Scott Hasse/ZUMA Press Wire
Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.On Tuesday, the progressive news site Heartland Signal posted audio of Michigan attorney general candidate Matt DePerno stating that Plan B “should be banned” in the state.
CAUGHT ON TAPE: GOP Michigan attorney general nominee Matt DePerno says Plan B should be banned.
“You have to stop it at the border. It would be no different than fentanyl.” pic.twitter.com/JbqFD4d5I9
— Heartland Signal (@HeartlandSignal) September 20, 2022
DePerno, a Trump loyalist who rose from obscurity by flogging conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, is challenging Democratic incumbent Dana Nessel in a state where reproductive rights are literally on the ballot. After some legal wrangling, residents will vote on a proposed constitutional amendment to “establish a new individual right to reproductive freedom” in the state. The Republican nominee for governor, Tudor Dixon, opposes abortion, with exceptions only if the life of the mother is at stake; in August, she told a reporter that carrying a pregnancy to term was “healing” for rape victims.
According to Heartland Signal, DePerno was roped into a secretly recorded conversation with a Democratic activist while at a conservative conference in Texas last month. They spoke briefly about the state’s abortion laws, before the activist asked about banning the emergency contraception medication known as Plan B. At that point, DePerno had a surprising question for the person he was talking to: “What’s Plan B?”
Upon learning that “Plan B” was a name for the morning-after pill, DePerno quickly assented. Yes, he would support banning it. But it wouldn’t be as simple as signing a piece of paper; the government would have to show initiative. “You gotta figure out how you ban the pill from the state,” he said, adding that “you have to stop it at the border; it’d be no different than like fentanyl…And it should be banned.”
There you have it: The man who wants to be the chief law enforcement officer for 10 million people thinks Plan B should be treated like fentanyl. It is not necessarily surprising, at this point, that a Republican seeking a powerful office has not really taken the time to educate himself about the extremely famous thing that he explicitly wants to ban. But it’s always striking to see such blind confidence in action. And it’s not the first time we’ve seen something like this in the Michigan attorney general race.
At a debate in February before the primary, the three Republican candidates, including DePerno, were asked if they believed the landmark Supreme Court ruling protecting adults’ right to contraception, Griswold v. Connecticut, should be overturned. Two of the candidates—a former state speaker of the house, and a sitting state representative—said that they didn’t know what Griswold was, but opposed the ruling after it was explained to them. DePerno (who answered last) likewise said that the decision about whether to ban the sale of contraception should be left up to the states.