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Is the US Supreme Court banning condoms in 2022? Contraception Act explained

Alexandra Ciufudean August 3, 2022
Is the US Supreme Court banning condoms in 2022? Contraception Act explained
Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

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With Roe v Wade out of the way, is the US Supreme Court intent on banning condoms next? A wave of alarmed tweeters seems to think so.

In late July, the House passed legislation to enshrine a right to contraception in federal law. This came as a precaution measure against what Florida Rep Kathy Castor called “an extremist Supreme Court and […]GOP.”

The House voted 228 to 195 to pass the Right to Contraception Act, with only eight Republicans in favor of the bill.

So, is the Supreme Court banning condoms? How likely is that to happen in 2022 America? Let’s unpack this.

Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

Is the US Supreme Court banning condoms in 2022?

In short, no. Or at least, not yet.

While alarms have been raised about how overturning Roe v Wade would affect access to contraception, the methods most likely to be blocked are birth control pills and emergency contraception like Plan B.

According to the Tennessee Lookout, six red states already have laws allowing medical professionals and pharmacists to refuse to fill someone’s prescription – including for contraception or Plan B – on religious or moral grounds. And people are already experiencing the effects of this at pharmacies and drug stores across the country.

In July 2022, the hashtag #BoycottWalgreens went viral on Twitter after a user shared their story of trying to buy condoms and being refused due to the cashier’s moral objection.

“We can, but I won’t because of my faith,” the user tweeted, quoting what the cashier told his wife as she tried to buy condoms.

According to the Charlotte Observer the cashier’s behaviour is backed up by a Walgreens policy, which the company shared in a resurfaced tweet from 2018:

The 2022 Right to Contraception Act explained

On July 21, the House passed the Right to Contraception Act which aims to codify access to contraception across the country, regardless of local or state laws.

New Hampshire Rep Ann Kuster, who voted for the bill, said the “overturning of Roe v. Wade was a wake up call” and that Congress could not leave other rights like that of contraception “up to chance,” saying it is “none of the government’s business.”

The legislation defines contraception as “any drug, device, or biological product intended for use in the prevention of pregnancy, whether specifically intended to prevent pregnancy or for other health needs, that is legally marketed under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, such as oral contraceptives, long-acting reversible contraceptives, emergency contraceptives, internal and external condoms, injectables, vaginal barrier methods, transdermal patches, and vaginal rings, or other contraceptives.”

It also states that the right to access contraception is a “fundamental right, central to a person’s privacy, health, wellbeing, dignity, liberty, equality, and ability to participate in the social and economic life of the Nation.”

The Right to Contraception Act will now head to Senate, though it’s unclear whether it will have the 60 votes it needs to break a Republican filibuster, which most Democrats are anticipating.

Out of all 203 House Republicans, 195 voted against the bill and it passed with a small majority of 228 to 195.

What would it take for the Supreme Court to ban condoms in America?

Looking at those numbers, it’s understandable how a rumour about the Supreme Court banning condoms could get started. However, if the Right to Contraception Act passes, the right to access condoms will be protected alongside the other methods included.

Meanwhile, on July 29, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that people who “stealth” their partner – meaning, they refuse to wear a condom during sex despite being asked to do so, or surreptitiously remove it during the act – can be accused of sexual assault.

“A complainant who consents to sex on the condition that their partner wears a condom does not consent to sex without a condom,” wrote Justice Sheilah Martin in the majority decision.

Back in the US, polls show that across party lines, Americans are overwhelmingly in support of access to birth control, Salon reports. A recent FiveThirtyEight poll found that 90% of Americans believe condoms and birth control pills should be legal in “all” or “most” cases and 81% said the same of IUDs, while more than 70% of people support access to emergency contraception such as Plan B pills.

Twitter panic spreads over debunked ‘US condom ban’

While the extremely high number of Republicans who voted against the 2022 Right to Contraception Act is enough to give anyone pause, it doesn’t automatically mean the Supreme Court is banning condoms.

But that didn’t stop Twitter from sharing its thoughts on the matter.

As it stands currently, the US Supreme Court has not banned condoms.

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Alexandra is Head of Entertainment at The Focus, managing a growing team of outstanding graduate and experienced writers. She has worked previously as an editor, writer and content specialist across web, video and social platforms and has a bachelor's in English Linguistics and a master's in Comparative Literature.