Chuck Grassley: Accidental abortion rights advocate

The Iowa senator says the government "doing things to your body" without permission violates "right to privacy"

By Katie McDonough

Published February 21, 2013 6:12PM (EST)

Twitter haiku enthusiast Sen. Chuck Grassley has a 100 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee and a subzero ranking from NARAL.

So what's he doing going on about a constitutional right to privacy -- the very backbone of Roe v. Wade?

As Kalli Joy Gray reported, Grassley was recently asked by a constituent about the government's "plan" to implant microchips in preschoolers starting in 2013. A rather bored looking Grassley replied:

No. First of all, nothing can be done to your body without your permission. It’d be a violation of the constitutional right to privacy if that were to happen.

First, let's address the semantic point that, in a country without legal abortion, forced pregnancy would definitely be something "done to your body without your permission," thankyouverymuch.

Now, onto the small matter of a constitutional right to privacy. While not explicitly stated in the Constitution, Roe concluded that a right to privacy is one of the liberties protected under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. But anti-choice types like Justice Antonin Scalia believe that “there’s no right to privacy in the Constitution -- no generalized right to privacy," which means no essential right for women to control their own fertility and reproduction.

Except, now maybe Chuck Grassley thinks there is? Or maybe he just believes there is a right to privacy when it involves hypothetical microchips in toddlers?

Maybe he'll tweet a clarification.


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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Abortion Chuck Grassley Contraception Reproductive Justice Reproductive Rights Roe V. Wade Video