Protecting the Right to Contraception for Families in Wisconsin
9-in-10 Wisconsin 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.
And Wisconsin elected officials continue to signal their support for anti-contraception legislation, taking money from groups like Pro-Life WI which is "opposed to all forms of artificial contraception" and falsely claiming that contraception is responsible for ruining marriages and spreading STDs.
That’s why the Wisconsin Senate introduced “The Right to Contraception Act.” The bill’s straightforward language makes it clear that the government can not infringe on Wisconsinites’ right to basic contraception.
But until the new bill passes both the state senate and house of representatives, Wisconsinites’ right to birth control remains in jeopardy.
As some extreme state politicians and lobbyists call for a ban on all "artificial contraception" in Wisconsin, a broader coalition of Wisconsinites from both sides 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.
What’s In the “Right to Contraception Act”
On June 21, 2023, Senator Dianne Hesselbein and Representative Lisa Subeck introduced the Right to Contraception Act at a press conference alongside Lt. Governor Sara Rodriguez. This bill establishes protections for individuals’ rights, as well as that of healthcare professionals to provide contraception for individuals in Wisconsin. This means that families in Wisconsin would have basic, uninfringeable access to reproductive health services such as birth control pills, screenings, ultrasounds, and more. However, this bill does not give the right to abortion.
Why Wisconsin 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.
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.
The “Right to Use Contraception Act” is the Next Step in Protecting Access to Birth Control in Wisconsin
In recent years, Wisconsin lawmakers have aimed to ensure reproductive healthcare access and basic reproductive rights.
Wisconsin law requires that every insurance policy provides coverage for “contraceptives prescribed by a health care provider.” This move improves women’s access to basic contraception, but it’s not enough.
In Wisconsin, over 320,000 women live in contraception deserts, meaning they must overcome significant barriers to access the contraception they need in order to decide if, when and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child. Of them, 35,580 live in a county without a single health center that provides a full range of contraception options. More protections are needed to guarantee their access to contraception in order to reduce unintended pregnancies and improve health outcomes for families across the state.
Could Birth Control Really Be Banned?
Birth control has been banned before (until 1972), and Justice Clarence Thomas recently wrote that the Supreme Court and lower courts should overturn the landmark ruling that protected the right of contraception for married couples in America.
During floor debates this year in Wisconsin, state legislators (falsely) argued that contraception was responsible for ruining marriages, spreading STDs, and making women act unnaturally.
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.
If that happens, Wisconsin needs to be ready with protections already in place and our right to access birth control codified into state law.