MIL-OSI USA: Washington Examiner: Hinson seeks to fight against ‘fearmongering’ surrounding birth control access with House bill

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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Ashley Hinson (IA-01)

Rachel Schilke
Washington Examiner
June 10, 2024

“Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA) unveiled a companion bill to Sen. Joni Ernst‘s (R-IA) contraception access legislation as Republicans seek to beat back against “fearmongering” in the wake of controversial abortion and in vitro fertilization rulings in several states.

Hinson introduced the Allowing Greater Access to Safe and Effective Contraception Act on Friday, which seeks to increase the availability of birth control options on the market. Ernst introduced her bill last week, the Washington Examiner exclusively reported.

In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Hinson said the bill should put to rest any accusations from Democrats that Republicans seek to ban contraception.

“I hate the fearmongering that exists around issues like this,” Hinson said. “There is literally no threat to contraception access. We’re trying to make sure that we are helping expand access to safe oral contraceptives for adult women. It’s legal in all 50 states.”

“There was a lot of fearmongering around IVF too, and there is no bill in Congress to ban IVF either,” Hinson added. “So, I’m proud to be a leading voice on life in the Republican Party.”

Hinson’s bill was first introduced in the 2021-2022 Congress. Though it never came to the floor for a vote, the legislation gained 17 co-sponsors. The newest version, dropped on Friday, has three original co-sponsors: Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), and Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ). Hinson said her office has been in contact with members on both sides of the aisle to gain additional sponsors.

The newest version is similar to the bill Hinson introduced in 2022, which would ensure oral contraceptives are available for over-the-counter purchase.

“The real issue here is with the FDA, and so when we were looking at solving problems here, I think it’s important that we have this legislation to ensure that adult women can actually access that birth control over the counter, and the FDA would take some action here to actually give priority review to things that have already been approved,” Hinson said.

A new addition to the legislation would direct the Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study on federal funding of contraceptive methods. The study would examine how much funding has gone toward supporting increased access to contraception over the last 15 years, including reimbursement, inventory, provider training, and patient education, per a Hinson spokesperson.

Ernst and Hinson’s bill comes as Republicans look to distance themselves from the Alabama and Arizona rulings that placed possible roadblocks to women’s reproductive health regarding IVF and abortion, respectively.

Democrats have attacked congressional Republicans for being anti-IVF and anti-abortion, comments that many GOP lawmakers have pushed back against, introducing legislative action in both chambers, such as Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s (R-FL) bill discouraging states from prohibiting IVF and Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Katie Britt’s (R-AL) bill that would cut off Medicaid funding to states banning IVF.

Last week, the Senate failed to pass the Right to Contraception Act, a competing Democratic-backed bill that would codify federal protections for contraception. House Democrats also announced a discharge petition last week to force a vote on the Right to Contraception Act.

Hinson called the Democrats’ push for the Right to Contraception Act “playing political games.”

“Here, our legislation would expand access to safe oral contraceptives for adult women,” Hinson said. “When you look at the Democrat bill, they’re mandating access to abortion drugs for women. So that’s never going to get bipartisan support.”

Instead, Hinson called the Allowing Greater Access to Safe and Effective Contraception Act the “uniting bill” that would attract bipartisan support.

“So, when I look at what they’ve tried to do there, they’re driving a political wedge, not actually looking at solving a problem for women,” the Iowa congresswoman said. “Our bill actually looks at solving that problem.”

This piece was originally published in Washington Examiner on 6/10/2024.