The June 4 U.S. Senate vote on the Right to Contraception Act has brought reproductive rights into sharp focus for Montanans. As we reflect on this pivotal moment, the implications for our state's reproductive freedoms could not be more significant. This is not just a healthcare matter—it is about safeguarding fundamental personal freedoms for all Montanans.

The Right to Contraception Act, which aims to protect the availability of birth control pills, IUDs, emergency contraception, and other forms of contraception, comes at a crucial time. Our own Senator Daines refused to support the bill, demonstrating how out of touch he is with the overwhelming majority of Americans, who believe that the right to choose if, when, and how to have children is a private matter and should be protected from political interference.

Nevertheless, across the country, extremist forces are working tirelessly to roll back decades of progress in reproductive health. This effort is evident in the relentless legislative attacks on contraception that have followed the reversal of Roe v. Wade in 2022.

Justice Clarence Thomas's concurring opinion in the Dobbs case called for "reconsidering" Griswold v. Connecticut, the landmark decision that recognized the right to contraception nearly 60 years ago. This threat to our freedoms is not abstract—it is happening now, and it is happening here.

For Montanans, this issue hits close to home. On June 4, Montana supporters of the Right to Contraception Act gathered at the Helena offices of Senators Tester and Daines to deliver a petition signed by more than 1,800 Montanans in support of the Act. This event, which included a honk-and-wave rally, emphasized the importance of voting to protect reproductive rights. The Right to Contraception Act is a necessary safeguard to ensure that all Montanans can make informed decisions about their reproductive health without fear of political intrusion.

In Montana, we see both support and opposition to these vital rights. Sen. Jon Tester co-sponsored and voted for the Right to Contraception Act, recognizing its importance to the health and autonomy of Montanans. Sen. Steve Daines, meanwhile, has aligned himself with the opposition, reflecting a broader national trend of Republican resistance to protecting contraception.

Montanans across the political spectrum agree that the right to choose if, when, and how to have children is a private matter that should be free from political interference. More than 80% of the public, including significant majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, favor protecting contraception. This overwhelming support reflects a fundamental consensus: contraception is a basic healthcare right that must be protected. This consensus is not confined to any demographic—it spans age, race, gender, and political affiliation. Protecting the right to contraception is not just a healthcare issue; it is a fundamental aspect of personal freedom and privacy.

Montanans understand the importance of contraception not just for preventing pregnancy but for managing a range of health conditions. Nearly 60% of women use contraception for reasons beyond pregnancy prevention, such as treating endometriosis, managing menstrual pain, and reducing the risk of certain cancers. For many, contraception is a cornerstone of personal health and autonomy.

The economic implications of contraception are equally significant. It allows individuals to plan their families, careers, and futures, contributing to greater economic stability and growth. Women, in particular, benefit from the ability to pursue education and career opportunities without the disruption of unplanned pregnancies.

Despite these clear benefits, Republican lawmakers like Sen. Daines and right-wing groups continue to oppose contraception. We’ve seen them make false claims that IUDs and emergency contraception cause abortions in an effort to restrict all forms of reproductive healthcare.

What they fail to recognize is that the Montana public is watching and will not tolerate any attempts to undermine our reproductive freedoms. As we reflect on the recent vote, we must hold our politicians accountable.

Now more than ever, we must stand united in defense of our reproductive rights. The future of contraception in Montana—and across the nation—depends on our collective action and unwavering resolve. We will move forward, protecting and advancing the freedoms that define our society. The fight for the right to contraception is far from over, and together, we will ensure that our voices are heard.

Deborah Agnew, MD; Kathryn Lysinger, MD, Billings; Brooke Cadwell, CNM, APRN, PMHNP, Bozeman; Michael Caracciolo, Bozeman; Betsy Danforth, Bozeman; Stephanie McDowell, Executive Director, Bridgercare, Bozeman; Cara Wilder, Bozeman; Andrea Hoolan Wolfe, Bozeman; Erin Green, DO, FAAP, Helena; Christine Kaufmann, Helena; Pat Kemp, Helena; Anna Nix, BSW, JD, Helena; Marjorie Albers, MD, Miles City; Tondy Baumgartner, MD, Missoula; Jennifer Mayo, MD, Missoula; Katy Meinbresse, FNP, Missoula; Trent Taylor, MD, Missoula; Lauren Wilson, MD, FAAP, Missoula