The Michigan GOP’s nominee for attorney general compared Plan B to fentanyl and said the morning after pill should be banned.
Matthew DePerno is a former Trump 2020 campaign lawyer who pushed a false conspiracy theory about voting machines being hacked and worked to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Michigan. After former President Donald Trump endorsed DePerno, the lawyer was nominated by the Michigan GOP to be its candidate for the state’s top prosecutor; he also happens to currently be under investigation for election subversion.
Following the fall of Roe v. Wade, DePerno said this summer that if elected, he would “enforce” Michigan’s 1931 ban on abortion, which is currently the subject of a legal battle in state courts. (Michigan voters will also vote on whether to enshrine a constitutional right to abortion in November.)
But it appears DePerno wants to go even further than that.
When he was asked about the state’s abortion laws and whether Plan B can be banned in Michigan, DePerno responded, “What’s Plan B?” After he was informed that it’s the morning-after pill, DePerno said, “Gotta figure out how to ban the pill from the state,” according to audio published by the left-leaning website Heartland Signal on Tuesday. The audio was reportedly taken from a conversation at last month’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, and was provided by a “Democratic source,” the website said.
“You have to stop it at the border. It would be no different than fentanyl,” DePerno said. “The state has to ban it, and it should be banned. But it’s just an issue of how do you enforce it. How do you make sure that it stops? That’s your problem.”
For the record: Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid which was responsible for nearly two-thirds of the U.S.’s record overdose deaths from May 2020 to April 2021. Plan B is a safe, over-the-counter contraceptive used by millions of Americans.
DePerno said Tuesday that the recording was taken out of context, but that he would ban Plan B “after conception has occurred.”
“Life begins at conception, and is the plan B pill being used at that time as a contraceptive or is it being used to terminate a pregnancy?” DePerno told Michigan Live. “That’s the kind of conversation we were having. I think that’s a difficult question to answer.”
Just so we’re clear: Plan B cannot cause abortions.
In a series of tweets, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called DePerno’s comments “another extreme and backwards proposal from Republican officials that will strip women of their rights.”
"Make no mistake: these proposals from Republican officials expand far beyond a women’s right to choose; there are Republican officials that want to ban contraception,” Jean-Pierre tweeted.
DePerno had said previously that he didn’t support limiting access to contraception.
"I don't know anyone who takes that position at all," DePerno told the Detroit Free Press Monday, prior to Heartland Signal publishing the audio. “Certainly as a Catholic, I don't support that. And I know of no Catholic priest that would ever support the idea that the state should prohibit contraception, if that's what you're asking.”
DePerno’s campaign didn’t immediately respond to a message from VICE News seeking comment Wednesday. But on Tuesday, he repeatedly promoted an upcoming rally with Trump on Oct. 1.