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Pierce writes: "'Abortion-inducing drugs' is an anti-choice term of art similar to 'partial-birth abortion' that has no basis in actual science, but has great value in stirring up the rubber-fetus crowd."

Brett Kavanaugh. (photo: Erin Schaff/NYT)
Brett Kavanaugh. (photo: Erin Schaff/NYT)

Everyone Knows What Brett Kavanaugh Means by 'Abortion-Inducing Drugs'

By Charles Pierce, Esquire

13 September 18

More skeletons are emerging from his closet.

(Optional Musical Accompaniment To This Post)

here is nothing about newspaper "fact-checking" that isn't a nuisance. The Pinocchios and the Fiery Pants are merely a fancy way of reweaving the wet blanket that is "objectivity." It is easily gamed. It is vulnerable to pressure from all the wrong people, and it is notably averse to being fact-checked itself. (Fact-checkers in magazines, of course, are god's own gentlepeople, peace be to them.) And, invariably, they get dragged into our superheated political mendacity, often on the unhelpful side.

Our latest example comes from PolitiFact, the Fiery Pants People. Last week, while floundering through his confirmation hearings and babbling nonsense, Judge Brett Kavanaugh was asked about a case in which Priests For Life, a rabidly anti-choice group, refused to fill out a form that would allow the contraception used by their female employees to be covered by health insurance. (PFL was started by Father Frank Pavone, who earned his wingnut spurs by being one of the primary ghouls at the bedside of Terri Schiavo through that entire indecent exercise.) This was Kavanaugh's answer on the subject.

"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, objecting to."

"Abortion-inducing drugs" is an anti-choice term of art similar to "partial-birth abortion" that has no basis in actual science, but has great value in stirring up the rubber-fetus crowd.

Naturally, given Kavanaugh's track record both on and off the bench, the Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee perked up a little when they heard Kavanaugh say that. Senator Kamala Harris tweeted out the following:

"Kavanaugh chooses his words very carefully, and this is a dog whistle for going after birth control. 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."

This is where PolitiFact comes leaping in with its customary warning that it's best for us all to be naive and stupid rather than jumping to obvious conclusions. PolitiFact rated Harris's charge, "False."

In Harris’ tweet, Kavanaugh appears to believe birth control is an abortion-inducing drug. Does he? We’re not sure what he believes. He hasn't said so in the confirmation hearings. Harris’ tweet takes Kavanaugh’s statement out of context. Harris cut an important second out of the clip — the attribution. Kavanaugh said, "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, objecting to."

Of course, the usual suspects scrambled the flying monkeys and sent them aloft. And now the whole issue of whether Kavanaugh's clumsy tap-dancing around everything he ever has believed during his career rises to the level of lying to Congress is banjaxed by this one moment.

In truth, Harris probably should have used the whole quote, but pretending, as PolitiFact does, that we aren't sure about what Brett Kavanaugh believes about "abortion-inducing" drugs is laughable. After all, in the case in question, Kavanaugh was writing in dissent of the circuit court's en band decision not to rehear the case of Priests For Life v. HHS.

Moreover, in his dissent, he said that he would have ruled for the plaintiff religious organizations. Now, it can be argued that Kavanaugh's ruling for the plaintiff's would have been exclusively on First Amendment grounds. But then, one would have to determine that Kavanaugh's career-long involvement in anti-choice causes, including his ghastly slow-playing of a detained girl's desire to end a pregnancy in Garza v. Hargen, had no bearing on his view of the law in these matters. If that were the case, he never would have been on the Federalist Society's shortlist for the Court in the first place.

Interestingly, some voices on the right, including the executive director of Priests For Life, while deploring Kamala Harris's terrible unfairness to the nominee, now are arguing that the opinion of contraceptive drugs that she accused Kavanaugh of holding is the correct one. (Pavone is reliably manic on the subject and, unlike PolitiFact, is absolutely sure where Kavanaugh stands.) I'm sure that, once he's on the Court, and rules the way everybody with a brain knows he's going to rule, Mr. Justice Kavanaugh will be grateful for the support. And the rest of us will be angry, because we are not the suckers that PolitiFact would prefer us to be.

(Further Optional Musical Accompaniment To This Post)

Meanwhile, on this same front, things have become very interesting over the last couple of days. The Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary had sent Kavanaugh more than 1000 written questions "for the record" that had to be answered in writing by 6 p.m. Wednesday night. Many of them were follow-ups to questions that already had been asked in the public hearings last week. Many of them asked Kavanaugh for clarification on his testimony on such hot button topics as abortion, birth control, whether or not a sitting president can be indicted, and precisely how much fudge had been stuffed into Kavanaugh's public testimony. In fact, Senator Chris Coons asked him flat-out if he had testified in "a certain way to avoid disclosing relevant information."

However, some interesting new areas of inquiry opened up as well, particularly through the efforts of Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, who expressed interest not only on Kavanaugh's now-famous $230,000 debt concerning Washington Nationals baseball tickets, a topic that mysteriously did not come up in the public hearings, but also about the possibility that Brett Kavanaugh, solid citizen and girls basketball coach, might have a bit of the Sportin' Life in him.

“Have you ever sought treatment for a gambling addiction?”

Bill Burck produced to the committee a document from your tenure in the White House Counsel’s Office that references a “game of dice.” After a reunion with friends in September 2001, you emailed: “Apologies to all for missing Friday (good excuse), and growing aggressive after blowing still another game of dice (don’t recall). Reminders to everyone to be very, very vigilant w/r/t confidentiality on all issues and all fronts, including with spouses.”

a. Since 2000, have you participated in any form of gambling or game of chance or skill with monetary stakes, including but not limited to poker, dice, golf, sports betting, blackjack, and craps? If yes, please list the dates, participants, location/venue, and amounts won/lost.

b. Do you play in a regular or periodic poker game? If yes, please list the dates, participants, location/venue, and amounts won/lost.

c. Have you ever gambled or accrued gambling debt in the State of New Jersey?

d. Have you ever had debt discharged by a creditor for losses incurred in the State of New Jersey?

e. Have you ever sought treatment for a gambling addiction?

f. In the email quoted above, please explain what “issues” and “fronts” you wanted your friends to be “very, very vigilant” about “w/r/t/ confidentiality, including with spouses.”

To be perfectly honest, the image of Brett Kavanaugh in a zoot suit and a fedora, rolling them bones with the rounders and bounders at the Federalist Society is the best one I've had of the guy since he sat down in the witness chair last week. But Whitehouse has his teeth into something here and I think, perhaps, it is the underlying fudge in this nominee's testimony. In any case, I don't like to think about Supreme Court justices—or basketball coaches, for that matter—with gambling problems. Curiouser and curiouser.

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+24 # tedcloak 2018-09-13 13:31
I hope/presume that some Member(s) of Congress are making a list of Kavanaugh's lies, so that he can be impeached, when the time comes, for lying to the Judicial Committee.
+28 # angryspittle 2018-09-13 15:02
How come Kavanaugh only has two kids? He either takes advantage of "abortion" inducing drugs or his wife finds him too repulsive to fuck.
+3 # Yachtsman 2018-09-13 16:59
Most contraceptive medications are NOT abortion producing drugs, so there would be plenty to choose from.
-2 # 2018-09-13 16:02
I am pro-choice, even for late-term abortions, but I find articles like this that try to re-define what pro-life advocates mean when they use terms like "abortion-induc ing drugs" or "partial birth abortions" to be disingenuous and misleading.

Since pro-lifers often believe that life begins at conception (that is, as soon as a sperm cell impregnates an egg cell), they view morning-after or Plan B drugs as "abortion-induc ing drugs." Objecting to this term implies that there is something morally wrong about abortion and pro-life advocates should not be objecting to the term since we believe that there is nothing morally wrong about abortions.

Similarly, pro-life advocates use the term "partial birth abortions" to refer to late term abortions when the aborted fetus would have been viable and lived had the mother/doctor chosen to save the life of the baby. In these cases, we should affirm the right of the mother to get an abortion, no matter how late term it might be, but require the doctor to save the life of the baby.

We need to stop making villains of those who disagree with us and see if we can find reasonable solutions that do not compromise the choices of women.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
+10 # Citizen7 2018-09-13 16:41
Has anyone gotten Kavanaugh to say anything on the record about his attitude toward environmental issues (we can imagine it!)? And--this is a general-purpose rhetorical question, but it needs to be posed--when are we going to finally change the conversation away from the supposed evils of abortion and into a discussion about the problems of overpopulation? Time to get over making that a dirty word on the "left"!
+6 # lfeuille 2018-09-13 17:33
The vote has been postponed. Was it the gambling that did it?

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