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Access to contraceptives a key issue for the election campaign

Access to contraceptives a key issue for the election campaign

The abortion rights debate has been divisive in American politics for decades. But two years after the decision of the Supreme Court that returned the decision-making on this matter to the states, a new front has already opened, the debate about contraceptives. VOA correspondent Katherine Gypson reports on the controversy this election year over contraceptives and in-vitro fertilization. Voters concerned about abortion rights played a key role in the Democratic victory in the 2022 election.

Now, two years after the Supreme Court overturned the ruling that guaranteed the constitutional right to abortion, Democrats say that reproductive rights will be determined by the 2024 election. "We have to face the bitter truth that women unfortunately have less freedom than they had a few years ago," said Senator Chuck Schumer, the leader of the Democratic majority in the Senate.

 Democrats brought the Contraceptive Bill of Rights Act up for a vote in the Senate last week, saying access to contraceptives nationwide is being jeopardized by Republicans. "Many Republicans say we're exaggerating and that there's no real risk to birth control. They also said we were exaggerating when Republicans took up Roe v. Wade.

They said we were overreacting when we talked about the dangers of artificial insemination and the right to build our families," said Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth. The bill failed to receive the necessary 60 votes in the Senate. Republicans said some of the protections in the bill could force some Americans to violate their belief that some forms of contraception are the same as abortion.

 "It seems that Americans are allowed to live out their deeply held moral and religious convictions as long as they don't conflict with the policy positions of Democrats," said Republican Sen. John Thune.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump publicly announced last month that he will not support a ban on contraceptives, after some of his previous comments appeared to suggest otherwise.

Republican senators have introduced another bill of their own to expand access to contraceptives and say Democrats are playing political games in an election year.

"Starting from the Senate and up to the White House, the Democrats have nothing to campaign with. They have no agenda that reflects the interests of the American people. So instead they create fear in the name of politics," said Republican Senator Joni Ernst. Voters who would choose candidates for public office who share their views on the abortion issue ranked at a record 32 percent in a newly released poll by the Gallup firm. State-level efforts to protect abortion, contraceptives and in-vitro fertilization could play a key role in getting Democrats to the polls.

"They see in the different countries where they are located, the limitation of access to this. So it's not just something that is being decided by a select few. It's a public sentiment, and people want to make those kinds of decisions for themselves," says Amy Dacey, of American University. Officials on President Biden's campaign team have made reproductive rights a top issue, and Vice President Kamala Harris became the running mate. the first American to visit an abortion clinic. / Voa

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