During a recent Q & A session in Iowa, Ted Cruz was confronted with a common question. Why do Republicans want to stop making “contraception available to women who want to control their own bodies?” Cruz retorted that he had never met any conservative who wants to ban contraceptives, and,
it’s a great example when the war on women came up, Republicans would curl up in a ball, they’d say, ‘Don’t hurt me.’ Jiminy Cricket!” Last I checked we don’t have a rubber shortage in America.
One hopes a consensus can soon be reached on the unconscionable use of “Jiminy Cricket” in political rhetoric, but even that sin is far less offensive than the perverse logic it takes for Democrats to frequently claim that the GOP wants to “ban” birth control.
It’s reminiscent of the rationale that allows reporters and politicians (including some Republicans) to talk about the prospective “cost” of tax cuts, as if there’s some divine or constitutional decree that states ownership of your money is by default property of the state and anything you don’t pay “costs” the government something.
Here’s Slate contending that “Ted Cruz loves condoms but wants to keep others from getting birth control,” which is exceptionally misleading, but at least in the realm of possibility. Perhaps, secretly, Cruz, a Southern Baptist, as Christina Cauterucci helpfully points out, is interested in making birth control more difficult to obtain for women (because men don’t use condoms, I guess?). You know, just like Catholics, who, as Cauterucci also helpfully points out, forbid condoms.
What Slate either doesn’t know or isn’t willing to concede is that religious Americans might be capable of holding personal beliefs regarding the use of contraception while also having no desire to coerce others to adhere to their worldview using government force. Though, I imagine, the people who want to compel the Little Sisters of the Poor to pay for birth control probably wrestle with this fact.
Unlike Slate, Hillary Clinton just directly accused Cruz of having attempted to ban contraception and offered five make-believe instances (with screengrabs, rather than actual hyperlinks to the alleged sources of proof, including a citation to Salon, naturally) that completely fail to support her proposition.
Ted Cruz says no one is trying to ban contraception. Here are five times he tried to do *exactly* that: https://t.co/qrRW0tGtFD
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) December 2, 2015
1. The time he supported a so-called personhood amendment, which could criminalize abortion and could ban some forms of birth control.
Most personhood amendments don’t ban any contraception, if we define contraception as a method or device that is used to prevent conception rather that one used to end the life of a conceived child. If you think abortion is a form of contraception, even though by definition the procedure cannot exist until well after a baby has been conceived, well, then yes, a personhood amendment might do that. But it certainly doesn’t ban condoms or the birth control pill.
2. The time he was willing to shut down the government to cut funding from Planned Parenthood.
Cutting funding for Planned Parenthood might save lives, sure, and it might even make it more difficult to obtain free condoms. What it wouldn’t do is “ban” anything. Not only would it not outlaw birth control—which could be offered by other facilities and be readily available for purchase at any drug store in the country—it would not ban abortion, either.
3. The time he called for the Supreme Court to turn women’s personal health decisions over to their employers by striking down the Obamacare birth control co-pay provision.
At no point did Ted Cruz advocate for the ability of employers to ban their employees from using birth control. What Cruz and many other religious and non-religious conservatives argued was that the government should not be allowed to force business owners to pay for abortifacients for their employees. Cruz and others opposed the Obama administration’s plans to force employers to pay for contraception for their employees because 1) it’s an inexpensive discretionary purchase, not a medical necessity, that can be made virtually anywhere in the country regardless of whether or not you have employer-provided health care coverage, and 2) it often conflicts with the deeply held religious views of those being forced to pay for it. And also because maybe you should just pay for your own condoms instead of demanding that American taxpayers subsidize your completely legal and uninhibited amorous activities.
4. The time he tried to get rid of a law that made it so women couldn’t be fired for their personal reproductive decisions (including birth control).
This deliberately conflates two different pieces of legislation. Cruz wanted assurances that employers could not be forced to provide insurance coverage for contraception and abortions on religious grounds. Neither of the bills would have banned abortion or birth control.
5. And the time he used a medically and scientifically incorrect argument to try to ban emergency contraception.
This is the same as claim #1. You can read the three-paragraph Salon piece this contention is based on, but it has nothing to do with banning condoms.
All of this is very obvious. So I look forward to the Politifact and Washington Post fact-checkers treating these lies as they might any common Trump falsehood. But if others don’t push back against these assaults on logic, the illusory formulation of “ban” will soon be a mainstay in the media’s lingo for 2016 and the pretend War on Women will go on unabated.