From the Senate, Ted Cruz speaks in front of a big stupid posterboard with a graphic of Joe Biden on it

Ted Cruz Tried To Shame Dem Committee Chair on Abortion Flip-Flop Because He’s Never Heard of Personal Growth

The Senate Judiciary Committee met Tuesday to discuss the legal consequences of Dobbs, the recent Supreme Court case that overturned Roe v Wade. We’ve already talked about the best part of the entire hearing—watching Josh Hawley get his transphobic ass handed to him by Professor Khiara Bridges—but there were some other interesting moments as well.

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Not all moments were positive, of course. Republicans brought in the director of a crisis pregnancy center—you know, those places that pretend to be real clinics but have no oversight and are designed solely to trick, shame, and scare people into staying pregnant—to give her “expert” testimony and it was exactly as infuriating as you’d expect.

Meanwhile, both Ted Cruz and his fellow Republican Mike Lee tried to wrangle a “gotcha” moment by presenting letters written in the 1980s by the committee’s chairman, Democrat Dick Durbin. In the letters, Durbin expressed his strong opposition to “abortion on demand” and his belief that Roe v Wade should be overturned.

Lee entered his Durbin letter into the record without much comment but Ted Cruz did as much grandstanding as possible, pointing out that when he was president, Bill Clinton wanted abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare”—a once-common phrase that abortion activists have long outgrown. Cruz also had some of those stupid big posterboards Republicans love to print up, featuring anti-abortion quotes from Joe Biden. And he had a stupid big poster of another letter from Durbin.

Multiple right-wing news outlets and Twitter pundits immediately jumped on Durbin’s so-called hypocrisy. Obviously, they’ve never heard of things like growth and change.

Durbin took a few minutes at the very end of the hearing to respond to these letters, which he says he’s seen many times in the decades since they were written. He responded by sharing the story of how speaking with two young constituents and hearing about their abortions changed his mind on the issue.

“I sat down with two young women who were about to turn 18—one a victim of incest, one a victim of rape—and they told me their stories. I didn’t ask them to, but they wanted to tell me,” he stated, adding, “I left that meeting with a kind of understanding that I had never had before about the complexity of the decision behind the abortion procedure.”

“I thought to myself, ‘As an individual member of Congress, are you ready to pass a law that applies to every woman in America?’ No. It really has to be her decision,” Durbin said, proving that it actually is possible for lawmakers to learn and grow if they actually listen to the people they’re supposed to serve.

(image: screencap)


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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.