The U.S. House is expected to vote Thursday on a bill that would establish a national right to contraception. Representative Kathy Manning, a Democrat who represents the Triad's 6th District, is the lead sponsor. WFDD's Paul Garber spoke with Manning about the proposal.
Manning begins with an explanation of what the law would do:
The bill enshrines into federal law the right to access and use birth control, all kinds of birth control — from birth control pills to IUDs, to patches to emergency contraception — and it gives healthcare providers the right to provide birth control to their patients. It creates a private right of action, so that an individual, whether a patient or healthcare provider, whose rights…are violated, can bring a private right of action. It also authorizes the Attorney General to bring a civil case against a state or government official who violates the statute.
On the impact the bill would have on restrictive birth control bills that have already passed in some states:
This bill would create a federal statute that would guarantee the right to women and men to use birth control. So federal preemption would ensure that this would be the law of the land. And I want to mention something that I think people don't really think about — the right to use birth control has an enormous impact on women. It allows a woman to plan her family and allows a woman to continue her education to get a good job to provide for her family. It has a huge, not only a personal impact, but an economic impact and an economic impact on society. At a time when we are experiencing a workforce shortage, we want women who want to be in the workforce to be able to control their reproductive rights.
On why she opposes leaving the contraception laws up to individual states:
Because we've already seen what's happened in states across the country, where we will have a patchwork of laws that give women different rights depending on where they live. This is not something that we want to leave up to extreme partisan lawmakers across the country. Millions of women, millions of Republican women, millions of independent women, millions of Democratic women, women who don't ever think about politics, use birth control. The vast majority of women in this country use or used birth control or will use birth control at some point in their lives. And taking us back to the 1950s is not the way we should be going in this country.