BAILEY T STEEN | THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2018
Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the latest Supreme Court nominee introduced by President Donald Trump, doesn’t understand contraceptives — and neither do his pro-life religious defendants. On Tuesday, during his third day of Senate confirmation hearings, the judge presented himself as quite the virgin when his inaccurate description of birth control as “abortion-inducing drugs” caught the attention of activists, politicians and the mainstream media.
“Kavanaugh chooses his words very carefully, and this is a dog whistle for going after birth control,” tweeted Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), presenting footage of his answer. “He was nominated for the purpose of taking away a woman’s constitutionally protected right to make her own health care decisions. Make no mistake,” she continued, “this is about punishing women.”
She was joined by fellow left-wing figures in Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and other pro-choice organisations who took this as a dog whistle against reproductive rights. “Kavanaugh referred to birth control — something more than 95 percent of women use in their lifetime — as an ‘abortion-inducing drug,’ which is not just flat-out wrong, but is also anti-woman, anti-science propaganda,” wrote Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, in an official statement delivered to Vox.
When both The Washington Post and Politifact tried to reframe the event, claiming this was some false left-wing narrative taken out of context, it was Sen. Harris who published his complete unedited response to showcase their actual argument. “Here is Kavanaugh’s full answer,” she continued to write. “There’s no question that he uncritically used the term ‘abortion-inducing drugs’, which is a dog whistle term used by the extreme anti-choice groups to describe birth control.”
In context, Kavanaugh used this phrase when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) asked the SCOTUS nominee about his dissent in the 2015 legal case of Priests For Life V. The U.S. Department Of Health and Human Services, paraphrasing a religious organisation he sided with when they contested The Affordable Care Act (ACA, otherwise nicknamed Obamacare) for it’s mandate that health insurance plans must cover female contraceptives medicine if their patients want them. The group were the first to use this phrase when they filed their lawsuit on doctrinal grounds, claiming the mandate violated their religious liberties under the First Amendment.
The D.C. Circuit Court ultimately ruled in favour of the Obama administration, finding restriction of birth control coverage, at least regarding females, as a violation of multiple policies. These include the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which conflates discrimination on the basis of pregnancy as discrimination on the basis of sex, which is also outlawed by the 1964 passage of The Civil Rights Act. The mandate, which ironically doesn’t cover male contraceptive products, also allowed the group to seek a religious exemption through a formal document, allowing a separate insurance company to provide contraceptive coverage.The group never sought this process, possibly to play the absolute legal martyrs of the pro-life movement, according to Kavanaugh’s description of the events.
“The question was first, was this a substantial burden on their religious exercise? And it seemed to me, quite clearly, it was,” Kavanaugh told the senator during his hearing, citing The Religious Restoration Act of 1993 as their legal justification. “They said filling out the [exemption] forms would make them complicit in the ‘abortion-inducing drugs’ that they were, as a religious matter, objected to.”
Their counter-argument of religious liberty was, in actuality, an example of a market entity restricting the entitled health coverage from their employees based on a religious faith their workers may not subscribe, thus considered void and authoritarian abuse. Kavanaugh, however, disagreed with the ruling, seemingly convinced by their notions of contraceptives murdering the sacred babies, sperms and eggs within the female womb and companies having the right to wield a faith over their lower colleagues’ plans — all based on a lie perpetuated by their superstitious doctrines.
According to a 2012 investigation from The New York Times, examining the science behind contraceptives — birth control pills, condoms, hormonal intrauterine devices and implants—don’t technically fit the scientific definition of an abortive procedure. This is because pregnancy only begins once the fertilised egg is implanted in the uterus, not before. Those who ejaculate onto a tissue, a toilet or a spouse’s inappropriate bodily holes haven’t, all of a sudden, brought a million microscopic people into their room. “Otherwise, hand-jobs are genocide,” once joked Christopher Hitchens in a spirited defence of sexual liberty. “And don’t get me started on blow-jobs,” he continued, “because it’d certainly not be kosher.”
The differences between implantation, fertilisation and abortion are key to the nuanced arguments for pro-choice and safe sex. Those in favour of such abortive procedures, in the actual sense of the word, make the argument that an unwanted child within the womb is violating the woman’s sovereignty. The body is a property right and it’s entitled to the individual, unless one is rapist where forced entry isn’t always unjust.
The most contentious of contraceptives — the morning-after pill and the copper IUD — are more complex than this notion of drugs causing baby murder. The Times cited the National Institutes of Health in its removal of passages saying these drugs prevent implantation. Their article found a growing body of research that such drugs, such as Plan B and Ella, when taken up to five days after unprotected sex, simply work to stop fertilization by delaying ovulation and thickening cervical mucus to prevent sperm from swimming through the body towards a fertilisable egg. This isn’t murder, but a drug-induced eviction where medical intervention stops the intruder.
Intruders are viewed as wrong in the context of a home invasion, wrong in the context of rape, yet somehow debatable in both pregnancy and semen. The former has merit, as two fundamental rights (body property and reproductive life) are conflicting with one another, while the other is just the prevention of semen entry. It shouldn’t have to be stated that sperm isn’t entitled to enter the womb upon orgasm, no matter which God demands it, and it certainly doesn’t need big government’s help.
Thanks for reading!
Bailey T. Steen is a journalist, designer and film critic residing in the heart of Victoria, Australia. He’s also a proud Putin Puppet™ on occasion.
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