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Kentucky House members vote against bills protecting access to contraceptives and marriage equality

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Liam James Doyle/NPR
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Kentucky’s congressional House members cast votes for two bills that could codify marriage equality and contraception rights.

The legislation comes almost a month after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that once affirmed the constitutional right to an abortion.

Some members of the U.S. House and Senate fear the Supreme Court could overturn additional precedents.

Five of Kentucky’s six U.S. House members have voted against bills safeguarding nationwide access to contraceptives and protecting same-sex and interracial marriage.

Kentucky’s Republican Representatives Andy Barr, James Comer, Brett Guthrie, Thomas Massie, and Hal Rogers all voted against the Right to Contraception Act and the Respect for Marriage Act.

The chamber voted 228-195 in favor of the Right to Contraception Act, which protects a person’s ability to access contraceptives and the ability of health care workers to provide birth control.

The Respect for Marriage Act, which would provide protection for interracial and same-sex marriage and replace gendered language in federal law that involves marriage, passed on a 267-157 vote.

Democratic Representative John Yarmuth was the lone Kentucky Congressman to vote in favor of both bills.

Indiana Republican Representative Larry Bucshon, whose district covers the Evansville region, voted against both bills.

Tennessee’s U.S. House republicans also voted against the Respect for Marriage Act and the Right to Contraception Act, with the exception of one member who didn’t cast a vote.

House Democrats in Tennessee and Indiana voted in favor of both bills.

The Right to Contraception Act and the Respect for Marriage Act now head to the U.S. Senate.

Former student intern Alana Watson rejoined WKU Public Radio in August 2020 as the Ohio Valley ReSource economics reporter. She transitioned to the station's All Things Considered Host in July of 2020. Watson is a 2017 graduate of Western Kentucky University and has a B.A. in Broadcasting Journalism. She also has her M.A in Communications from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN. Watson is a Nashville native and has interned at WPLN-FM in Nashville. In 2019, she won a Tennessee AP Broadcaster & Editors Award for her sports feature on Belmont University's smallest point guard. While at WKU Public Radio she won Best College Radio Reporter in 2016 from the Kentucky Ap Broadcasters Association for her work on post-apartheid South Africa. Watson was previously at Wisconsin Public Radio as thier 2nd Century Fellow where she did general assignment and feature reporting in Milwaukee.