Rep. Issa at the Capitol
Rep. Darrell Issa at the Capitol. Photo courtesy of his office

The House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday ensuring that women have access to contraceptives, but Rep. Darrell Issa, who represents East County, and most other Republicans voted against it.

“As a young woman, reproductive health care is my health care. And I’m so grateful that today we will take a step to codify that access into law,” said San Diego-area Rep. Sara Jacobs, who presided over the vote on the House floor.

The Right to Contraception Act was introduced last week by Jacobs and Democratic Congresswomen from Georgia, Minnesota and North Carolina amid uncertainty about the future of a number of Supreme Court precedents after Roe v. Wade was overruled.

In a concurring opinion on the controversial abortion ruling last month, Justice Clarence Thomas recommended that the court also reconsider rulings protecting the use of contraceptives and same-sex marriage.

On Tuesday, a bill to protect same-sex marriage passed 267-157 with Issa and 46 other Republicans joining the Democratic majority, but on Thursday the vote was 228-195 with only eight Republicans approving.

The contraceptives legislation would create a federal statutory right for people to obtain contraceptives and engage in contraception. It would also protect specific contraceptive methods, devices, and medications used to prevent pregnancy, including oral contraceptives, emergency contraceptives, and intrauterine devices.

“This bill could not be more important because for me and for tens of millions of Americans, these threats from Justice Thomas and the Supreme Court to take away our right to contraception are not abstract,” said Jacobs.

Issa did not immediately respond to a request for comment on his vote.

But other Republicans said the bill passed Tuesday was rushed and unnecessary. They cited the Supreme Court’s majority opinion that stated rights other than abortion would not be affected by the ruling in Roe v. Wade.

The two bills protecting same-sex marriage and access to contraceptives face an uncertain future in the Senate, where Republicans may filibuster them.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.