has turned to protecting the fundamental right to contraception, which is being threatened across the country. The Griswold and Eisenstadt Supreme Court decisions, which protect the right to contraception, are increasingly vulnerable: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurrence in the Dobbs decision said that the logic of the Dobbs ruling undermines Griswold, and governors like Governor Youngkin have already begun to deny the right. Gov. Youngkin’s veto has the potential to serve as a precedent for anti-family legislation across the country in the months to come. 

What Is the Right to Contraception Act?

The interpretation of abortion bans to restrict contraception, due to misconceptions about the nature of contraceptives as abortifacients, necessitates clear legal protections. The Right to Contraception Act would prevent the state from enforcing laws that restrict or prohibit the sale, provision, or use of contraception, thus ensuring that healthcare providers can continue to offer these essential services without fear of legal repercussions.

Access to contraception is not only a matter of personal health and family planning, but a moral imperative to ensure individuals have the ability to make choices that align with their own values and circumstances. The Right to Contraception bill is a solution to a decades-long healthcare crisis that will play a crucial role in healthy family planning. 

The Right to Contraception Act also addresses public health objectives outside of reproduction that must be protected: different forms of contraception can be used to treat hormone-related issues such as premenstrual syndrome, migraines, acne, and painful, irregular, and heavy periods—all extremely taxing on menstruating people. Contraception can help prevent and mitigate endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, anemia, and ovarian and uterine cancer.

Widespread Support for the Right to Contraception

There is massive public outcry and support for the Right to Contraception Act. Prior to Gov. Youngkin’s veto, over 36,000 Christians and people of Faith in Virginia voiced their support for the right to contraception—the right to choose when to be fruitful and multiply. 88% of voters say it’s important to them that the right to obtain and use contraception without government interference is protected for all Americans. There is majority support for the Act across party, racial, gender, and generational lines—4 in 5 voters overall back the act

What's Next

Despite 9-in-10 Americans relying on basic contraceptives to plan their families, the right to basic contraception is at risk.

Post-Dobbs, 67% of voters are worried about the impending threat to contraception by the overturning of Roe, and 61% of voters say they fear that SCOTUS will overturn Griswold/Eisenstadt. 

Larry Sabato’s tweet highlights the ongoing battle for the right to contraception nationwide—a battle that he predicts will continue into 2025. 


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