Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz made the case for protecting preborn babies and mothers alike from abortion during an interview with Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly Monday night.
In response to an audience question from a self-described moderate, pro-choice Republican who was concerned that Cruz would make abortion illegal as president, Cruz reiterated that “we should protect every life from the moment of conception,” but argued that even those who disagree with him on abortion should prefer that Roe v. Wade be overturned so that the people can vote on abortion policy for themselves. He condemned Roe as judicial activism and not settled law. (Even liberal Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has called Roe “heavy-handed judicial intervention [which] was difficult to justify.”)
“I believe under our Constitution we have a democratic society, that if someone wants to pass legislation limiting or expanding abortion, the way to do that is to convince your fellow citizens to make the case at the ballot box,” Cruz went on. “And I think ultimately that is the check for both your views and my views, that you’ve got to convince our fellow citizens,” which would vary from state to state if Roe were overturned.
During follow-ups by Kelly, the Texas senator also called Donald Trump’s recent comments about punishing women for abortions “bizarre” and a sign “that he’s not considered seriously this issue,” quoting the analysis of National Review’s Jonah Goldberg, who said Trump was “pretend[ing] to be a conservative while working on liberal assumptions of what conservatives want to hear.”
“Part of being pro-life is valuing every human life, the unborn child, but also valuing the mother, celebrating the mother,” Cruz explained. “I’ll tell you many times, the victims of abortion are not just the unborn children that never get a chance to live, but it’s the moms that are wracked with guilt.”
Kelly also asked him about rape exceptions for abortion, which Cruz opposes. He called rape a “horrific crime against the humanity of a person” that needs to be severely punished (referencing that as Texas Solicitor General he argued before the Supreme Court that states had the right to execute child rapists), but maintained that “I don’t believe it’s the child’s fault.”
Notably, Fox News’s report on the interview characterizes Cruz as saying “he wouldn’t make abortion illegal, if elected president,” something he does not say in the interview. Cruz supports both congressional action to extend 14th-Amendment rights to preborn babies, as well as a constitutional amendment banning abortion.