Only one Ohio Republican votes to federally protect access to contraception

By: - July 22, 2022 3:40 am

Photo: Ohio U.S. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez. Background illustration from WEWS.

The following article was originally published on News5Cleveland.com and is published in the Ohio Capital Journal under a content-sharing agreement. Unlike other OCJ articles, it is not available for free republication by other news outlets as it is owned by WEWS in Cleveland.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to ensure access to contraception Thursday afternoon, with all but one Republican U.S. representative from Ohio voting against it.

Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, a moderate Republican who sides with the Democrats much more frequently than his Ohio peers, helped push forward the “Access to Birth Control Act.”

The bill would create the federal right for people to get and use contraceptives, as well as protecting all different types of birth control methods. This includes, but isn’t limited to, oral contraceptives (birth control pills), emergency contraceptives (Plan B) and intrauterine devices (IUDs).

The act would also create the right for health care providers to provide contraception and information on it. The Department of Justice, providers and individuals have the right to take legal action if they feel their rights have been violated.

The House voted 228-195. Each other Ohio representative voted no, except Bob Gibbs, from Lakeville, who was in attendance at the roll call, but did not vote yes or no.

News 5 reached out to Gonzalez to do an interview or give a statement, but has not heard back yet.

Thursday’s vote comes amid concern other rights may be in jeopardy after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending protections for abortion.

In a concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas argued that SCOTUS should also reconsider landmark cases, such as the right to access birth control and the right to marry someone or engage in private sex acts with someone of the same sex.

The Supreme Court’s Griswold v. Connecticut decision protects the liberty to buy and use contraceptives without government involvement.

It was originally decided Connecticut violated the “right to marital privacy” by involving itself in birth control choices, thus leading this to be a right to privacy case.

If the Supreme Court was to overrule Griswold, Democrats are worried that access to contraception would disappear.

For example, Ohio is considering numerous abortion bills which would state life begins at conception. With this definition, physicians, advocates and consumers are concerned their birth control method would be illegal.

RELATED: IVF patients, doctors share concerns about new Ohio bill recognizing ‘personhood’ at conception

Some anti-abortion groups across the country have urged that specific pills, IUDs and Plan B are abortifacients, but this has been argued by doctorsresearchers and reproductive health advocates as misinformation.

Currently, Ohio’s six-week abortion ban specifically states the bill doesn’t prohibit contraception or birth control.

RELATED: With Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Ohio poised to institute abortion ban

However, one of the biggest names in Ohio anti-abortion lobbying is against any legislation that goes after IVF or contraception. During a debate at the Columbus Metropolitan Club on Wednesday, Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis said he would testify against bills that did so.

Changing the rules on IVF and birth control is not on the governor’s agenda, Dan Tierney, Gov. DeWine’s spokesperson, told News 5.

The U.S. House passed a bill protecting marriage equality Tuesday evening, with Ohio Republicans split among those voting for it and those voting against it, like the contraception bill.

RELATED: Sen. Rob Portman cosponsors marriage equality act, Ohio GOP splits on issue

Gonzalez was joined by Republican Reps. Dave Joyce, from Chagrin Falls; Mike Carey, from Columbus and Michael Turner, from Dayton, in voting to support same-sex and interracial marriage.

Later Tuesday night, News 5 broke the story of Republican Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) deciding to cosponsor the companion bill in the Senate.

News 5 asked Portman’s team his thoughts about the contraception bill, but hasn’t heard back.

Follow WEWS statehouse reporter Morgan Trau on Twitter and Facebook.

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Morgan Trau
Morgan Trau

Morgan Trau is a political reporter and multimedia journalist based out of the WEWS Columbus Bureau. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Trau has previously worked as an investigative, political and fact-checking reporter in Grand Rapids, Mich. at WZZM-TV; a reporter and MMJ in Spokane, Wash. at KREM-TV and has interned at 60 Minutes and worked for CBS Interactive and PBS NewsHour.

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