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stated on May 8, 2022 in a tweet:
"GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn has proposed that birth control should only be legal for MARRIED couples.”
true false
Jeff Cercone
By Jeff Cercone May 9, 2022

No evidence Blackburn wants to limit birth control to married couples only

If Your Time is short

  • A 1965 Supreme Court ruling (Griswold v. Connecticut) overturned a state ban on contraception, citing a right to marital privacy. 

  • Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., criticized the decision as “constitutionally unsound,” though she did not explain how.

  • Blackburn did not propose limiting contraceptive use to married couples, nor did she otherwise make any proposals about birth control.

A leaked draft opinion by the Supreme Court that shows a majority of justices are prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade has some Americans worried that conservatives want to go even further.

Numerous social media users claimed that U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., proposed limiting contraceptive use only to married couples.

"Get this! GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn has proposed that birth control should only be legal for MARRIED couples," read one May 8 tweet from Jon Cooper, a Democrat activist with nearly 970,000 followers. 

This tweet and others misstated what the senator said on the subject of contraception.

Prior to the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, Blackburn released a video where she described the 1965 Supreme Court ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut — one that overturned a state ban on contraception — as "legally unsound."

"Constitutionally unsound rulings like Griswold v. 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," Blackburn said in the video, where she expressed her opposition to Jackson’s nomination.

The 7-2 court ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut said the Constitution’s First, Third, Fourth and Ninth Amendments created a right to privacy in a marriage, which the Connecticut law banning contraception violated. (The other cases Blackburn mentioned were about eminent domain and the Affordable Care Act.)

The Griswold ruling was later cited as precedent in Roe v. Wade in 1973.

Featured Fact-check

Blackburn did not expound in the video on why she thought the ruling was unsound, nor did she make any proposals about birth control. It’s not clear if Blackburn was opposed to overturning a ban on contraception or if she thought the court overstepped and created a right not in the Constitution.

We asked if she has ever proposed any laws or made any statements seeking to limit or ban the use of contraception for anyone, and Spencer Hurwitz, a spokesperson for Blackburn, referred us to a tweet by CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale, who said the senator’s position was being inaccurately described.

Hurwitz declined to answer questions about why Blackburn thought the Griswold ruling was unsound or whether she supports any bans on contraception.

Whether Senate Republicans will propose such action in the future is unclear. 

The National Republican Senatorial Committee issued talking points on May 3 about abortion for legislators and candidates and one reads, "Republicans DO NOT want to take away contraception."

Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves, meanwhile, didn’t rule out laws on contraception in an interview Sunday on CNN’s "State of the Union," but he said "that is not what we’re focused on at this time."

Our ruling

Social media users are claiming that Blackburn proposed limiting contraception use to married couples only.

Blackburn has not made any such proposal, either in the Senate or in public statements. She critiqued a Supreme Court ruling, Griswold v. Connecticut, that overturned the state’s ban on contraception on the basis of a married couple’s right to privacy. But Blackburn has not elaborated on her issue with the ruling, saying only that it was "constitutionally unsound."

Without proof that Blackburn wants to limit contraception use to married couples, we rate this claim False.

Our Sources

Email exchange with Spencer Hurwitz, spokesperson for Marsha Blackburn, May 9, 2022

Tennessean, "Sen. Marsha Blackburn criticizes 1965 Supreme Court ruling on birth control access," March 23, 2022

The Daily Beast, "This Biden Superfan Can’t Stop Tweeting Fake Garbage," Oct. 16, 2020

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, "When it Comes to the Constitution, Where Does Judge Jackson Stand?"

CT Insider, "What is Griswold v. Connecticut? Landmark case draws criticism from Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn," March 23, 2022

Cornell Law School, "Griswold v. Connecticut"

Cornell Law School, "Roe v. Wade"

Oyez, "Griswold v. Connecticut"

Oyez, "National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius"

Oyez, "Kelo v. New London"

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More by Jeff Cercone

No evidence Blackburn wants to limit birth control to married couples only

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