Utah’s US House delegation votes against codifying the right to birth control

Eight Republicans joined all U.S. House Democrats to pass the Right to Contraception Act on Thursday.

(The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah members of U.S. Congress, clockwise from top left: Rep. Blake Moore; Rep. Chris Stewart; Rep. Burgess Owens; and Rep. John Curtis. This week, the four congressmen voted this week to support codifying same-sex marriage in the United States and voted against a right to birth control.

After voting in support of codifying same-sex marriage earlier this week, Utah’s four Republican U.S. House members voted against a bill to protect the right to contraceptives on Thursday.

Reps. Blake Moore, Chris Stewart, John Curtis and Burgess Owens voted against H.R. 8373, also known as the Right to Contraception Act. The bill passed largely along party lines in a 228-195 vote, with eight Republicans, including Wyoming’s Rep. Liz Cheney, joining all House Democrats in voting to approve the bill.

After the vote, Curtis said he supports the right to access contraception but believes the Right To Contraception Act would mandate access to chemical abortions across the country.

“The Supreme Court, in the Dobbs majority opinion, made clear several times they have no intention to revisit cases acknowledging the Constitutional right to access contraceptives,” Curtis told The Salt Lake Tribune in a statement. “While I support Congressional action to reiterate this, I am deeply bothered by those who purposefully distort what the Supreme Court said in an attempt to mislead individuals into thinking their access to contraception is at risk.”

Curtis said he supports the current language in an alternative bill — the Access to Safe Contraception Act of 2022 — which would prevent states from banning FDA-approved contraception, ensure conscience protections for health care providers and preserve state medical and pharmaceutical regulations.

Moore, on Twitter, said that he saw the bill as a way for Democrats to expand access to abortion “under the guise of a contraception bill” and that he supported an amendment that would have allowed for “certain FDA-approved contraception to be available to adult women over the counter for routine use.”

“I am committed to providing women the resources they need to make the best choices for their families while upholding Utah’s pro-life values,” he added.

Stewart and Owens did not respond with a comment when asked about their vote.

Ahead of Thursday’s House vote, sponsor Rep. Kathy Manning, D-N.C., said, “Nearly every woman will use birth control at some point in their life.”

“It’s critically important that we protect access to birth control so that people can plan when and with whom they have a family,” she wrote on Twitter.

The vote came just days after Utah’s four House delegates voted in favor of codifying same-sex marriage, joining 43 other Republicans and all Democrats to pass the legislation.

H.R. 8373 is the latest in a series of bills following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade and removed a nearly 50-year precedent allowing abortions.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his concurring Dobbs opinion that the court should reconsider other landmark rulings, like those that allow for the rights to contraception and same-sex marriages.

The right to contraception was established in the 1965 Supreme Court case Griswold v. Connecticut, which held that a Connecticut law banning any drug or medical device that could be used for contraception was unconstitutional.

The Right to Contraception Act now heads to the Senate.