Protecting the Right to Contraception for Families in Tennessee
9-in-10 Tennessee families rely on basic contraceptives to plan their families.
Unfortunately, 195 House Republicans voted against the Right to Contraception Act, a simple bill protecting the right to basic contraception like the pill, IUDs, and condoms. And Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the Supreme Court should consider overturning the ruling that has ensured Americans can access contraception for the past 60 years.
That's why state leaders have introduced the "Tennessee Contraceptive Freedom Act." The bill’s straightforward and plain language makes it clear that the government can not infringe on Tennesseans’ right to basic contraception.
But unless the bill passes both the state senate and house of representatives, Tennesseans’ right to birth control remains in jeopardy.
Now, Tennesseans from both sides of the political spectrum are joining together to ask our representatives to show compassion to families across our state and protect our right to birth control before it’s too late.
Why Tennessee Families Need Their Right to Birth Control Protected
For many families, birth control has become an essential part of building a family. It allows parents to wait to have children until they are ready—emotionally and financially. Contraception ensures more children are raised by married parents who bring them into the world at a time when they can provide the most nurturing care. And it dramatically decreases unintended pregnancies and abortions rates.
All around, access to contraception empowers individuals and couples to plan and space their pregnancies, leading to healthier families, improved economic stability, and enhanced overall quality of life.
Enhancing Family Planning and Stability:
The right to contraception enables individuals and couples to plan their families in a manner that aligns with their personal circumstances and aspirations. By providing the means to prevent unintended pregnancies, contraception offers individuals the opportunity to embark on parenthood when they feel emotionally, financially, and socially ready. Parents’ right to choose how to plan and space pregnancies fosters family stability, allowing parents to provide the necessary care, resources, and support to their children, promoting healthier family dynamics and nurturing environments.
Promoting Economic Security:
Contraception plays a pivotal role in promoting economic security within families. By allowing individuals to control the timing and frequency of pregnancies, contraception empowers couples to make informed decisions about their financial future. It enables them to pursue education, enter the workforce, and engage in career advancement, all of which contribute to economic stability and improved living standards.
What’s the Current State of Contraception Access in Tennessee?
In Tennessee, over 400,000 women live in contraception deserts, and 36.8% of counties do not even have a single OB-GYN, meaning that Tennessee families must overcome significant barriers to access contraception and maternal care.
The difficulty of obtaining contraception in Tennessee is exacerbated by the fact that 71.6% of counties in the state have no hospital or birth center offering maternity care, making the process of pregnancy and having children significantly more difficult, often leading to negative outcomes for families and children.
In 2023, state Republicans refused to pass a law that would have differentiated contraception from abortion and protected it against future restrictions and bans.
Could Birth Control Really Be Banned?
Birth control has been banned before (until 1972), and the Supreme Court has indicated it may be willing to ban it again—or at least send it back to the states to decide.
Just this past year, 195 US House Republicans voted against the Right to Basic Contraception–the pill, IUDs, condoms. And extreme politicians in 11 states currently have introduced legislation or taken executive action to take away the Right to Contraception.
In Wisconsin, one representative argued on the legislative floor that contraception is responsible for ruining marriages, spreading STDs, and making women act unnaturally.
It's only a matter of time until these arguments become a problem in Tennessee too. When that happens, Tennessee needs to be ready with protections already in place and our right to access birth control codified into state law.