On the third day of his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh referred to the use of contraception as “abortion-inducing drugs.”
Kavanaugh’s comment was in response to a question posed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) regarding the judge’s 2015 dissent in the Priests for Life v. the U.S. Department of Human and Health Services case, Time reported. While serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Kavanaugh sided with the religious organization, which had asked to be exempted from providing employees with insurance coverage for contraceptives.
In 2013, Priests for Life argued that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that all health plans cover birth control violated the organization’s religious freedom because IUDs and emergency contraception cause abortion instead of acting as birth control. The premise was the same from the much-talked-about Hobby Lobby case of 2014.
Under the ACA, employers who wished government funds to cover the contraceptives had to fill out a form to their insurers to avoid a monetary fine.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled against Priests for Life in 2014, but Kavanaugh dissented from the majority. On Thursday, Cruz asked Kavanaugh to explain his dissent.
“The question was first, was this a substantial burden on their religious exercise? And it seemed to me, quite clearly, it was,” he said. “They said filling out the form would make them complicit in the abortion-inducing drugs that they were, as a religious matter, objected to.”
Priests for Life has celebrated Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, as it made evident in a July statement posted on its website.
“Judge Kavanaugh voted to block the Obama administration from forcing us to violate our consciences by being complicit in providing abortifacient and contraceptive coverage to our employees… At a time when these freedoms need more defense than ever, we urge the Senate to… (focus) on the excellent qualifications of Judge Kavanaugh, and not on the politics of personal destruction that the Democrat Left are such experts at carrying out,” the statement reads.
Many pro-choice organizations have argued that Kavanaugh’s word choice is proof of his anti-women’s health leaning, of which he has been accused in numerous occasions, HuffPost noted.
“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 anti-woman, anti-science propaganda,” Laguens told HuffPost. “Women have every reason to believe their health and their lives are at stake.”