Birth Control Under Siege: The New Frontier for Anti-Abortion Activists

Here’s a scenario that was forewarned for years: when Roe v. Wade got overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2022, advocates voiced their concerns that the next targets would be contraception and the landmark Griswold v. Connecticut ruling. It turns out, these concerns weren’t unfounded. Justice Clarence Thomas promptly suggested that the Supreme Court should “reconsider” Griswold, adding another potential threat to the right to privacy.

Justice Thomas, a Catholic, is not a Protestant evangelical, but like his peers, Justice Samuel Alito and the late Justice Antonin Scalia, he has been a consistent critic of Roe and similar rulings defending the right to privacy.

To refresh your memory, the Griswold ruling, handed down by the Warren Court in 1965, invalidated a Connecticut ban on contraception for married couples and, by association, similar laws across other states. This made contraception access a national right for married couples, a right that was extended to unmarried couples in the 1972 Eisenstadt v. Baird ruling.

According to a recent report, the narrative around reproductive health care has become more complex and worrying. Anti-abortion activists, including groups like Students For Life, are now going after contraception.

What we’re seeing is a larger ambition within the anti-abortion movement. Their goal isn’t merely overturning Roe v. Wade, but to restrict access to reproductive health services even in states where abortion remains legal. Interestingly, the latest on their radar is hormonal birth control, a health necessity millions rely on daily.

It may seem contradictory at first glance: if a group opposes abortion, why target contraception, which significantly reduces the likelihood of unwanted pregnancies? Yet, organizations like Students For Life view contraceptives such as IUDs, emergency contraception, and even the pill as potential causes of abortion.

In a 2017 interview, Kristian Hawkins, the President of Students For Life, made a shocking revelation. She expressed support for outlawing IUDs and birth control pills along with abortion. Fast-forward to more recent times, the group has doubled down on its claims that birth control is harmful and can cause abortions through its social media channels.

What we’re witnessing is a challenge not only to a woman’s right to choose but to broader reproductive healthcare. The fight for abortion rights was always about more than just one procedure. It’s a fight for autonomy, personal freedom, and for comprehensive reproductive healthcare. Now more than ever, it’s essential that we stay informed and ready to defend these rights in the face of such coordinated attacks.