Have you seen photos of the viral, 20-foot-tall IUD in Washington, DC? Here’s what it means

Commuters in Washington, DC were surprised this week when a 20-foot-tall inflatable intrauterine device (IUD) appeared outside Union Station. It quickly went viral, with tons of tweets spreading on social media with photos and jokes about it.

Following the Supreme Court‘s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in 2022, concerns have escalated regarding the security of other reproductive rights, including access to contraception. The Right to Contraception Act was also introduced in 2022.

So why was the enormous IUD in D.C.? It was (ahem) inserted by Americans for Contraception to help raise awareness and support passage of the Right to Contraception Act ahead of its vote in the Senate on Wednesday. 

The Right to Contraception Act would give every American the federally protected right to access birth control in any form they want, whether that’s pills, patches, implants, condoms, IUDs, or medical procedures like vasectomies. This issue has been front and center since the fall of Roe, when Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said in his concurring opinion that the Court should also reconsider some of its past rulings, including those that prohibited bans on birth control and same-sex marriage.

This issue is even more important as Donald Trump, who is set to become the Republican presidential nominee in the upcoming election, said he’s “looking at” restrictions on birth control and thinks plans around the topic are “interesting.”

Republicans blocked the Right to Contraception Act during Wednesday’s vote. The bill got a 51-39 majority, but that was short of the 60 votes it needed to move forward. Only two Republican senators—Susan Collins from Maine and Lisa Murkowski from Alaska—voted with Democrats in favor of the legislation.

“Contraception is health care, essential health care, that millions of people rely on,” Democratic Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono said, adding that in the wake of the Roe decision, there is “more chaos to come.”

President Joe Biden called Republican opposition to reproductive rights and the right to birth control “unacceptable.”

“We will continue to urge Congress to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade in federal law and safeguard the right to contraception once and for all,” he said.

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