“In no way, shape or form is contraceptive access limited or at risk of being limited.”
Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.), co-chair, Congressional Pro-Life Caucus on the floor of the U.S. House, July 21, 2022
Republicans who oppose abortion have new talking points — birth control will be readily available in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the federal right to abortion, and Democrats say otherwise, they’re trying to scare voters.
Changes to the claim were made by a series of Republicans on the House floor on July 21 during debate on a bill that would add contraception rights to federal law. Democrats advanced the bill as a way to ensure access to birth control before some abortion opponents see if the Supreme Court will strike down that right as well.
“This bill is completely unnecessary,” said Kat Cammack (R-Fla.), co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus. “In no way, shape or form is contraceptive access limited or at risk of being limited. The liberal majority is clearly trying to instill fear and mislead the American people again, because instilling fear into their minds is the only way they can win.”
We reached out to Camac’s office to inquire about the basis for this statement but did not receive a response.
Similar demands were made in the Senate on July 27 when the House refused to take up the bill. “The idea that we should spend so little time here in Congress, which we have a limited supply of, is a clear reaffirmation of rights that already exist. The political narrative is designed to divert the attention of the American people from the real issues at stake,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).
However, a review of documents and current efforts to change laws in some states indicates that there is significant evidence that birth control – or at least some forms of it – may be legally at risk. So we dug in.
In the Supreme Court
The basis for this concern can be found in the concurring opinion of Justice Clarence Thomas Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health OrganizationThe case is reversed Roe v. WadeGuarantee access to abortion. Thomas suggested that because there is no constitutional right to abortion, the Court should next “reexamine all substantive due process precedents of this Court, including Griswold” That’s a reference Griswold v. Connecticut, the 1965 case that established the right of married couples to use contraception (single individuals were granted that right in a separate case in 1972). inside GriswoldThe Court found that the “due process” clause of the 14th Amendment protects the right to privacy
True, Thomas represents only one vote on the court, and the number of his fellow justices who share his view that the birth control case should be overturned is unclear. But the Supreme Court has already allowed some employers to deny their employees contraceptive coverage based on their opposition to abortion. At issue in a 2014 Hobby Lobby lawsuit was the religious belief of the owners of the craft store chain that some types of contraceptives — including the “morning-after” pill and two types of intrauterine devices — could cause early miscarriages by preventing implantation. A fertilized egg. The court decided that the government could not force the contraceptive coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act on employers with that belief.
Scientific evidence shows that the morning-after pill (which is a higher dose of the hormone used in regular birth control pills) or the IUD does not stop a fertilized egg from implanting and therefore does not cause a miscarriage. Nevertheless, the court ruled that the employers’ religious beliefs trumped the government’s interest in workers obtaining contraceptive coverage.
“Legal blurring of the distinct scientific boundaries between abortion and birth control threatens contraceptive access in the United States,” wrote professors Rachel VanSickle-Ward and Kevin Wallstein in the Washington Post. They predicted that some states “will likely ban some types of contraceptives outright, using the discredited idea that contraceptives act as abortifacients.”
Confusion about how certain types of contraception work has led to efforts in several states to ban certain types of birth control. The most frequent target of birth control is the morning-after pill, which can prevent pregnancy if taken within a few days of unprotected sex but cannot prevent an established pregnancy. It’s not like the abortion pill, a regimen of two other drugs that ends a pregnancy up to 10 weeks into pregnancy.
And even if birth control methods prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a woman’s uterus, it would not be an abortion, at least not according to the medical community. Although many religious groups and abortion opponents argue that human life begins when the egg is fertilized, there is a consensus among doctors, scientists, and legal experts that pregnancy begins at implantation. And, they point out, abortion is the end of pregnancy. About half of all fertilized eggs never implant.
Even earlier Ro Overturned, Idaho lawmakers called for hearings to ban emergency contraception, and Missouri lawmakers tried to block Medicaid from paying for the morning-after pill and IUDs.
Anti-abortion groups are pushing the idea. “Plan B is capable of causing an early abortion,” says a fact sheet from Students for Life of America, referring to a brand name of the morning-after pill. The National Right to Life Committee’s model law would ban abortion from the moment of fertilization, not implantation.
Bottom line, Professors VanSickle-Ward and Walsten wrote before the decision was overturned Ro Even final was, “Courts do not have to formally end legal protections for contraceptive use.”
“If it allows plaintiffs to call contraceptive abortion, and Dobbs By ending legal protections for abortion, contraception is at risk.”
It is true that no state has banned contraceptives so far. But the threat appears very real. And the sheer nature of Cammack’s statement — saying that there’s “no way, shape, or form” that contraceptive access is at risk — isn’t accurate. We rate the statement false.
Congressional Record, July 21, 2022, pp. H6927-H6940
Supreme Court, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health OrganizationJune 24, 2022
Supreme Court, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby StoreJune 30, 2014
Supreme Court, Griswold v. ConnecticutJune 7, 1965
Stateline, “Some states are already targeting birth control,” May 19, 2022
19th, “With abortion rights in limbo, conservative lawmakers eye restrictions on IUDs and Plan B,” May 25, 2022
The Daily Beast, “Why FDA Can’t Fix Outdated Birth Control Labels,” updated July 12, 2017
Journal of Contraception, “Emergency Contraception Procedures,” July 12, 2010
KHN, “FAQ: High Court’s Hobby Lobby Ruling Cuts to Contraceptive Order,” June 30, 2014
KHN, “Misinformation clouds America’s most popular emergency contraception,” June 7, 2022
National Right to Life, “National Right to Life Committee Proposes Legislation to Protect Unborn Post-Roe,” June 15, 2022
NPR, “Abortion Foes Push to Redefine Personhood,” June 1, 2011
Students for Life, Facts About Plan B, accessed August 1, 2022
Washington Post, “If Supreme Court Underestimates Roe v. WadeContraception May Be Banned,” updated May 3, 2022