Press Release
For Immediate Release: 
July 21, 2022
Contact Info: 
Raymond Rodriguez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this morning in support of H.R. 8373, the Right to Contraception Act. Below is a transcript of his remarks and a link to the video:
 
Click here for a link to the video.

“I thank the gentleman for yielding. I have three daughters. They are all adults. They are all amazed we are here debating this issue. The Ranking Member said me, too, obviously for different reasons. [In] 1965, the Supreme Court, long before any of the present justices had these theories about what due process is and is not, said that women had a constitutional right, and that in addition to men, to seek services related to family planning.
 
“Madam Speaker, women's rights are under assault in America. From the very beginning, of course, women were second class citizens, until we radically in the beginning of the last century decided, oh well, women are part of America and we are going to let them vote. And successively we have taken steps to treat women equally.

“The Supreme Court's extremist Dobbs v. Jackson decision overturned 49 years of legal precedent and erased decades of progress toward women's equality. This bill deals with 57 years of constitutional law, since 1965, when Griswold was decided 7 - 2. It was not a controversial opinion with the American people. Nor, frankly, is this bill controversial of whatever faith you may be.
 
“Not only did Republican-appointed justices strip women of their constitutional right to access safe, legal abortions, they also opened the door for lawmakers to restrict women's ability to make reproductive health care decisions. Justice Thomas, of course as all of us know, issued a radical concurring opinion that called for a reconsideration of landmark legal precedence, one of which we are dealing with today, Griswold vs. Connecticut, as I said, decided in 1965, which established Americans’ constitutional right to contraception. Birth control allows women and their partners to make essential decisions abouts their health and their lives, including whether to have children and start a family. That is a consensus in America. Overwhelmingly.
 
“Nevertheless, the Supreme Court has put all forms of contraception in jeopardy with this decision. Now some say, no, it doesn't. But Justice Thomas points out that the rationale of Dobbs is equally applicable from his perspective, and in my opinion, from his perspective he's probably right, for himself and for radical members of the Court. Restricting contraceptives means undermining women's health, personal privacy, and bodily autonomy. Now, there are many authoritarian regimes in the world that don't take any consideration into the rights we have over our own bodies. Madam Speaker, we need to do everything we can here in Congress to ensure that all Americans have access to safe, reliable contraceptive care.
 
“That's why I’m pleased to bring this bill to the Floor, and I thank [Rep.] Kathy Manning for her leadership on the Right to Contraception Act. I also want to thank Representatives Williams, Jacobs, and Craig, as well as [Rep.] Lizzie Fletcher who just spoke for their leadership on this bill. I'm grateful to them for standing up on this issue as well as to Chairman Pallone for moving quickly to advance this bill through the Energy and Commerce Committee. This legislation will enshrine the constitutional rights established by Griswold v. Connecticut and Eisenstadt v. Baird in federal statute, ensuring Americans can access contraceptive care legally wherever they live.
 
“As I said at the beginning, my three daughters are amazed that this legislation is on the Floor. Amazed that there would be a premise that somehow the Constitution did not guarantee to my three daughters the right to make these decisions and not all of us. This is about freedom. This is about individual integrity. And this vote will show the American people where Members stand on this question of whether it should continue to be legal for people in this country to pursue family planning as they perceive they want to do.

“So let's vote yes to promote women's health. Let's vote yes to prevent further restrictions on women's basic rights to privacy and autonomy. Let's vote yes for freedom. There is a lot of talk about freedom. Right up until the time one decides to restrict that freedom, and then it's ok. I urge all my colleagues to vote yes to protect the Constitution, the constitutional precedents, and freedom. I yield back.”