Kentucky Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Daniel Cameron (R) signed an endorsement questionnaire earlier this year which said that multiple types of birth control, including the pill, cause abortions. Independent journalist Jessica Valenti flagged that this information was at the bottom of an NBC News story about Cameron’s stances on health insurance. Cameron, who is staunchly anti-abortion, is running against pro-choice Gov. Andy Beshear (D) in the off-year election this November.
Northern Kentucky Right to Life sent out an endorsement questionnaire ahead of the Republican primary in May, which isn’t surprising on its own. The group asked candidates if they would support efforts to codify fetal personhood from fertilization (read: a total abortion ban), make it a criminal offense to perform abortions, prohibit the use of federal, state, and local funds for abortions, and to repeal the Affordable Care Act requirement that birth control—which it called “artificial contraception”—be covered by insurance. Cameron answered yes to all 11 questions. (Again, not completely surprising on its own.)
But a close read of the wording shows a big escalation in anti-abortion rhetoric. Here is the question about funding for abortion, which defines abortion as not only including medication abortion, but also “the so-called ‘morning after pill,’ Norplant, Depo Provera, or the so-called ‘standard birth control pill.’”
8. Will you actively support (and if in a position to do so, sponsor and vote for) legislation which prohibits all use of local, state, federal, and/or Medicare or Medicaid funds for abortion (including chemical abortions, such as RU-486, or the so-called “morning after pill,” Norplant, Depo Provera, or the so-called “standard birth control pill”)?
Anti-abortion activists have long falsely argued that emergency contraception like Plan B and copper IUDs cause abortions when they do not. But now this group is claiming (without any evidence) that the daily birth control pill, the implant, and the shot are also abortifacients. It’s a worrying creep of what’s considered an abortion and what’s not.
Valenti wrote that “Cameron believes hormonal birth control is abortion. Or at least, he’s agreed to treat it as such.” And what would it mean to treat birth control as abortion? Let’s take a look at question two:
2. Will you actively support (and if in a position to do so, sponsor and vote for) legislation which will make it a criminal offense to perform, to assist with, or to pay for an abortion on another (such legislation would not prohibit those necessary medical procedures required to prevent the death of the mother who is suffering from a physical pathology such as ectopic pregnancy or cancerous uterus)?
Cameron responded yes, he would support legislation to criminalize abortion, then also agreed that several methods of birth control are forms of abortion. This is scary shit. Could Kentucky Republicans actually pass a bill banning the use of birth control in the state? I don’t know. But Cameron’s affirmative responses here do suggest that if such a bill landed on his desk, he’d sign it.