Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, talks during the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett

Professional Ignoramus Ted Cruz Just Called Contraception “Abortion-Inducing Drugs”

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Day two of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court has come to an end and it was just as harrowing as Day 1.

There were a lot of big moments out of Tuesday’s hearing. For example:

But a major contender for the worst part of the day was every moment Ted Cruz was speaking–especially the one in which he chose to refer to birth control as “abortion-inducing drugs.”

This isn’t new, by the way. Cruz has been using this term for at least half a decade.

During his questioning, Cruz brought up the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of Catholic nuns who went to court with the Obama administration over the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that employers pay for their employees’ birth control.

Here’s what Cruz said today about “religious liberty”:

The Little Sisters of the Poor are a Catholic convent of nuns who take oaths of poverty, who devote their lives to caring for the sick, caring for the needy, caring for the elderly. The Obama administration litigated against the Little Sisters of the Poor, seeking to fine them in order to force them to pay for abortion-inducing drugs among others. Truly a stunning situation when you have the federal government litigating against nuns.

I don’t know, personally, I was really glad to know that the federal government wasn’t going to let nuns discriminate their employees. I miss those days.

Also, by the way, the Obama administration tried to give the nuns an out. As The Atlantic wrote back in 2015:

A three-member panel of judges ruled that the Obama administration has come up with a sufficient accommodation for religious organizations like the Little Sisters: If they object to providing insurance coverage to employees who want to buy birth control, organizations can sign a two-page form stating that objection. That’s it—from there, the administration will arrange for a third-party provider to make sure the employee can get coverage. But the Little Sisters, along with schools like Notre Dame and other religious organizations, claimed that signing that piece of paper was the moral equivalent of condoning birth control.

And obviously, the biggest red flag in Cruz’s depiction of this case is that contraception isn’t “abortion-inducing.” Even if Cruz was referring to Plan B, which some are speculating he is, that drug prevents fertilization or stops a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb. Neither of those things have anything to do with abortion.

But this kind of gross misinformation is to be expected from Cruz, who has made it clear that he thinks condoms should be the only acceptable form of birth control. He once “joked” that there is no conservative war on women or on contraception because “Last I checked, we don’t have a rubber shortage in America.” Classy.

Senate Republicans, Cruz included, have claimed that Democrats are opposed to Barrett’s confirmation because of her faith. That’s simply not true. There are already five Catholics on the Supreme Court so to oppose Barrett on those grounds would be strange. But Barrett has made comments in the past about using her Catholicism to guide her judicial decisions, which is incredibly worrying. And when lawmakers like Cruz make it clear that they want our laws to be shaped by those religious beliefs (which is very different from protecting religious beliefs), we should absolutely express some concern over that!

(image: Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images)
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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.