Right-wing media have vehemently denied that the conservative movement is gearing up to ban birth control, painting this criticism from the left as a hysterical response to the seeming overturning of Roe v. Wade. In reality, at least one GOP-controlled state legislature has already advanced a bill that could ban several forms of birth control, and others have recently signaled they are open to such bans.
Experts warn that the leaked draft opinion from Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito that seeks to strike down Roe v. Wade is based on a legal framework that could jeopardize other rights, including gay marriage and access to contraception. John Jay College of Criminal Justice political science professor Maxwell Mak told Insider, “I would think that certain contraceptive choices would be clearly on the table that you would see now with the striking down of Roe,” adding, “They could easily isolate the take-home abortion pill and the next kind of tangential things next to that would be Plan B and emergency contraception.”
Since the draft opinion was released, Republican officials in states such as Mississippi and Idaho announced that they would consider imposing bans on various forms of birth control. Additionally, Louisiana introduced a bill in March allowing murder charges for abortions. The language in the bill — which labels an embryo as a “person” from the moment an egg is fertilized — could also criminalize in vitro fertilization as well as the use of IUDs and emergency contraception.
Despite these Republican efforts which are currently underway, right-wing media personalities continue to claim that conservatives have no intention of blocking access to birth control. Instead, they have blamed the left for supposedly fearmongering about what the end of Roe would mean for birth control access:
- On the May 3 edition of The Ingraham Angle, Laura Ingraham asked Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) about the “incremental” argument made by progressives about birth control access and other rights that may be in jeopardy. He claimed, “When it comes to contraception, I don’t know of any person in the United States of America that wants to ban contraception. I mean, it’s literally a made-up threat.” Ingraham allowed Cruz to continue his answer and then ended the segment by simply thanking him.
- On his radio show, Fox’s Sean Hannity said liberals are “going to try and make this as big as they can.” He mocked the left’s concerns for birth control access: “‘What's next, contraception is gonna be illegal?’ Uh, no. It’s not.”
- Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum interrupted a Democratic strategist arguing the leaked decision could spell an end to guaranteed contraceptive access. “Nobody said that,” MacCallum declared, adding, “Don't you think that’s kind of getting a little crazy here? I mean, based on what is in this opinion when you actually read it, don't you think that's a little much?”
- Fox host Carley Shimkus dismissed concerns about encroachments on contraception, saying, “What Samuel Alito's draft opinion said is that the people should decide how abortion is regulated. That's the most pro-democracy stance ever. And then when it comes to abortion itself, you hear the ‘My body, my choice,’ overturning Roe would hurt poor women, then it spins into well it's not just about abortion, it's about gay marriage and contraception.”
- On Twitter, conservative Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle mocked concerns over birth control, writing, “I think the people catastrophizing about contraception or interracial marriage being next after Roe sincerely believe it. But I'm sorry, I cannot take this seriously.”
- On Twitter, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro accused the left of bringing birth control into the debate to distract from the supposedly weak arguments for abortion rights: “One of the reasons the Left keeps arguing that overturning Roe is REALLY about contraception and gay marriage and interracial marriage is because their arguments in favor of abortion are truly hideous. Better to broaden the agenda and obscure through euphemism.”
- On Twitter, Daily Wire CEO Jeremy Boreing dismissed fears that conservatives will ban birth control with supposed statistics which he just made up: “Total number of states that will categorically ban birth control if Roe is overturned: 0. Total chance of SCOTUS overturning Obergefell if Roe is overturned: 0%. Total number of humans who believe a conservative clerk leaked the Alito draft decision: 0.”
- On May 3, Fox host Mark Levin told his radio audience that attacks on contraceptive use are not real, saying, “They think the suburbs, the suburbs will be appalled by this, and so they furthermore try to extend a ruling that's not extended to gay marriage to the so-called right of privacy and contraception that all these are gonna fall. None of them are gonna fall. The majority draft even says so.”
- On the May 6 edition of his radio show, Levin criticized Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, saying he was “lying” about overturning Roe v. Wade having an impact on other rights: “Here you have him … lying through his teeth. ‘They're coming after marriage equality.’ No they're not. They're coming after birth control. Anybody in the world believe that? ‘They're coming after employment and housing protections for marginalized minority communities.’ No. They're not. Honestly, honestly, that word coming out of your big fat mouth doesn’t mean a damn thing.”
- On Fox & Friends, conservative pundit Ilya Shapiro dismissed concerns about access to contraception, saying, “A lot of critics of this decision on the left are saying, ‘Well this threatens same-sex marriage, even contraception.’ I think that's not right to say the least because even if you discount what Alito says in his draft opinion, there's a difference between abortion and every other case where privacy might be at issue because at a certain point there’s a second individual, a second human being with his or her own rights.”
- In response to the question of if gay marriage is in jeopardy, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro also dismissed the threat to birth control, saying, “No it doesn't. They specifically say in this decision, Alito says this does not. The difference between abortion and gay marriage and interracial marriage and contraception is abortion involves a third party.”
- In a tweet, Breitbart editor Joel Pollak dismissed concerns about other rights that could be in jeopardy after Roe: “@JoeBiden tries to link Roe to contraception, gay marriage, etc. None of the decisions on marriage or gender etc. relies on Roe, because it is such a poorly decided case (as even defenders acknowledge), or even on the right to privacy. This is about abortion, and abortion alone.”