Concerns that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh could vote to overturn Roe v. Wade have been mounting since his nomination in July. Although the conservative judge has insisted that the landmark decision is legal precedent, an email leaked on September 5th hinted that he feels it could be repealed. And yesterday, September 6th, pro-choice activists grew even more worried about the future of reproductive rights when the nominee referred to contraceptives as “abortion-inducing drugs.”
Time reports that during the third day of Kavanaugh’s confirmation proceedings, Texas Senator Ted Cruz asked him to comment on a 2015 case in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in which an anti-abortion Catholic organization protested the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that employers provide birth control. Kavanaugh, who was serving on the court at the time, went against the majority opinion and sided with the religious group, Priests for Life. He explained his opinion to Cruz:
It should be noted that the term “abortion-inducing drugs” was used by Priests for Life in the original court case—Kavanaugh was using their words, not his. That being said, it’s still factually inaccurate. No form of contraceptive is an “abortion-inducing drug.” Planned Parenthood notes that IUDs work by blocking sperm from reaching an egg, so no fertilization takes place with these methods, and birth control pills work by preventing ovulation. Priests for Life also argued that emergency contraceptives—like Plan B—induce abortion, but, again, Planned Parenthood notes that these products are only meant to prevent fertilization, not end it.
For this reason, pro-choice organizations condemned Kavanaugh’s usage of the term “abortion-inducing drugs.” Dawn Laguens, executive vice president at the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, told HuffPost that this remark was “anti-woman.”
On top of not causing abortion, birth control pills are used for a variety of reasons, some of which have nothing to do with contraception. Access to these medications is a matter of health for many people, and we can’t afford to have a Supreme Court justice who will jeopardize that access. If you feel strongly about this issue, be sure to call your elected officials.