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Chuck Schumer Deploys Another Political Smokescreen

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Democrats — desperate to change the subject from inflation, the border and foreign policy — brought the misleadingly titled “Right to Contraception Act” to a vote last week.

This political pantomime, which ended in a 51-39 failure to meet the 60-vote threshold needed for cloture, was an election-year game built on a false narrative. Republicans overwhelmingly support ensuring that contraception is safe, accessible and affordable.

But this wasn’t meant to solve any actual problem related to contraception access. Rather it was a political ploy to distract from the fact that progressive policies are failing to resonate with voters.

The Right to Contraception Act also infringes on the religious liberties of some Americans and, as noted in a statement signed by 22 senators, “lets the federal government force religious institutions and schools, even public elementary schools, to offer contraception like condoms to little kids.”

In their rush to distort the public dialogue about this bill, Democrats fail to mention that it is laced with unpopular and radical government mandates designed to prevent Republican votes, in order to manipulate and scare women into believing contraception is at risk.

Contraception is not at risk and holds broad tri-partisan support from Republican, Democrat, and Independent voters. Our recent polling at Independent Women’s Voice (IWV) and Kellyanne Conway and KAConsulting, LLC., found tri-partisan support for increasing the availability of contraception and ensuring access to the most modern, safe, and effective contraception for all women.

We found nearly 9-in-10, including over 8-in-10 Independents and pro-life supporters agree that: “Given the current political debate about abortion, it is more important than ever that women have access to the most modern and effective contraception method of their choice regardless of where they live, how much it costs, and where they receive health care services.”

Contraception should be legal and widely accessible. Women should have over-the-counter access to birth control. That would give women more control over their own healthcare decisions.

It is really disappointing that the Left would take an issue on which there is near universal agreement — the importance of safe, legal, and accessible contraception — and misrepresent and misuse it. If this legislation were truly about expanding access to contraception, we would support it, as would most Americans, including Republican voters and political leaders.

IWV has endorsed a bill from Republican Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, the “Allowing Greater Access to Safe and Effective Contraception Act,” that provides a truly independent and bipartisan alternative that would expand access to contraception. This bill would increase availability of birth control options on the market, including giving women more access to over-the-counter contraception options.

It would do so by granting the secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to review applications on an expedited basis for over-the-counter, oral contraceptive drugs intended for regular use. These applications would be granted a “priority review” designation which means the Food and Drug Administration should act toward approval within six months of submission.

Ernst’s bill would also bring transparency and accountability in regard to how federal government agencies are spending tax dollars to support women and families. In order to understand where gaps in contraception access are occurring, we need to understand how our federal programs are serving beneficiaries currently.

This bill requires the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study on the amount of federal funding which has gone towards supporting increased access to contraception in the last 15 years. The report will include the total dollar amounts for contraception reimbursement, inventory, provider training, and patient education.

Regrettably, some on the Left continue to peddle the false narrative that Republicans are working to restrict access to contraceptives as mere fodder for election ads. This is all in an effort to mislead women, tarnish Republicans and distract from high costs, shortages, a broken border and failing public schools. Women — and all Americans — deserve better.

Carrie Sheffield is a senior policy analyst at Independent Women’s Voice.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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