Just like the sun rose again this morning, Ted Cruz is lying on the campaign trail. Fresh off blaming the Planned Parenthood shooting on a "transgendered leftist activist," Cruz is mocking the notion that conservatives want to ban contraceptives. Now, for all the female readers out there, before you read any further you must understand the following: Contraceptives = condoms (not birth control pills, or morning-after pills or IUDs, etc.). Cuz the only way to avert unwanted pregnancies in the land of Ted Cruz is by a means of contraception that men control.
Here's Cruz campaigning in Iowa:
"I have been a conservative my entire life. I have never met anybody—any conservative who wants to ban contraceptives. [...] When the ‘war on women’ came up, the Republicans would curl up in a ball and say ‘don’t hurt me.’ Jiminy cricket! This is a made up, nonsense example. Last I checked, we don’t have a rubber shortage in America. Look, when I was in college, we had a machine in the bathroom. You put 50 cents in and voila! So yes, anyone who wants contraceptives can access them but it's an utterly made-up nonsense issue.”
Right, conservatives have no interest in banning “contraceptives.”
Except that House Republicans—whom I presume Cruz would categorize as "conservative"—have spent the past six months (not to mention several decades) trying to find a way and a reason to defund Planned Parenthood. Meanwhile 80 percent of people who use PP services do so to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Half of Planned Parenthood clients use Medicaid to access its services, the exact funding that state GOP lawmakers—whom I presume Cruz would categorize as "conservative"—are aiming to choke off since congressional Republicans have failed to find a way to defund the organization.
Amid a lack of action in Congress, foes of Planned Parenthood are taking their fight to the states, hoping to starve the family planning services provider into financial ruin and forcing it to shut down clinics.
Hmm, that seems like it might make contraception hard to get—at least for women who use Medicaid to get it through Planned Parenthood clinics.
Take Colorado, for example, where Republicans—whom I presume Cruz would categorize as "conservative"—voted to defund a program that reduced teen births by 40 percent (not to mention reducing teen abortions by 35 percent in about the same stretch of time) by offering birth control to low-income women. Why? Because they're opposed to use of IUDs, a form of birth control Cruz apparently hasn't heard of.
Or what about in the courts—where religious conservatives are continually dreaming up new ways to get exempted from having to cover contraception through their company insurance plans? Perhaps Cruz has missed a couple years of headlines about that sleeper Hobby Lobby case and all the companies that have been seeking religious exemptions from insuring birth control for their employees.
Are we to assume that Ted Cruz just doesn't read? That seems at once plausible and a bit ludicrous.
What this really comes down, I think, is a failure to communicate with specificity. Here's what Cruz likely meant to say:
"I have never met any conservative who wants to ban forms of contraception that are widely available to men and controlled by men, as long as the purchaser has the means to entirely self-fund that purchase."
On the other hand, if it’s a form contraception that women use or women primarily control or that is made possible through government funding or insurance coverage—then yeah, conservatives totally want to ban that.