WASHINGTON, D.C., September 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-abortion voices are pouncing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh for yet another statement during his confirmation testimony, this time a reference to the abortifacient function of certain contraception methods.
The incident occurred on Thursday, Kavanaugh’s second day of questioning from the Senate Judiciary Committee as lawmakers consider whether to let him replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court. It came during Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz’s questioning of his dissenting opinion in favor of Priests for Life against the Obama administration’s contraception mandate, TIME reports.
Kavanaugh came down on the side of religious liberty in that case, though some have raised concern at his opinion’s suggestion that government has a “compelling interest in facilitating access to contraception for the employees of…religious organizations.” (Since then, the case has been settled and the Trump administration has worked to dismantle the mandate.)
“The question was first, was this a substantial burden on their religious exercise? And it seemed to me, quite clearly, it was,” Kavanaugh explained. “They said filling out the form would make them complicit in the abortion-inducing drugs that they were, as a religious matter, objected to.”
His mere use of the phrase “abortion-inducing drugs” was enough to send abortion advocates into a frenzy.
“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,” NARAL tweeted.
“Kavanaugh invoked a medically inaccurate anti-abortion codeword,” the Planned Parenthood Action Fund echoed.
“Contraception is NOT abortion,” tweeted Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat rumored to be considering a presidential run. “Anyone who says so is peddling extremist ideology – not science.” Various news and blog headlines ran in a similar vein.
In fact, Kavanaugh was correct. He did not suggest every contraception or birth control method induces an abortion, but merely stated that the mandate included methods that do, which is accurate.
National Review’s Ed Whelan notes that the Obama administration admitted in the Hobby Lobby case that, per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, IUDs “may prevent the egg from attaching (implanting) in the womb”; Plan B “may also work […] by preventing attachment (implantation) to the womb”; and Ella “may also work by changing the lining of the womb (uterus) that may prevent attachment.”
According to a detailed 2014 overview by the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists’s Dr. Donna Harrison, Plan B’s abortifacient capacity depends largely on when it’s taken, a detail its defenders exploit to present it as non-abortive:
If Plan B is taken five to two days before egg release is due to happen, the interference with the LH signal prevents a woman from releasing an egg, no fertilization happens, and no embryo is formed. Current studies do not demonstrate a harmful effect on the embryo if Plan B is taken after egg release.
Many authors focus on these two facts to make the sweeping claim that Plan B has no effect on a human embryo. What they are forgetting is Plan B’s effect at step 3, the two-day window in which embryos can form but positive pregnancy tests don’t occur. That’s the window during which the studies mentioned above suggest that Plan B has a likely embryocidal effect in stopping pregnancy.
Additionally, some abortion advocates admit its potential to prevent implantation, but attempt to sow confusion as to implantation’s meaning. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) redefined “conception” in the 1960s to refer to implantation rather than fertilization, in order to make contraception more culturally acceptable. Even so, a 2011 survey found that most OB/GYNs continue to say life begins at fertilization, not implantation.
Kavanaugh’s broader life answers continue to be a political Rorschach test for abortion friends and foes. Throughout his testimony he has expressed significant respect for Roe v. Wade’s status as precedent under the doctrine of stare decisis. Supporters and opponents alike argue that his answers are phrased to navigate a narrowly-divided Senate, and that he ultimately would vote to overturn Roe.
The strongest evidence for pro-life leanings is a 2017 speech he gave on his “first judicial hero,” the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist. He approvingly cited Rehnquist’s judgment that a right to abortion was not “rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people,” and that Roe was an example of “freewheeling judicial creation of unenumerated rights.”