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Fact Check-Sen. Marsha Blackburn did not call to limit contraception only to married couples

Users online have claimed without evidence that Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn only supports contraception for married couples. The claim likely misconstrues the senator’s comments in March 2022 where she called a 1965 Supreme Court ruling that allowed the right to marital privacy with regards to using birth control “constitutionally unsound.”

One user said on Twitter: “Question to Marsha Blackburn. Since you will only allow MARRIED couples to use contraception, Will the married man be able to use it with his mistress? Who will police that? Important Question” ( here ).

Another used said: “Marsha Blackburn, US Senator, has proposed a plan wherein birth control should only be legal for married couples” ( here ). The tweet gathered more than 19,000 likes and greater than 9,000 shares at the time of writing.

Archived versions of both tweets can be seen ( archive.ph/wip/1C8CE ) and ( archive.ph/wip/T1Mtr ).

Other examples of the claim shared online can be viewed ( here ), ( here ) and ( here ).

Reuters found no evidence to date of Sen. Blackburn having made public comments explicitly calling for contraception to be only made available for married couples.

When approached for comment, the senator’s spokesperson forwarded a debunk of the claim by CNN reporter Daniel Dale ( here ). Dale tweeted, “[Blackburn] didn’t say birth control should only be for married couples. Rather, she criticized, as “constitutionally unsound,” the 1965 Griswold decision that ensured married couples’ access to birth control.”

The senator made comments in March 2022 referring to a landmark ruling on contraception - Griswold vs. Connecticut, 1965.

The Griswold vs. Connecticut ruling is viewable in full ( tmsnrt.rs/3suZOwN ).

The 1965 ruling allowed married couples to have the right to marital privacy to use birth control, which invalidated an old Connecticut law that banned contraceptive use ( here ).

Ahead of the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, Sen. Blackburn released a video to her social media channels and website where she said: “Constitutionally unsound rulings like Griswold vs. Connecticut, Kelo v. the city of New London, and NFIB vs. Sebelius confused Tennesseans and left Congress wondering who gave the court permission to bypass our system of checks and balances. It is the 11th hour and Judge Jackson's stance on the Constitution remains a secret” ( here ), ( here ).

Media coverage of the senators' comments at the time can be viewed ( here ), ( here ).

Although the senator said that the ruling was “constitutionally unsound,” the senator did not state which element of the ruling she views as such, nor did she call for contraception to be explicitly limited to those in married relationships.

Meanwhile, Google advanced search did not reveal any news articles reporting that Blackburn expressed support for limiting contraception to only married couples ( archive.ph/wip/y28Pk ).

Similarly, a Twitter advanced search did not reveal any tweet published via the senator’s Twitter account (@MarshaBlackburn) calling for contraception to be only available to married couples ( archive.ph/32f5M ).

VERDICT

Missing context. There is no evidence that Republican Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn is aiming to limit contraception to only married couples. Claims circulating online likely stem from a comment the senator made about a 1965 supreme court ruling.

Correction May 11, 2022: An earlier version of this article stated “Sen. Jackson” in paragraph 11. Correcting this to “Sen. Blackburn.”

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.

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