Stefanik votes against bill guaranteeing right to contraceptives

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik
Congresswoman Elise Stefanik(Gray Television)
Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 2:29 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWNY) - North country congresswoman Elise Stefanik voted Thursday against a bill guaranteeing a right to use contraceptives.

The bill was pushed through the House of Representatives by Democrats, 228-195. Only eight Republicans crossed over to vote with the Democratic majority.

House Democrats have begun forcing votes on these and other issues related to privacy rights, hoping for long-shot victories or to at least energize sympathetic voters and donors and force Republicans from competitive districts in difficult spots.

“House Democrats’ bill allows non-FDA approved drugs, which puts women’s health significantly at risk and sends taxpayer funds to Far-Left abortion providers like Planned Parenthood,” Stefanik said in a statement.

“I am proudly pro-life and have helped to expand access to over-the-counter FDA approved contraception. Additionally, I am a cosponsor of legislation to support FDA-approved contraception to protect women’s health.”

Earlier this week, Stefanik sided with Democrats in supporting a measure that would protect gay marriage.

Democrats are forcing votes on privacy-related issues after the Supreme Court in June struck down Roe V. Wade, which guaranteed the nationwide right to an abortion.

In his opinion overturning Roe last month, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the court should now review other precedents. He mentioned rulings that affirmed the rights of same-sex marriage in 2015, same-sex intimate relationships in 2003 and married couples’ use of contraceptives in 1965.

Thomas did not specify a 1972 decision that legalized the use of contraceptives by unmarried people as well, but Democrats say they consider that at risk as well.

The contraception bill explicitly allows the use of contraceptives and gives the medical community the right to provide them, covering “any device or medication used to prevent pregnancy.” Listed examples include oral contraceptives, injections, implants like intrauterine devices and emergency contraceptives, which prevent pregnancy several days after unprotected sex.

Every Democrat supported the legislation. The House Democrats’ campaign committee quickly jumped on that disparity, with spokesperson Helen Kalla saying her party will “fight to protect women’s freedoms from the GOP’s sinister agenda.”

Also voting against the contraceptives bill - Rep. Claudia Tenney, the Republican congresswoman who now represents the district which includes Utica and Binghamton, but who is running for election this fall in a district which will include part of Jefferson County.

“The right to contraception is safe,” Tenney said Thursday. “This is not an emergency.”

The measure’s scant Republican House support suggested its fate was at best uphill in the 50-50 Senate. At least 10 GOP senators would have to support the bill for it to reach the 60 votes needed there for most legislation to pass.

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