Should States Be Allowed To Put Birth Control Users In Prison? Michigan AG Hopefuls Think So!

Should States Be Allowed To Put Birth Control Users In Prison? Michigan AG Hopefuls Think So!
File:Birth Control Pills.png - Wikipedia

What do all three Republicans vying to be Michigan's attorney general have in common? Well, they are all men, for one thing. For another, it would be just fine by them if states wanted to prosecute married couples for using birth control.

During the Friday night Republican primary debate, Tom Leonard, Matthew Deperno and Ryan Berman were asked “How do each of you stand on Griswold v. Connecticut?”

Griswold v. Connecticut, as we should all know, was the Supreme Court decision that found that the United States Constitution protects the right of married couples to buy and use contraception, and that there was a right to "marital privacy." At the time, the state of Connecticut was one of two states that still had a Comstock Law on the books — the other was Massachusetts — prohibiting anyone from buying or using any form of contraception, including married couples in the privacy of their own bedroom. Violating this law could mean a fine or serving up to a year in prison.

That decision was what led to the rulings in Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, and a host of other abortion and birth control rulings over the years. It's also what led to Lawrence v. Texas, the case that invalidated sodomy laws. Basically any ruling about how the government can't get up in your sexual business stems from Griswold.

While none of them initially even knew what Griswold was about, these brilliant legal minds all came to the conclusion that the extremely well-known case was decided incorrectly and that states should definitely be able to throw people in prison for possession of an IUD.

Tom Leonard said: “This case, much like Roe v. Wade, I believe was wrongly decided, because it was an issue that trampled states’ rights and it was an issue that should have been left up to the states.”

Ryan Berman said: “Yeah, you know what, I wasn’t familiar with Griswold v. Connecticut, but I’m an advanced legal researcher so I pulled it up real quick to look what it’s about. And it says the court ruled that the Constitution did in fact protect the right of marital privacy against state restrictions on contraception. Again, I would have to look more into it and the reasoning behind it, but I’m all about states’ rights and limiting federal judicial activism."

Matthew Deperno, who has Trump's endorsement, said: “Listen, all these cases that deal—Griswold, Roe v. Wade, Dobbs— these are all state right issues. I think that’s what we’re gonna see with the US Supreme Court. They’re gonna come down on the side that these liberty issues—number one, the wide expanse that was given on Roe v. Wade and this litany—are unworkable. The Supreme Court has to deal with that, has to decide, mark my words, that the privacy issue currently is unworkable. It’s going to be a state right issue on all of these things—as it should be!”

The "privacy issue" has been workable for decades. It works just fine. Clearly there are a lot of people who don't like it, who would very much like for the government to get all up in people's sexual business, but that doesn't mean it's not workable.

Current Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, who one of these fine fellas will be up against in the general election, responded on Twitter, calling the fact that all three men thought it would be great if states could put people in prison for using a condom "Terrifying." which it is.

Abortion opponents have long tried to frame their opposition as something to do with a great love of babies, but Griswold has always been endgame. We need to understand and be clear on the fact that these people are not just anti-abortion and they are still very, very mad about the sexual revolution. They do not like people having sex for pleasure, they do not like women having careers, they do not want it to be easy to get a divorce, they don't want gay people getting married and they want to take away the things that made that possible.

Here it is, from the good people of Pro-Life Wisconsin, on an invitation to their annual Griswold anniversary vigil:

The pill is deadly not only to babies but also to the morality of people and their understanding of the value of the human person. Easy access to birth control encourages riskier sexual behavior because of the blind belief that the contraceptive will protect against any unwanted outcomes, i.e. a child. When the contraceptive fails, abortion becomes the backup solution. The pill also plays a part in demeaning the human person as an object of pleasure while stripping the sexual union between a man and a woman of its inherent function of reproduction. This all promotes what we call the "contraceptive mentality".

The contraceptive mentality, for the record, is fantastic. Big fan of it, personally.

These men didn't even know what Griswold was and their immediate reaction was "Oh no, absolutely not, it is bad for states to not be allowed to throw people in prison for taking birth control." And they immediately tried to frame it as a state's rights issue, when in fact it is a human rights issue. Mark my words. The second they get rid of Roe, they are coming for Griswold. Then they're coming for Lawrence v. Texas and any other law preventing the government from legislating your sex life. And it will be the people who scream the loudest about their "freedoms" doing it.

[Mother Jones]

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse


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