Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp Not NOT Saying He'll Ban Plan B Morning-After Birth Control
Last week, during a tailgate for the University of Georgia College Republicans, a (male, obviously) student asked GOP Gov. Brian Kemp if he could ban the Plan B morning-after pill in our brave new post-Dobbs world. Plan B is an emergency contraceptive that you take up to five days after unprotected sex in order to prevent pregnancy. The emphasis here is on "prevent," as Plan B only "takes a life" if, as Nancy Pelosi said, you believe "life begins with the candlelight dinner."
Rather than giving likely Charlie Kirk clone a definitive answer, Kemp demurred and said simply, “You could take up pretty much anything, but you got to be in the legislative session to do that ... I think, I’d have to check and see because there are a lot of legalities.”
Yep, there sure are "a lot of legalities" involved with passing laws. Fortunately for Kemp, Herschel Walker is also running for office, so the governor sounds downright eloquent in comparison.
Back in the day, whenever a politician told a constituent they were open to a specific policy measure, it was the political equivalent to telling your kid “we’ll see” when they ask for a dog. But today's Republicans are more willing to deliver for their extremist base. No one likes having their house catch on fire.
In a sinister sequel hook to Dobbs, Clarence Thomas argued that his unaccountable radical right-wing Supreme Court should "reconsider" the current constitutional right to marriage and birth control access. There was no “we’ll see” dodge here. Thomas was rolling out the red carpet to the red MAGA hats. Just send him the right case and he'll put the queers and ladies in their place.
All but 10 House Republicans voted against the Right to Contraception Act, and Senate Republicans blocked the bill outright. Whatever they might say about leaving issues up to the states is garbage. Republicans have no principles other than the exercise of their own power. If they actually support something, they would make it law, no questions asked. This isn’t about denying Democrats a win, either. There’s no evidence that the anti-American domestic insurgency posing as political party will stop with abortion. Rolling back the feminist revolution is key to their Gilead ambitions.
So, we won't be surprised if next year, Georgia Republicans pass a Griswold-bucking birth control ban and Kemp makes a press event out of signing it into law, just like he did with the Jim Crow 2.0 voter suppression bill.
The best way to ensure that Georgians maintain reliable access to birth control is electing Stacey Abrams as governor. How’s that working out so far? A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows Kemp with 50 percent of the vote and Abrams close behind at 48 percent. This is within the 2.7 percent margin of error, so the race is considered too close to call.
Kemp led every poll this year until last week's Echelon Insights survey had Abrams up one point over the governor, 48 to 47 percent. The same poll had Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock stomping Republican challenger Herschel Walker 50 to 40 percent. Those results are justified in every way, but I fear it's an outlier. With her stellar numbers among Black voters, Abrams needs just 29 percent of the white vote to defeat Kemp. That's still an electoral Everest.
Abrams is a staunch defender of reproductive rights. When the Dobbs draft opinion leaked in May, she shifted her own considerable fundraising engine toward Georgia abortion rights groups. Abrams has Kemp's number. She's said, "We live under a governor that has stripped us of our right to choose before most women know they're pregnant, and he has said that he is not done yet."
\u201cIt took a man to break America\u2019s promise. It\u2019s going to take a woman to make it right.\u201d— Stacey Abrams (@Stacey Abrams) 1663372259
Kemp bragged in 2019 about signing the "toughest abortion ban in the country," which he rushed to reinstate just hours after Roe v. Wade was overturned. He'll continue pushing restrictions on women's health, but Georgians can stop him in 49 days.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."