Kavanaugh proves he doesn't understand how birth control works


By incorrectly referring to birth control as 'abortion-causing drugs,' Kavanaugh aligned himself with right-wing extremists who want to ban both abortion and contraception.

Trump’s extremist Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, referred to birth control as "abortion-inducing drugs" during his confirmation hearing on Thursday — proving not just his total ignorance on women's health, but also his disturbing alignment with right-wing groups who want to ban both abortion and contraception.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) asked Kavanaugh about a dissenting opinion he wrote that favored Priests for Life, a group exclusively dedicated to anti-abortion extremism that even opposes birth control.

Priests for Life "was being forced to provide a certain kind of health coverage over their religious objection to their employees," Kavanaugh said. "They 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."

Like the more well-known Little Sisters of the Poor, whose case went to the Supreme Court, Priests for Life had sued the Department of Health and Human Services claiming that Obamacare's birth control mandate burdened its religious freedom — simply because the group had to sign a form that exempted it from directly providing birth control coverage.

But like many anti-abortion extremists, Priests for Life didn't stop at saying it opposed birth control on religious grounds.

It went further by referring to some methods of birth control as "abortifacients" and "abortion-inducing products," which totally flies in the face of scientific evidence.

Yet Kavanaugh was more than happy to promote this anti-science propaganda on national television and in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In reality, there is no form of contraception that terminates an existing pregnancy — including emergency contraception, which makes pregnancy less likely if taken within 48 hours of unprotected sex.

But hardcore opponents of reproductive freedom have waged a decades-long anti-science propaganda campaign to convince the public that pregnancy begins when an egg is first fertilized, and that at least some methods of contraception can cause abortion.

Some of these arguments are based on early research suggesting that emergency contraception might prevent an already-fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. But that's not the case, scientists have since learned — only one method of contraception, the copper IUD, is known to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg.

But even if all of these methods of contraception worked by preventing implantation, they would still not be "abortion-causing drugs." Legally and medically, a pregnancy only begins when a fertilized egg implants in the uterus, not when the egg is fertilized. And most fertilized eggs naturally fail to implant.

The anti-science campaign to convince people otherwise is extreme and dangerous.

Fetal "personhood" laws based on this logic, for instance, could outlaw not just abortion, and not just contraception, but also in vitro fertilization. They could also make women subject to criminal investigation for miscarriage — something that, shockingly, already happens on occasion in America.

Many Americans don't know all of this, but it's not their fault.

Public education on these issues is still woefully inadequate. And the waters get even muddier when prominent politicians — or in this case, federal judges — repeat bogus, anti-science propaganda.

Kavanaugh, however, should know better. But apparently he doesn't.

This means one of two things.

Either Kavanaugh has chosen not to educate himself on how women's reproductive systems work — or he is so beholden to right-wing extremists that he'll believe and repeat anything they say, no matter what science tells us.

Neither of those options look good for Kavanaugh. And both of those options should disqualify Kavanaugh from making decisions about women's health in any court, much less the highest court in the land.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.