- Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Thursday was slammed by reproductive-rights groups after he referred to some forms of birth control as “abortion-inducing drugs” during his confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court.
- Kavanaugh’s remarks were characterised as “anti-woman, anti-science propaganda.”
- Kavanaugh’s comments on Thursday have bolstered concerns from critics regarding his stance on Roe v. Wade.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Thursday was slammed by reproductive-rights groups after he seemingly referred to some forms of birth control as “abortion-inducing drugs” during his confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court.
During the hearing, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz questioned Kavanaugh about his role in the 2015Priests for Life v. HHS case. At the time, Kavanaugh wrote a dissent in which he defended the anti-abortion Catholic group, which didn’t want to provide insurance coverage to employees for contraceptives.
When asked about this on Thursday, Kavanaugh said, “Filling out the form would make them complicit in the provision of the abortion-inducing drugs that they were, as a religious matter, objected to.”
Kavanaugh seems to refer to birth control as "abortion-inducing drugs" pic.twitter.com/JILxzYiN6b
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 6, 2018
Groups that champion reproductive rights, like NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and the Center for Reproductive Rights, rebuked Kavanaugh for using the term, “abortion-inducing drugs.”
‘Anti-woman, anti-science propaganda’
“Kavanaugh just referred to birth control as ‘abortion-inducing drugs,’ which is not only an anti-science lie, it’s an anti-choice extremist phrase that shows that our right to access both abortion and contraception would be in SERIOUS danger if he is confirmed,” NARAL tweeted.
Dawn Laguens, executive vice president at the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, told HuffPost that Kavanaugh’s remarks were “anti-woman, anti-science propaganda.”
“Let me break it down for you, Brett,” Laguens added. “Birth control is basic health care. Birth control allows women to plan their futures, participate in the economy, and ― for some women with health issues like endometriosis ― allows them to get through the day.”
The Center for Reproductive Rights in a tweet said Kavanaugh’s remarks were “straight out of the anti-choice, anti-science phrase book used to restrict women’s access to essential health care.”
Kavanaugh was also criticised by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Feinstein on Thursday tweeted his comments were “further proof” of his “hostility toward women’s reproductive freedom.”
But it’s also unclear if Kavanaugh was referencing all birth control in his statement on Thursday or was just pointing to the specific views of the Catholic organisation.
With that said, Priests for Life is opposed to all forms of contraception and has been accused of falsely conflating birth control with abortion with such terminology.
‘Facts are very important’
Anti-abortion groups like Priests for Life have controversially referred to intrauterine devices (IUDs) and emergency contraceptives as “abortion-inducing.”
These are dubious characterizations, given doctors do not consider IUDs or emergency contraceptives to be abortifacients, defined by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) as “an agent that disturbs an embryo already implanted in the uterine lining, after a pregnancy has been established.”
“Facts are very important, especially when discussing the health of the American public. Contrary to assertions made by some, emergency contraception and IUDs do not cause abortions, and therefore are not abortifacients. Here are the scientific facts,” ACOG said in a June 2014 statement.
The statement went on to say that emergency contraception (EC) doesn’t cause medical abortions.
“A woman can take mifepristone to cause a medical abortion, terminating an early existing pregnancy. EC however only works before a pregnancy is established,” ACOG said. “Review of the scientific evidence suggests that EC cannot prevent implantation of a fertilised egg. EC is not effective after implantation; it cannot end a pregnancy and is not an abortifacient.”
Hence, even in the context of discussing the Priests for Life case, Kavanaugh’s dubious reiteration of the phrase “abortion-inducing drugs” has been seized upon as a telling moment in terms of his views on reproductive rights.
In short, Kavanaugh’s comments on Thursday have greatly bolstered concerns he’ll seek to undermine Roe v. Wade if he’s ultimately confirmed.
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