PANTS ON FIRE: Hillary, Kamala Caught in Lie about Kavanaugh Birth Control Statement
On Wednesday morning, Hillary Clinton again confirmed to America why she lost the 2016 election. She tweeted a blatant lie about President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. A lie pushed by Planned Parenthood and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) that has been debunked by numerous outlets, including The Washington Post and PolitiFact.
"I want to be sure we're all clear about something that Brett Kavanaugh said in his confirmation hearings last week. He referred to birth-control pills as 'abortion-inducing drugs.' That set off a lot of alarm bells for me, and it should for you, too," Clinton tweeted, beginning a thread that should bring her well-deserved mockery.
"Kavanaugh didn't use that term because he misunderstands the basic science of birth control—the fact that birth control prevents fertilization of eggs in the first place. He used that term because it's a dog whistle to the extreme right," the former Democratic nominee for president added.
"When Kavanaugh called birth control "abortion-inducing drugs," he made it clear that safe and legal abortion isn't the only fundamental reproductive right at grave risk if he is confirmed. Access to birth control is, too," the former secretary of State declared.
She then suggested that Kavanaugh's "position" would lead to "The Handmaid's Tale." "Imagine an America ... in which women would be punished for insisting on being full and equal partners in society."
Here's the problem: her entire tirade is built on a horrendously malignant false premise. The lie is easily traced back to Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Planned Parenthood, and just as easily debunked.
CNN reported that Planned Parenthood sent out a press release quoting Kavanaugh but leaving out the first two words in his sentence.
Around the same time, Harris tweeted an 11-second clip of a deceptively edited sentence from Brett Kavanaugh. The judge said, "Filling out the form would make them complicit in the provision of the abortion-inducing drugs that they were, as a religious matter, objected to."
Harris added her commentary: "Kavanaugh chooses his words very carefully, and this is a dog whistle for going after birth control," she tweeted. "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 — this is about punishing women."
Except it isn't about punishing women — at all. And Harris well knew that.
Kavanaugh did indeed speak these words. He was summarizing someone else's argument in a court case. That's right: he wasn't giving his opinion, he was merely referencing an argument in a case.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) asked Kavanaugh about the case Priests for Life v. Burwell. The judge explained the case.
"That was a group that was being forced to provide a certain kind of health coverage, over their religious objection, to their employees. Under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the question was first was this a substantial burden on their religious exercise. And it seemed to me quite clearly it was," Kavanaugh recalled.
Then came the damning statement: "It was a technical matter of filling out a form. They said filling out the form would make them complicit in the provision of the abortion-inducing drugs that they were as a religious matter objected to. Second question was whether the government had a compelling interest," Kavanaugh said (emphasis added).
Here's the kicker: Not only was the judge summarizing Priests for Life's argument — rather than giving his own opinion — but he went on, just a few seconds later, to argue that "the government did have a compelling interest" in ensuring that women had access to birth control. Watch the clip below.
Harris's statement — and Hillary Clinton's tweetstorm — was utterly, inexcusably false.
So why did Planned Parenthood feel justified in making the claim? "The argument for the lawyers of Priests for Life was that they objected to all birth control," Beth Lynk, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told CNN. "In Kavanaugh's testimony his description of their objection characterized all types of birth control as 'abortion-inducing drugs.'"
Kavanaugh's misstatement makes perfect sense, however. The Priests for Life case echoed the struggles in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2014), in which Obama's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandated coverage of abortion-inducing drugs. Technically, drugs like the "morning-after pill" cause a woman's body to expel (and therefore kill) an unborn baby. These kind of drugs were mandated by HHS and Priests for Life objected to them as well.
The judge was not attempting to redefine the case Priests for Life, characterizing all contraception as "abortion-inducing drugs." Pro-life activists know these are not the same. Kavanaugh also knows this. He does not oppose contraception.
Later, Harris argued that just using the term "abortion-inducing drugs" was a "dog whistle." According to this U.S. senator, a correct term for such drugs cannot be uttered, because pro-life activists use it.
In fact, Kavanaugh is a supporter of women's access to contraception — he even said, in the very remarks Harris quoted, that the government has a "compelling interest" to ensure women's access to contraception. There is no excuse for such a blatant and malicious lie from Harris, now repeated by Hillary Clinton.
But of course, Clinton was far from the first Democrat to repeat this lie.
The abortion activist group NARAL promoted it on Twitter. "Kavanaugh just referred to birth control as 'abortion-inducing drugs,' which is not only an anti-science lie, it's an anti-choice extremist phrase that shows that our right to access both abortion and contraception would be in SERIOUS danger if he is confirmed," NARAL tweeted.
Then other Democrat senators took up the lie.
"Brett Kavanaugh needs a lesson in basic biology. Let’s be clear: contraception is NOT abortion," Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted. "We need a Supreme Court Justice who defends a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions — not someone who is pushing extremist ideology."
"This is a red-alarm moment. In his confirmation hearings, [Kavanaugh] just called birth control 'abortion-inducing drugs.' If you didn't believe it before, believe it now – a woman's constitutional right to abortion AND birth control are both 100% at stake," Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) added.
This lie is so blatantly false and malicious, Harris, Warren, and Merkley should apologize, if not resign immediately. Not only have they proven themselves utterly incapable of providing "advice and consent" for Supreme Court appointments, but they have used their platforms to tarnish the record of a man who was summarizing an argument and who immediately defended access to contraception as a governmental interest.
If Harris, Warren, and Merkley cannot understand what it means to summarize someone's argument, or if they are so dead-set on protecting abortion that they will twist a Supreme Court nominee's words to mean the exact opposite of what he said, they do not deserve the public trust of a Senate seat.
After National Review's Jack Crowe rightly called out mainstream media fact-checkers for refusing to check Harris' blatant lie, PolitiFact and The Washington Post took it up. PolitiFact gave her lie a "false" rating. WaPo's Glenn Kessler gave it "four Pinocchios."
I never thought I'd say this, but maybe Hillary Clinton should read The Washington Post.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.