Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz speaks at an event at the American Serb Banquet Hall in Milwaukee, April 1, 2016.
Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/Reuters

The ‘Personhood’ problem Ted Cruz doesn’t know how to solve

Updated
It’s not exactly a secret that many Democrats see Donald Trump as a candidate who would struggle in a general election. But we’re occasionally reminded that when it comes to formidable Republicans, Ted Cruz wouldn’t be much better.
Ted Cruz refused to answer eight direct questions Thursday about whether or not he’d support personhood bills – legislation that would give Constitutional rights to fertilized eggs – despite pledging to support it last year.
 
“I told you I’m not going to get into the labels, but what I will say is we should protect life. But I’m not interested in anything that restricts birth control,” he said after being pressed at length by Chuck Todd in the MSNBC town hall that will air in full Thursday at 8 p.m. “And I’m not interested in anything that restricts in vitro fertilization because I think parents who are struggling to create life, to have a child, that is a wonderful thing.”
Chuck Todd, to his credit, made a valiant effort to get a straight answer out of the Texas senator. Cruz, an experienced lawyer, wouldn’t budge.
 
And we know why. Last summer, en route to picking up an endorsement from a far-right group, Ted Cruz signed a pledge promising to “support a personhood amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

As Right Wing Watch reported at the time, the document the Republican presidential candidate signed affirmed the belief that “a continuum of human life and personhood begins at the moment of fertilization.” By endorsing the pledge, Cruz gave his word to protect “the civil rights of the pre-born at an embryonic or fetal level.”

In practical terms, as long-time readers no doubt recall, we’re not just talking about a policy that bans abortions – though that’s part of it. “Personhood” policies also put at risk common forms of birth control.
 
What’s more, this wasn’t the first time Cruz expressed support for these kinds of policies. The far-right senator voted against a measure to protect workers’ access to contraception in 2014, and in 2013, he referred to common forms of birth-control as “abortifacients.”
 
And so we’re left with something of a contradiction. On the one hand, Ted Cruz says he isn’t interested in “anything that restricts birth control” or IVF treatments. On the other hand, Ted Cruz has publicly pledged to try to change the United States Constitution to protect embryos as Americans with civil rights, which would very likely restrict birth control and IVF.
 
How does Cruz reconcile the competing positions? By saying he doesn’t want to talk about it.
 
The general election is bound to be interesting, isn’t it?
 
 

Contraception and Ted Cruz

The 'Personhood' problem Ted Cruz doesn't know how to solve

Updated