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Democrats Block Ernst’s Effort to Promote Safe, Effective Birth Control

“This was never about finding real solutions. This was always about fearmongering and election year stunts.”

WASHINGTON – In the face of Democrats’ fearmongering that Republicans will “take away” access to contraception, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) today on the Senate floor called on her colleagues to pass her legislation that promotes access to safe and effective contraception for women while bringing much-needed transparency and accountability to ensure the government uses tax dollars to support families.

After Democrats obstructed her effort, Ernst pushed back against their political stunts and promised to continue supporting policies, like her bill, that equip women to raise children to live the American Dream.

Ernst’s work has been gaining momentum, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) spoke in support of her effort.

2024-06-05 Floor Speech

Watch her full remarks here.

Ernst’s full remarks:

“Madam President— The so-called Right to Contraception Act goes far beyond the scope of providing access to contraception.

“It’s important the American people understand what the Democrats are peddling.

“Senator Markey’s bill creates a precedent to mandate access to abortion drugs for women and girls of all ages.

“It also allows taxpayer dollars to be funneled to organizations like Planned Parenthood.

“The bill removes conscious freedom protections which allow our doctors and nurses to maintain their religious and moral beliefs while practicing medicine—a right that we are all afforded in the workplace, which should be upheld!

“I would like to remind my Democrat colleagues of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, is what we call it here. It is a law that was championed by Senator Chuck Schumer more than 30 years ago.

“The Majority Leader has really come a long way, hasn’t he…just like President Biden, who used to be pro-life!

“Religious professionals and organizations across the country rely on RFRA for protection from broad government overreach.

“Yet the Democrats are willing to upend that precedent for politics, and more importantly, for abortion.

“Let’s be clear what’s going on here – from the Senate to the White House, Democrats do not have anything to run on…no agenda that resonates with the American people…so instead, they are fearmongering in the name of politics.

“Fortunately, Republicans have a solution— the Allowing Greater Access to Safe and Effective Contraception Act.

“Like 90% of Americans, I believe routine use contraception should be safe and accessible.

“That’s why I’ve long worked to increase access to safe and effective over-the-counter oral contraceptives.

“With my bill, we’re ensuring women 18 and over can walk into any pharmacy, whether in Red Oak, Iowa or Washington D.C., and purchase a safe and effective birth control option.

“This Republican bill creates a priority review designation for over-the-counter birth control options, to encourage the FDA to act quickly. 

“I am encouraged that as of this year, the first, but the only, over-the-counter option on the market has been approved.

“But having just one over-the-counter product on the market is just a starting point. We need more options that are truly effective for women…women in rural areas…women facing domestic violence.

“In addition, my bill brings much-needed transparency and accountability in federal spending to better understand where gaps are occurring, and also to ensure dollars are actually going to supporting women and families.

“GAO will take a 15-year look-back at total dollar amounts for contraception reimbursement, inventory stocking, provider training, and patient education efforts, to help better inform us as lawmakers and you as taxpayers on where and how our money is being spent.”

Ernst’s rebuttal:

“Madam President, I am disheartened to see my colleague from Minnesota rise in opposition. I respect her greatly as well, and we do disagree on this issue, but unfortunately given the nature of this political exercise, I am not surprised.

“This was never about finding real solutions – this was always about fearmongering and election year stunts.

“My effort, one that many of my Republican colleagues support, is a commonsense solution to give women more access to over-the-counter birth control options and bring accountability to government spending. Not about finding loopholes so we can find a way to fund those drugs that cause abortions.

“Despite attacks from the same far left that promotes drugs that endanger women and encourages the death of the unborn, I will always stand up for families.

“And as a mother and a grandmother – alongside my fellow Republican senators –  I will continue to protect life while supporting policies that equip women to raise children to live the American Dream.”