Washington, DC — This week, Representative Lucy McBath (D-Georgia) and the House of Representatives voted to pass both H.R.8404, the Respect for Marriage Act, and H.R.8373, the Right to Contraception Act. Both bills protect the rights of Americans that many fear would soon come under threat by the Supreme Court of the United States following their decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
H.R.8404, the Respect for Marriage Act, enshrines marriage equality into federal law. It officially repeals the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a defunct and discriminatory statute excluding same-sex couples from marriage under federal law. This legislation will also codify new protections ensuring that no married couple can be denied protections and benefits under federal law based on sex, race, ethnicity or national origin.
H.R.8373, the Right to Contraception Act, establishes a statutory right to obtain contraceptives and to engage in contraception, and for health care providers to provide contraceptives, contraception, and information related to contraception. The bill protects against any state laws that attempt to restrict access to contraceptives and affirms the Attorney General’s enforcement authority to bring civil actions against any state that attempts to do so. The bill also establishes a private right of action for individuals to enforce their right to obtain contraceptives and for health care providers to enforce their right to provide contraceptives and information related to contraception.
“On Tuesday, I proudly voted to protect marriage equality in Georgia and across the country. The bipartisan, bicameral Respect for Marriage Act will enshrine marriage equality into federal law and prohibit state officials from discriminating against same-sex and interracial couples,” said McBath. “It is a key step forward in protecting those we are tasked with representing, because no American should ever face discrimination because of who they are or who they love.
“Today, we continued fulfilling our promise to those who sent us to Congress by upholding Americans’ basic right to access contraception. Together, my Democratic colleagues and I are fully committed to preserving the rights and dignities of every person, everywhere,” continued McBath. “The right for a woman to decide when she gets pregnant should not be up for debate. I was proud to vote today to protect the right to contraception for every American and see the Right to Contraception Act pass the House.”
Today’s vote to approve the contraception legislation comes just one day after a U.S. appeals court in Georgia ruled in favor of state officials’ and paved the way for the “Heartbeat Bill” to immediately take effect. The law, originally introduced in the state in 2019, bans most abortions when there is a “detectable human heartbeat.” This can be as early as 6 weeks, and is often earlier than most women become aware they are pregnant.