“Now listen, I have been a conservative my entire life. I have never met anybody, any conservative who wants to ban contraceptives.”
That’s Texas Sen. Ted Cruz again, complaining about people who point out Republicans and other conservatives who want to make it harder for women to get access to birth control. But Sen. Cruz either doesn’t know what he’s talking about or is deliberately trying to mislead his audience. In fact, he wouldn’t have to look very far to find conservatives who want to get rid of birth control.
Four years ago, for example, Wayne Christian, then a Republican state representative from East Texas, proudly declared that he and his fellow conservative lawmakers at the Texas Capitol were engaged in a “war on birth control”:
“Of course it’s a war on birth control, abortion, everything — that’s what family planning is supposed to be about.”
Rick Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania and a fellow Republican candidate for president alongside Cruz this year, said in 2012 that states should have the authority to ban birth control:
“The state has a right to do that, I have never questioned that the state has a right to do that. It is not a constitutional right, the state has the right to pass whatever statutes they have. That is the thing I have said about the activism of the Supreme Court, they are creating rights, and they should be left up to the people to decide.”
Santorum also thinks it’s wrong to include coverage for birth control in health insurance:
“This is having someone pay for it, pay for something that shouldn’t even be in an insurance plan anyway because it is not, really an insurable item. This is something that is affordable, available. You don’t need insurance for these types of relatively small expenditures.”
And it’s not just politicians who are hostile to birth control. The religious-right group Texans for Life Coalition says birth control is bad for women’s health:
“I am so sick of people lumping abortion and birth control together and calling it ‘women’s health.’ Neither one of these two things are necessary for women to be healthy. In fact, you can make a pretty solid argument that both of these things are damaging to women’s health, emotionally and physically.”
Here’s the head of another religious-right group, the Pro-Life Action League, arguing against birth control:
“Contraception has radically altered sexual behavior in our culture and ultimately leads to more abortion, not less. We want to empower pro-life activists to confidently articulate to the case against contraception, especially as we remember the day it was first approved for use in America. . . . When the FDA approved the pill for contraceptive use in 1960, a chain of events was set in motion that led straight to the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that struck down laws protecting unborn babies in all fifty states. History has proved that — far from reducing the need for abortion — contraception only increases abortion. We hope to educate more people about birth control and all forms of contraception and help them communicate this opposition more clearly.”
We could go on, but you get the point. Sen. Cruz isn’t telling the truth. Social conservatives who are so influential in his party would sweep away access to birth control if they had the votes to do it. And, in fact, social conservatives are among Sen. Cruz’s strongest backers.