Legislators Introduce Right to Contraception Act
Legislation would enshrine right to contraception in state statute

MADISON – Today, Senator Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton) and Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) introduced the Right to Contraception Act at a press conference alongside Lt. Governor Sara Rodriguez, legislative colleagues, and health care professionals. The bill would establish an individual’s statutory right to access and a health care provider’s right to provide contraceptives and information regarding contraception. The legislation would prohibit the state or a local government entity from implementing laws that would make it more difficult to obtain contraceptives or contraception-related information.  The Right to Contraception Act mirrors federal legislation that was recently introduced by Representative Kathy Manning and Senator Ed Markey in Congress. Similar legislation was introduced last year, but was blocked by Republican Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).

Despite overwhelming support for access to birth control, the debate around contraception was reignited last year in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturning Roe v. Wade that upended nearly 50 years of safe and legal abortion. Justice Clarence Thomas indicated in a concurring opinion that the court should reconsider other cases such as Griswold vs. Connecticut, a 1965 Supreme Court decision recognizing the right to access contraception.

Rep. Lisa Subeck (D-Madison):  “If Dobbs has shown us anything, it is that the fundamental right to privacy we have come to expect as Americans is not guaranteed in the face of extremist legislators and activist judges who put their political agenda ahead of our basic freedom,” said Rep. Subeck, “Today, we are introducing the Right to Contraception Act to make it crystal clear that all Wisconsinites have the right to make their own family planning and reproductive health decisions without interference by politicians.”

Lt. Governor Sara Rodriguez: “This action is mirroring work happening at the federal level to codify the right to contraceptives into law so that no extremist court—who have already proven they are not above going back on their word—or lawmakers hell-bent on inserting their beliefs into places where they don’t belong can further infringe upon individual’s right to freely make their own reproductive healthcare decisions.”

Sen. Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton): ““Unfortunately, when it comes to your health, your life and your choices, Wisconsin Republicans have shown their true colors over and over.  And over again,” said Sen. Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton).  “The US Supreme Court decision in Griswold v. Connecticut struck down a state law barring the use of contraceptives by married couples based on a constitutional right to privacy.  Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health reversed Roe v. Wade and gave Republicans the opportunity to go well beyond Dobbs in rolling back your rights to contraception, as Justice Thomas made very clear.  Wisconsin Republicans cannot be trusted with your rights and we cannot afford to be complacent.”

Rep. Dora Drake (D-Milwaukee): “We must act to protect Wisconsinites from further attacks on reproductive health care if we are serious about addressing the health disparities in our state,” Rep. Drake stated. “Limiting access to contraception would disproportionately impact already marginalized individuals and communities. This bill is a crucial step toward protecting personal reproductive decisions and health care access for those in greatest need.”

Sen. Kelda Roys (D-Madison):  “Everyone should have the freedom to decide when and how to build their family,” Sen. Roys said. “For years, Republicans have waged a relentless assault on reproductive freedom, targeting abortion and contraception. Today, Democrats are focused on ensuring Wisconsinites’ rights are protected no matter what constitutional rights are destroyed next by the anti-freedom US Supreme Court.”

Lauren Lasry, Chief of Staff, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin:  "Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has increased our commitment to providing contraception, from birth control to vasectomies to connecting patients with legal abortion services in other states. Establishing a constitutional right to contraception in Wisconsin is an important step towards reproductive freedom and will further our ability to provide affordable and quality healthcare."

Dr. Kristin Lyerly, MD, MPH: “The vast majority of women will use contraception at some point in their lifetime for a variety of reasons. From family planning to treating chronic conditions to cancer prevention, contraception is essential health care. It is critical that we protect our ability to access these safe, effective, necessary medications.”

You can find a copy of the bill here.