Republican Sen. Joni Ernst Blocks Bill Protecting the Right to Birth Control

Democratic legislation that would protect the right to birth control and other contraceptives was blocked by Senate Republicans on Wednesday, just over a month after the Supreme Court overturned nearly 50 years of precedent and struck down abortion rights.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) objected to a request to pass the bill by unanimous consent. If any senator objects to such a request on the full Senate, it is rejected.

Ernst asserted that the Democrats’ bill “goes far beyond the scope of contraception on purpose” and said it could fund abortion providers and protect abortion-inducing drugs.

The Chamber passed Law on the Right to Contraception last week amid fears the high court is coming to seek reproductive health care next. Democrats pointed to an opinion by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggesting that the court should reexamine precedent that guaranteed the right to contraception.

The legislation would create a legal right for people to obtain and use contraceptives, as well as codify protections for the doctors who provide them.

In the House, 195 Republicans opposed the measure.

Ernst on Wednesday sought to pass his own bill that would speed up non-prescription access to birth control. Democrats objected, saying he would not prevent states from restricting or even banning access to birth control.

“His bill would not guarantee access to birth control and does not codify the constitutional right to birth control in the United States,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts).

The right to purchase and use contraceptives is currently protected by the landmark 1965 Supreme Court decision in Griswold v. Connecticut.

But Republicans who downplayed the threat to the 1973 abortion decision before the Supreme Court overturned it are equally rule out the threat to other rightssuch as contraception and same-sex marriage.

Some state legislatures have introduced bills to restrict access to contraceptives, though they have not passed.

It’s unclear whether the bill protecting contraception will come to a vote on the Senate floor amid the busy schedule, with many other competing priorities on the Democrats’ agenda.

A bill protecting same-sex marriages has gained strength in the Senate with several endorsements from the Republican Party, but not yet have enough Republican votes to break a filibuster, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.).

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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