“In no way, shape, or form is access to contraception 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 remain easily available in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the federal right to abortion, and when Democrats say otherwise, they are just trying to scare voters.
Variations on this claim were made by a series of Republicans on the House floor July 21 during debate on a bill that would add a right to contraception to federal law. Democrats advanced the bill as a way to ensure the availability of birth control before some abortion opponents have a chance to see whether the Supreme Court will overturn that right, too.
“This bill is completely unnecessary,” said Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.), a co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus. “In no way, shape, or form is access to contraception limited or at risk of being limited. The liberal majority is clearly trying to stoke fears and mislead the American people, once again, because in their minds stoking fear is clearly the only way that they can win.”
We reached out to Cammack’s office to inquire about the basis for this statement but did not receive a response.
Similar claims were made in the Senate as it declined to take up the House bill on July 27. “This idea that we ought to spend scarce time here in the Congress, which we have in limited supply, reaffirming rights that already exist is a clear political narrative designed to divert the American people’s attention from things that really are at risk,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).
However, a review of documents and current efforts in some states to change laws indicates there is significant evidence that birth control — or at least some forms of it — may be at risk legally. So we dug in.
At the Supreme Court
The cornerstone for this concern can be found in Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that overturned Roe v. Wade’s guarantee of access to abortion. Thomas suggested that having found no constitutional right to abortion, the court should next “reconsider all of this court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold.” That is a reference to Griswold v. Connecticut, the 1965 case that established a right for married couples to use contraception (single people were granted that right in a separate case in 1972). In Griswold, the 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 opinion that the birth control case should be reversed is unclear. But the Supreme Court has already allowed some employers to decline to offer their w …