Durbin Statement On Senate Republicans Voting Against The Right To Contraception Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today released the following statement after Senate Republicans voted against the Right to Contraception Act. This bill, which Durbin is a cosponsor of, would protect the rights of patients to access and use contraception and of health care providers to provide contraception and information about contraception. It would codify the right to contraception that the Supreme Court first recognized in Griswold. It would also allow patients, providers, and the Justice Department to go to court to enforce these rights.

“Under the last Administration, Senate Republicans confirmed extremist judges who helped eliminate a woman’s constitutional right to abortion. In the years since, they have stood on the sidelines while women have been denied medical care—refusing to step up even when draconian state abortion bans resulted in catastrophic health outcomes for their constituents. And today, Senate Republicans voted against legislation that would have protected access to birth control nationwide—a necessary step after Justice Thomas called for Griswold to be ‘reconsider[ed].’ When congressional Republicans tell you they care about women, small government, and individual liberties: don’t believe them.”

Today’s vote occurs during the week marking the 59th anniversary of the landmark Griswold v. Connecticut decision, in which the Supreme Court ruled that all married Americans have a constitutional right to use contraception. Griswold has served as the foundation for other landmark Supreme Court decisions, including the expansion of the right to access contraception to other Americans in 1972.

In a concurring opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Justice Thomas declared that the Court should “eliminate” the legal doctrine behind the constitutional right to privacy and “reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.” This means that one of the justices who eliminated the right to abortion also thinks that the Court should reconsider the constitutional right to contraception—as well as the constitutional rights to marriage equality and consensual relationships between LGBTQ people.