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For 57 years, men and women across the country have had the right to access, use and receive contraception. The Supreme Court recognized this constitutional right in 1965 when it ruled in Griswold v. Connecticut that families could buy and use birth control without government interference.
The use of contraception is a private, personal decision made for various reasons, from medical necessity to being able to plan our families. And it is the next right under attack, now that the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and struck down the right to abortion.
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In his concurring opinion, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that Griswold v. Connecticut should be held to the same standard as the case that overturned Roe v. Wade. Thomas essentially signaled from the highest court in the land to extremist legislators to pass laws at the state and federal levels to limit access, availability and affordability of contraceptives, and he will vote to uphold them.
In July, the Right to Contraception Act was introduced in Congress to defend access to contraception from the right-wing assault on our reproductive rights. The legislation, only a few pages long, would have codified the constitutional right to contraception, guaranteeing access to condoms, IUDs, the pill, patches, and more. Despite poll after poll showing 90% of the American people in favor of contraception, 195 Republicans in Congress voted against the bill, including Arizona’s own Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar, Debbie Lesko and David Schweikert.
In a further appalling move, Blake Masters declared if elected, he would only vote for Supreme Court justices that would overturn cases protecting the right to contraceptives.
I always thought our Arizona officials were elected to protect our freedoms, not take them away.
Contraception, contrary to popular belief, isn’t just used to prevent pregnancy, and isn’t something that should be limited. Thousands of women need contraception to prevent life altering surgeries like hysterectomies, tubal ligation, and more. Women need contraception to simply function on a day-to-day basis because of menstrual pain, fibroids, endometriosis, cysts or other debilitating medical concerns.
And contraception is not just a reproductive issue: It affects men, our LGBTQ population and women past child bearing age. Arizonans use contraception to prevent the spread of STIs, regulate cycles, treat acne, manage polycystic ovary syndrome, mitigate menopause and perimenopausal symptoms and, in some cases, women cannot take contraception because of medical conditions, so it is up to their partners to use contraception.
This is an issue that touches each and every Arizonan.
There can be no confusion here about what these politicians did. We can’t let them pretend they didn’t know what was happening. The bill was not like the complicated bills Congress normally passes. Republican Reps. Biggs, Gosar, Lesko and Schweikert don’t want Arizonans’ to have access to any type of contraception — that much is clear by the way they voted.
They joined 96% of Congressional Republicans in voting against contraception. Arizona’s Republican delegation needs to change their position and get with us on this, limiting contraception goes too far.
Biggs, Gosar, Lesko and Schwiekert need to hear the stories I have heard, like the 45-year-old woman who has had two children, a tubal ligation, and still needs an IUD to avoid a hysterectomy. They need to hear from the LGBTQ activist who has a life threatening medical condition that could lead to cancer or death if she doesn’t take oral contraceptives. They need to listen to the Phoenix man whose wife is unable to use oral contraceptives, IUDs or other forms of female contraceptives and relies on condoms for family planning.
There is a chance the Right to Contraception Act will be introduced in the next Congress, or even get another vote before the end of this year. Biggs, Gosar, Lesko and Schweikert need to protect our freedoms and protect our right to contraception.
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