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Republicans Rejecting the Right to Contraception? That’s Unposible!

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Griswold is totally safe because no Republican legislative body would actually go after contraception access, yes?

The Right To Contraception Act, sponsored by Rep. Kathy Manning, D-N.C., would establish a right in federal law for individuals to obtain and use contraceptives. It would also affirm a right for health care providers to provide contraceptives and allow the Justice Department and entities harmed by contraception restrictions to seek enforcement of the right in court.

Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., said the United States is facing “a perilous time, where an extremist Supreme Court and the GOP are rolling back our rights.”

Eight Republicans voted with all 220 Democrats on the bill. Two Republicans voted “present.”

I bet you’ll never guess why nearly all GOP members voted against the bill.

“Democrats are spreading fear and misinformation to score political points,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

She called it “a Trojan horse for more abortions.” ….

The legislation defines contraceptive as “any drug, device, or biological product intended for use in the prevention of pregnancy, whether specifically intended to prevent pregnancy or for other health needs, that is legally marketed under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, such as oral contraceptives, long-acting reversible contraceptives, emergency contraceptives, internal and external condoms, injectables, vaginal barrier methods, transdermal patches, and vaginal rings, or other contraceptives.”

The idea that emergency contraception is an abortifacient depends on two claims: first, that personhood begins with fertilization and, second, that emergency contraception works mainly by preventing implantation.

Some studies do conclude that “Plan B” prevents implantation, but the overall evidence strongly suggests that emergency contraception mostly, if not entirely, works through other mechanisms.

Given this – and if we accept the ridiculous claim that blastocysts are endowed with human rights – then the anti-abortion argument for prohibiting “Plan B” reduces to some combination of the following:

  • We should ignore current “best knowledge” on the subject, and
  • The mere possibility that in some cases emergency contraception might prevent implantation justifies a ban.

This is the kind of reasoning that leads anti-abortion activists to oppose IUDs. It’s also why we’re more likely than not to see attempts to ban standard hormonal contraception. Indeed, as federal courts and legislative chambers increasingly turn into fact-free zones, it’s entirely possible that almost every method of contraception is at risk.

I’d be more sanguine about access to contraception if conservative opposition to abortion wasn’t so deeply intertwined with anxieties about, and hostility toward, the idea of women asserting sovereignty over their own bodies – especially in the context of sex and sexuality.

As the rest of the LGM crew is fond of pointing out, public opinion polling isn’t much of a constraint when politicians gerrymander democracy to death.

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