Court Battles

Clinton knocks Kavanaugh for 'abortion-inducing drugs' remark

Hillary Clinton tore into Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, on Wednesday for a comment he made about "abortion-inducing drugs," offering a criticism previously made by other Democrats that has been given a rebuke by fact-checkers.

In a series of tweets, Clinton claimed the comment shows Kavanaugh's extremist ideology.

"Kavanaugh didn't use that term because he misunderstands the basic science of birth control - the fact that birth control prevents fertilization of eggs in the first place. He used that term because it's a dog whistle to the extreme right," the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee tweeted.

Kavanaugh's remark came last week when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) asked him to explain the Priests for Life v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services case and his dissent from the D.C Circuit's decision not to rehear a challenge religious employers brought against the Affordable Care Act's contraception coverage requirement.

Kavanaugh explained Priests for Life was a group that was being forced to provide certain kinds of health coverage over their religious objection to their employees. Under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, he said the question was whether this represented a substantial burden on their religious exercise.

"And it seemed quite clearly to me it was," Kavanaugh said. "It was a technical matter of filling out a form. In that case 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, objected to."

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) pounced on the remark with a tweet, making the same argument Clinton made on Wednesday.

She was later criticized for taking Kavanaugh's comments out of context. Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler awarded Harris four Pinocchios for not making it clear Kavanaugh was describing the views of the plaintiffs in the case, not his own.

But on Wednesday, Clinton doubled down on Harris's initial tweet.

"When Kavanaugh called birth control 'abortion-inducing drugs,' he made it clear that safe and legal abortion isn't the only fundamental reproductive right at grave risk if he is confirmed. Access to birth control is, too," she tweeted.

"Imagine an America in which women are barred from getting IUDs or birth control pills, and doctors are criminalized for prescribing them," she added. "It's an America in which women would be punished for insisting on being full and equal partners in society."

She noted that Kavanaugh said he was not aware of any laws that give the government the power to make decisions about the male body when he was questioned by Harris at his confirmation hearing last week.

"Because there are none," Clinton tweeted.

Don Stewart, the spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and others jumped on Clinton for the tweets.

"Kids, this is why you don't use scheduled tweets. Sometimes they come out long after every fact checker in town has laughed the talking point out of town," he said.

McConnell said Tuesday that he expects Kavanaugh's nomination will get a final vote the last week in September.

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