Last year, Marco Rubio raised a few eyebrows when he argued that if a woman is impregnated by a rapist, the government has the authority to force her to take the pregnancy to term, regardless of her wishes. This week, Ted Cruz made clear he has the same position.
During an interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, the host sought clarification from the Texas senator about this controversial aspect of his platform. From the transcript via Lexis Nexis:
KELLY: [Y]ou don’t favor a rape or an incest exception to abortion and for people like me, this may be a problem in getting behind President Ted Cruz. They think you may be too far right on social issues.CRUZ: Well, listen, let’s talk – you know, when it comes to rape, I’ve spent a lot of years in law enforcement. I was the solicitor general in the state of Texas and I have handled cases with horrific cases of rape, of people who committed child rape, people – I went before the U.S. Supreme Court and argued in defense of state laws imposing capital punishment for the very worst child rapists. And when it comes to rape, rape is a horrific crime against the humanity of a person and needs to be punished and punished severely but at the same time, as horrible as that crime is, I don’t believe it’s the child’s fault. And we weep at the crime. We want to do everything we can to prevent the crime on the front end and to punish the criminal, but I don’t believe it makes sense to blame the child.
The host responded that people who support exceptions to an abortion ban will argue that Cruz’s policy would force women “to go through unspeakable trauma to carry her rapist’s baby for nine months.” The senator then changed the subject a bit, saying states should debate their own limits on reproductive rights.
When it comes to evaluating Cruz as a general-election contender, the senator is extremely far to the right on most of the major issues of the day, and this is no exception – some polling suggests 83% of Americans believe women impregnated by a rapist should be legally allowed to terminate that pregnancy.
It’s worth noting for historical context that in every presidential election since the Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973, the Republican ticket has opposed abortion rights, but supported a rape exception. Cruz, should he be the GOP nominee, would be further to the right than any of his modern Republican predecessors.