Trump Campaign Denies Plans to Restrict Access to Contraceptives

The comments in question were from an interview former President Donald Trump gave to KDKA-TV, a local CBS affiliate in Pittsburgh.
Trump Campaign Denies Plans to Restrict Access to Contraceptives
Former President and 2024 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Wildwood, N.J., on May 11, 2024. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)
Tom Ozimek
5/21/2024
Updated:
5/21/2024
0:00

The Trump presidential campaign clarified Tuesday that former President Donald Trump has never advocated for any restrictions on contraceptives and was in fact referring to the abortion pill mifepristone when teasing the imminent rollout of a “very comprehensive” policy proposal when asked on a Pittsburgh television station about whether he has any plans to restrict access to birth control.

President Trump’s comments sparked some controversy online, with President Joe Biden’s campaign running an attack ad suggesting the former president is considering restricting access to contraception, while Virginia Democrats alleged in a post on X that “Trump supports restrictions to contraception” that would embolden his “MAGA allies” such as Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
Mr. Youngkin recently vetoed a bill that would have further reduced barriers to contraception access in Virginia.
However, a Trump campaign official told The Epoch Times that, much like President Trump did during a recent interview with Time magazine, the former president was referring to a policy on mifepristone, a drug that is used to induce chemical abortion, when responding to a question about contraception in an appearance on a local Pittsburgh television station on May 21.
Later, President Trump took to social media to clarify that he would never advocate imposing restrictions on birth control or other contraceptives, calling such claims a “Democrat fabricated lie.”

Statements in Question

During the interview, the TV host asked President Trump: “Do you support any restrictions on a person’s right to contraception?”

The former president replied: “We’re looking at that and I’m going to have a policy on that very shortly and I think it’s something you'll find interesting.”

“It’s another issue that’s very interesting but you will find it, I think, very smart. I think it’s a smart decision. But we'll be releasing it very soon,” he added.

Later in the interview, President Trump suggested that the policy could amount to allowing states to adopt their own policies in this regard.

“Things really do have a lot to do with the states and some states are going to have different policies than others,” he said.

The Trump campaign official said that the former president’s remarks about rolling out a policy proposal in the very near future refers to the abortion pill, dovetailing with his earlier remarks in the Time magazine interview, in which he was asked about his views on restricting mifepristone, which he called a “very important issue” and that a related policy statement would be likely within about two weeks.

President Trump has never advocated for restrictions on contraception, the campaign official clarified to The Epoch Times.

In his post on Truth Social denying plans to push for birth control restrictions, the former president said explicitly that neither he nor the Republican Party support a national ban on birth control.

Virginia Democrats, by contrast, insist that restrictions on contraception are in the pipeline.

“By laying the groundwork for the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Trump has emboldened his MAGA allies across the country, and in the last two years, we continue to hear MAGA politicians say quite explicitly that contraception should be next,” Rep. Jennifer McClellan (D-Va.) said in a statement.

Ms. McClellan added that she is a strong advocate for federal laws that would codify and strengthen the right to contraception while calling on voters to reelect President Biden in November “to make it a reality.”

Part of the confusion on the part of those who insist contraceptives are in Republican crosshairs may rest in the fact that emergency contraceptive pills (commonly known as the morning after pill or Plan B) are sometimes viewed on par with medication abortion (mifepristone and misoprostol).

Background

The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in 2022 and allow states to decide their own abortion policies has raised questions—especially among advocates for abortion access—about whether contraception could be next.

The Supreme Court’s 1965 ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut held that there was a right to sexual privacy implied in the 14th Amendment that protected the use of contraception by married couples, a right that was later used to extend contraception rights to unmarried women and, later, to enshrine the national right to abortion with Roe v. Wade in 1973.

However, when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022 in its Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health ruling, the high court’s majority opinion (authored by Justice Samuel Alito) challenged the privacy right in Griswold by writing that the only legitimate implied rights—ones that are not stated explicitly in the Constitution—are those “deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and tradition” and “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty,” which excludes the right to abortion.

Following the Dobbs ruling, which touched off speculation about whether its logic could be extended to overturning Griswold’s right to contraception, a number of states have made abortion illegal.

Even though the Supreme Court’s majority opinion stated that the Dobbs decision does not “cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion,” Justice Clarence Thomas said in a concurring opinion that he believes that “in future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold.”

This has led to speculation that contraception might end up on the legal chopping block at some point, with Democrats seeking to highlight this as a real possibility as the presidential campaign heats up and as past polling has indicated that the majority of Americans support legal access to common forms of contraception.

Virginia Bills

In Virginia, the governor recently vetoed two bills on contraception. One would have required insurers to cover contraceptive drugs under health insurance plans that include coverage for prescription drugs on an outpatient basis. The other aimed to establish a legal recourse against those who violate the right to access contraceptives.

In issuing his vetoes, Mr. Youngkin said that he supports access to contraception but insisted that any contraception-related changes to the law should be paired with “robust conscience clause protections” for health providers who object on religious or moral grounds.

“Let me be crystal clear: I support access to contraception,” Mr. Youngkin said in a statement. “However, we cannot trample on the religious freedoms of Virginians.”

In this regard, the governor’s thinking appears to be aligned with a policy adopted during President Trump’s first year in office, during which federal agencies weakened the Obama-era contraceptive mandate and allowed employers to deny birth control coverage to employees on grounds of religious or moral objection.

In his second veto, Mr. Youngkin said that the bill would have created an “overly broad” cause of legal action against parents and medical professionals.

This article has been updated with remarks posted on Truth Social by President Trump.
Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.
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