At a tailgate for the University of Georgia College Republicans last week, a student asked Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) whether he could ban the Plan B morning-after pill, a contraceptive, in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned.
“You could take up pretty much anything, but you got to be in the legislative session to do that,” Kemp responded in an audio recording provided to Heartland Signal.
“It just depends on where the legislators are,” he added. Despite Georgia having two Democratic senators, Republicans currently control the offices of governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and both chambers of the state legislature.
“But you could do it?” asked the student.
“I think, I’d have to check and see, because there are a lot of legalities,” Kemp said.
A near-total abortion ban signed by Kemp went into effect in Georgia in July, banning abortion at six weeks and encouraging patients to report their abortion care providers to police. And while he didn’t give a full-throated endorsement to the idea of banning Plan B at the tailgate, he certainly suggested that he wouldn’t be opposed to signing any such bill that came his way.
Kemp is not the first politician to signal an openness to banning emergency contraception post-Roe: Republican state Rep. Brent Crane, Assistant Majority Leader for Idaho’s House of Representatives, essentially said the same thing in May. And in June, a hospital system operating 16 facilities in both Kansas and Missouri briefly stopped providing pregnant victims of rape and incest with emergency contraception out of fear that the morning-after pill violates the states’ abortion bans. Saint Lukes Health System reversed the policy after a public backlash.
Of course, the morning-after pill is not the same as an abortion pill: It works by preventing pregnancy. But the anti-abortion movement has long tried to portray it as an “abortifacient,” thus putting it in the crosshairs of Republican politicians emboldened by the recent Supreme Court decision ending abortion rights.
Some of these politicians, including Kemp, don’t even seem to have a grasp on what Plan B is—which is exactly why they shouldn’t involve themselves in making reproductive rights policy at all.