I first posted this on Quora in 2017, when we lived in a very different world. Now that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has explicitly said that Griswold v Connecticut should be overturned on the same grounds the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, and Mississippi governor Tate Reeves (R) has said he won’t rule out a state ban on contraception, and Trump-backed candidates in Michigan and Ohio have called for a Federal law banning contraception, I thought this deserved a repost.
I keep hearing the argument that Griswold is safe because the overwhelming majority of people in the US still think contraception should be legal. Well, that was also true of abortion before Ronald Reagan. People forget how a few decades of persistent, well-funded managing can shift the Overton window.
So let’s take a look at the “pro-life” groups in the United States and see what they say about contraception, shall we?
The largest pro-life group in the US is the Roman Catholic Church, which has no fewer than seven sub-groups within its overall organization dedicated to opposing abortion. The Catholic Church opposes all forms of contraception except the rhythm method across the board.
The second-largest group is National Right to Life. It takes no formal stand on contraception, a policy which it reiterates many times. However, it has consistently lobbied against bills in Congress that make access to contraception easier, as well as against bills that would provide education about contraception both domestically and abroad.
The American Life League opposes contraception. They repeat the false claim many times on their Web site that birth control pills work by inducing abortion. They also claim that other forms of contraception increase abortion, showing statistics that abortion and contraception use in the US increased at about the same time (which is like saying ice cream causes sunburns; prior to Roe v Wade, most places in the US also outlawed contraception). They seek to overturn Roe v Wade and also ban contraception.
The Susan B. Anthony List opposes contraception across the board. The group’s president says, “the bottom line is that to lose the connection between sex and having children leads to problems.”
Americans United for Life, the oldest pro-life organization in the US, opposes all forms of hormonal birth control and IUDs, repeating the false claim that they work by inducing abortion. They oppose measures to teach about contraception, domestically or internationally. They support laws forbidding a company from firing a pharmacist who refuses to sell contraception. They do not have a stated policy on condoms, but they endorse only abstinence-based sex ed and oppose teaching about condoms.
Live Action opposes contraception. They claim that hormonal birth control induces abortion. They also claim that condoms do not work, that statistics showing 97% efficiency of condoms are lies promoted by Planned Parenthood and the “abortion industry,” and that making condoms readily available increases teen pregnancy.
The Family Research Council opposes hormonal contraception and IUDs. They do not have a formal position on condoms, but their Web site does say “we do question the wisdom of making it available over the counter to young girls.” They support a system where hormonal contraception and IUDs are banned, and condoms and diaphragms are available only by prescription.
Focus on the Family opposes hormonal birth control, IUDs, and contraceptive implants. They are neutral on condoms and diaphragms within marriage but oppose making them available to unmarried people. They oppose sex outside marriage across the board.
The American Family Association opposes hormonal birth control and IUDs. They do not formally oppose condoms, but they do oppose advertising condoms, making condoms available for free, and any sex education that mentions condoms.
American Right to Life opposes all contraception. They use scare tactics claiming that hormonal birth control causes cancer and strokes. They support legislation banning hormonal birth control and restricting access to condoms and other barrier forms of contraception.
Campaign for Life in America has no stated policy on contraception.
The Center for Bioethical Reform, the anti-abortion group most famous for showing grisly pictures of dismembered fetuses at protests in front of clinics, opposes contraception. The group’s leader, Mark Harrington, compares condoms to “drugs, gangs, rapes, assaults, and murder” as proof that America is abandoning its moral heritage as a “Christian nation.” He says legal decisions overturning bans on contraception were done by “terrorists in black robes” with a “warped view” of the Constitution.
The Human Life Foundation opposes all forms of contraception except the rhythm method.
Operation Rescue opposes all forms of birth control and states that the only legitimate purpose of sex is procreation.
Choose Life opposes hormonal contraception, IUDs, and contraceptive implants. It endorses the rhythm method, condoms, diaphragms, and sterilization. It supports teaching of barrier methods of contraception.
Coalition for Life opposes contraception across the board. It claims that hormonal birth control and IUDs cause abortion. It states on its Web site that only the rhythm method for birth control should be used, and its Web site urges its members to “help end the ravages of contraception.” It supports legislation to ban all contraceptive methods.
The Right to Life Federation opposes all contraception. Its position is that “abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, and contraception are intimately connected” and that a person opposed to any one of those things must be morally compelled to oppose them all. It claims that use of contraception is statistically correlated with abortion, and supports an across-the-board legal ban on both abortion and contraception.
If you support any anti-contraception group financially, even if you do not oppose contraception yourself, this is the message you are funding.
Make no mistake: Griswold is next.