Some people were less than thrilled with Ted Cruz’s Iowa primary victory, and not just his presidential competitors. Both Planned Parenthood and fellow Republican Lindsey Graham reacted by taking potshots at him, albeit for different reasons. Well, somewhat different, anyway.
Planned Parenthood fired off a series of tweets complaining that Cruz’s “vision for America would be a nightmare for women,” he “supported TX HB2 bill, the anti-abortion law that has already shut down more than 1/2 the providers in the state,” he’s “so against your rights, he’d add a ‘personhood’ amendment to constitution, banning abortion & some” birth control, and most hilariously, claiming Cruz “doesn’t know how birth control works” because he quipped that the War on Women is “nonsense” because “Last I checked we don’t have a rubber shortage in America.”
Anyone who may be genuinely worried by Planned Parenthood’s propaganda, I can assure you that Ted Cruz does indeed know that condoms aren’t the only form of birth control out there. This line was something known as “humor,” to emphasize the point he was making: “I have been a conservative my entire life; I have never met anybody — any conservative — who wants to ban contraceptives,” and for pro-aborts to claim otherwise was merely a ploy to get some Republicans to “curl up in a ball” and “say ‘don’t hurt me!’”
Cruz is right, but even if a man recognized as “brilliant” even by professors who despised his ideas was somehow so ignorant that he didn’t know about the existence of the pill or IUDs, the fact remains that birth control is far more available and affordable than Planned Parenthood wants you to think, making the “need” for them to bully everyone from businesses to nuns to subsidize it nonexistent (in addition to lethal for some methods).
The other tweets are more of the same, banal fear-mongering over the legal ramifications of personhood, the need to hold abortionists accountable for their medical negligence, and general fantasies that Cruz is attacking women’s rights with nary a baby in sight to protect, so let’s turn our attention to Senator Graham, who despite being pro-life(-ish) frets that Cruz is too pro-life (a charge he’s leveled before):
He doesn’t have an exception for rape and incest. If a woman is raped in Ted Cruz’s world, she’s going to have the baby of the rapist. I’m pro-life, but I won’t go there.
Oh, and so is Marco Rubio:
And Marco has no exceptions for rape and incest. I may be wrong and I hope I’m wrong, but I think it’s going to be very hard to grow the party among women if you’re going to tell young women if you get raped, you got to carry the child of the rapist. Most pro-life people don’t go there. That will not sell in New Hampshire.
Morally, children conceived in rape need and deserve our protection just as much as those conceived consensually do. That doesn’t mean we have to demand every bill save every baby at once, because there’s no shame in doing whatever good is feasible at the moment and striving to do the rest when you can. It does, however, mean we have to set the stage for that day to come with rhetoric that actively reminds people that an innocent child’s humanity doesn’t depend on a father’s evil. Dodging the issue by accepting an exception instead gives the double-standard our tacit affirmation. There is no reason a competent pro-life statesman can’t stand for such children’s rights and show compassion to their mothers at the same time.
Strategically, Graham seems not to have noticed that pro-lifers’ enemies say the same things about us no matter how far backward we bend to seem more reasonable, or that such scare campaigns are often less effective than assumed.
Yes, the latest polling data does show that only 25% of the public is willing to ban abortions in cases of rape or incest. But where is it written that this is the only “extreme” view to be concerned about? The data also shows that support for elective abortion past the first trimester is even smaller at 20%, and support for elective abortion through all nine months is smaller still at just 13%.
The list continues—only 17% believe the abortion lobby’s line that protecting pregnant women and protecting preborn children are mutually exclusive, only 29% agree with taxpayer funding for abortion, and only 35% oppose a 20-week abortion ban.
But despite holding a variety of radical abortion stances nearly as, equally, or even more lacking in support than banning abortion for rape cases, Democratic politicians virtually never lecture each other about being too extreme for the general public. Instead, they just steadily become more extreme as the years go by.
So maybe, just maybe, political victories aren’t decided by which candidates hold the most fringe positions, but which candidates are better at debunking such fears and changing the conversation to focus on the other guy’s extremes…like Ted Cruz himself displayed a knack for in the very contraception speech we talked about above. Instead of cowering at the dreaded mention of a War on Women, Cruz laughed it off, quickly explained why it was false, and called it for what it was—a distraction:
Hillary Clinton embraces abortion on demand in all circumstances up until the moment of birth, partial-birth abortion with taxpayer funding, with no notice for parents in any circumstances. Ninety-one percent of Americans say “That’s nuts.” [note: I think he means 81% – CF] So what do they do? They try to shift it — The ‘War on Women’ wasn’t [about abortion,] it was contraceptives.
There are of course many good points and negatives about every candidate on abortion (and every other issue) that pro-lifers should decide for themselves, but it seems safe to say that Lindsey Graham’s fears of Ted Cruz being unable to sell common-sense pro-life principles are unfounded.