• The House on Thursday voted 228-195 to pass a bill that would protect access to contraceptives.
  • Eight Republicans joined 220 Democrats in supporting the legislation.
  • The bill would empower the Justice Department to take civil action against states that restrict access.

Eight Republicans broke from their party's ranks to support a Democratic proposal Thursday that would prevent states from limiting access to contraception.

By a 228-195 vote, the House of Representatives passed a measure that states access to contraception "is a fundamental right." The bill, which now heads to the Senate, was introduced following the US Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and rescind the federal right to abortion, with Justice Clarence Thomas arguing that the decision should also lead the court to reconsider past rulings on same-sex marriage and birth control.

In the Senate, the fate of the bill is unclear. It would need the support of at least 10 Republicans and all 50 Democrats to pass, and it's uncertain if Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will bring the bill to the floor.

Although no states currently ban contraception, experts have told Insider that some forms — such as Plan B and IUDs — could be construed as terminating a pregnancy and fall under new, restrictive abortion bans that define "life" as beginning at the moment of fertilization.

The Republicans who backed the Democratic bill include moderates as well as at least one social conservative:

  • Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming
  • Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania
  • Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio
  • Rep. John Katko of New York
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois
  • Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina
  • Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar of Florida
  • Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan

Two other Republicans voted "present":

  • Rep. Bob Gibbs of Ohio
  • Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania

Speaking to reporters, Rep. Mace, an anti-abortion conservative, said her vote was informed, in part, by efforts in her state to ban the termination of a pregnancy with no exceptions.

"If you're gonna have a state that bans abortion for women who are victims of rape and incest, you have to ensure protected access [to contraception]," Mace said. "I can't imagine a world where you would have otherwise, especially for those women that have been through that kind of trauma."

The lawmaker spoke while wearing a jacket with a message taped on the back: "My state is banning exceptions," it read. "Protect contraception."

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