Stand up for the facts!

Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.

More Info

I would like to contribute

Health plans must soon cover birth control without a co-pay, but religious organizations won't pay. Health plans must soon cover birth control without a co-pay, but religious organizations won't pay.

Health plans must soon cover birth control without a co-pay, but religious organizations won't pay.

By Hope Karnopp June 14, 2024

Did Wisconsin Republicans target birth control and refuse to vote on bill to codify contraception?

If Your Time is short

  • Republicans didn’t hold public hearings or committee votes for a Democratic bill that would have codified the right to contraception, and rejected their effort for a floor vote.

  • The group making the claim cites Wisconsin as an example of GOP Legislatures that have "targeted" birth control, but Republicans didn’t introduce any new restrictions. 

  • Republicans also authored a bill, supported by Democrats, that would allow pharmacists to prescribe birth control.

Reproductive rights — including access to contraception — have emerged as a flashpoint in the 2024 presidential race. 

In May, former President Donald Trump said he was "looking at" restrictions on contraception, but quickly walked back his comments and said he would never support such a policy. 

On June 5, Democrats forced a vote in the U.S. Senate on the Right to Contraception Act, which would codify a right to birth control. That vote failed, even with two Republicans joining Democrats in support. 

Democrats pursued the bill after the overturning of Roe v. Wade. In that ruling, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas indicated he favored the court revisiting Griswold v. Connecticut, the decision establishing the right to birth control.

So, like abortion, contraception access is emerging as a state-level issue. That point was made by the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which works to elect Democrats to state Legislatures.

"In 2024 alone, GOP-controlled legislatures across the country have targeted birth control," a June 5 news release read. "In Wisconsin, Republicans refused to schedule a vote on a bill that would have codified a right to birth control."

That claim caught PolitiFact Wisconsin’s attention, especially as Democrats push to regain a majority under Wisconsin’s new legislative maps and could highlight access to contraception during their campaigns. 

Let’s take a look at where Wisconsin’s right-to-contraception bill ended up this year, and whether Republicans in the state are targeting birth control. 

Bill never received hearings in committees, Republicans rejected floor vote attempt 

In response to a PolitiFact Wisconsin inquiry, DLCC’s press secretary Sam Paisley pointed to Senate Republicans’ control of the Legislature and their votes against bringing the bill to the floor.

"Democrats pushed to ‘withdraw’ it from committee in order to get a floor vote as soon as possible, as opposed to waiting for the lengthy process through committee," Paisley said.

Let’s explain that process a little bit further.

That bill was introduced last July. It would have "(established) that a person has a statutory right to obtain contraceptives" and that health care providers have a right to provide it and share information about it. 

In short, it would have outlined the right to contraception in Wisconsin’s state law, in case the U.S. Supreme Court precedent establishing that federal right was overturned. 

Featured Fact-check

That bill was assigned to committees in the Assembly and Senate, but the Republican chairs of both committees never held a public hearing for it. That’s typical for most bills introduced by Democrats. 

In February, Senate Democrats made a last-ditch attempt to take the bill out of committee and bring it to the floor for a vote. Their motion failed, with all Republicans rejecting the effort to vote on the bill. 

So, the second half of DLCC’s statement is correct. Republicans never held votes — either on the floor or in committees — much less public hearings for the bill. 

Republicans introduced bill allowing pharmacists to prescribe some forms of birth control

But let’s go back to the first part of the statement: that GOP-controlled Legislatures like Wisconsin’s have "targeted birth control." Wisconsin is listed as an example by DLCC. 

Unlike Oklahoma, another example mentioned by DLCC, Republicans in Wisconsin didn’t introduce any bills last session that would have added new restrictions on contraception. 

In fact, a Republican-authored bill supported by many Republicans and Democrats would have made accessing some forms of birth control more convenient. 

The bill would have allowed pharmacists to prescribe birth control pills and patches, rather than only physicians or advanced practice nurses. It passed the Assembly, but not the Senate. 

Some Republicans voted against that bill in the Assembly, but all Democrats voted for it. Many medical groups registered in favor of it.

So while Republicans did not advance a bill that would have codified a right to contraception, many of them did support a bill that would have actually expanded the ways people can get a birth control prescription.

Our ruling 

The DLCC claimed Republican legislatures "have targeted birth control" and in Wisconsin "refused to schedule a vote on a bill that would have codified a right to birth control."

The group is right about Republicans not holding a vote on a particular Democratic bill. But the claim falls short about the GOP specifically targeting birth control. 

Indeed, Republicans also introduced a bill — supported by Democrats and medical groups — that would have expanded how people can get a birth control prescription. 

Because the second part of their claim is correct, but the first part is off the mark, we rate their claim Half True.


Our Sources

USATODAY, What is the 'Right to Contraception Act'? A look at how the bill failed and what was in it, June 5, 2024. 

Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, BREAKING: U.S. Senate Fails to Protect Birth Control, Reaffirming Power of the States to Shape Access to Contraception, June 5, 2024. 

Email exchange, Sam Paisley, press secretary for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, June 11, 2024.

Wisconsin State Legislature, 2023 Senate Vote 265, Motion to Withdraw from Committee.

Wisconsin State Legislature, Senate Bill 365

Wisconsin State Legislature, Results 1 to 5 for 'contraception' filtered by 2023 Biennium and Session History and Proposal.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, A bipartisan bill would allow Wisconsin pharmacists to prescribe some forms of birth control, June 7, 2023. 

Wisconsin State Legislature, 2023 Assembly Vote 54, June 21, 2023. 

Wisconsin Ethics Commission, Assembly Bill 176.

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Hope Karnopp

Did Wisconsin Republicans target birth control and refuse to vote on bill to codify contraception?

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up