WASHINGTON, D.C., June 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) extended an olive branch to socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) this week to propose working together on legislation to make birth control more easily available, via a plan some champion as bridging the gap between left and right despite dividing pro-lifers.
Responding to a tweet in which the freshman Democrat declared that “birth control should be over-the-counter,” Cruz agreed.
“Perhaps, in addition to the legislation we are already working on together to ban Members of Congress from becoming lobbyists, we can team up here as well,” he tweeted. “A simple, clean bill making birth control available over the counter. Interested?”
I agree. Perhaps, in addition to the legislation we are already working on together to ban Members of Congress from becoming lobbyists, we can team up here as well. A simple, clean bill making birth control available over the counter. Interested? https://t.co/7kh3kqxN1w
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 12, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez responded by retweeting a reply from Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), who replied by noting that she and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) have already written such a bill:
Hi there @tedcruz hit up our girl @pattymurray she and I have already written the bill, album dropping tomorrow �� @AOC's vocals (& original co sponsorship) = on point. @KatieHill4CA’s an original too. Just call it the Destiny's Child of OTC birth control https://t.co/Ri2q1Viez4
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) June 12, 2019
That proposal, which Cruz has not endorsed, goes further than Cruz’s “clean” proposal to simply eliminate the prescription requirement in that it also forces private health insurance plans to “include full access to oral contraception for routine, daily over-the-counter use” without cost-sharing. Dallas News notes that many Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have endorsed over-the-counter birth control, but nothing ever came of it because Democrats insist that insurance companies also be forced to cover it.
Beyond the fiscal details, further expanding birth control “access” is controversial among pro-life conservatives for both medical and philosophical reasons.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration admits that Plan B, for instance, “may also work […] by preventing attachment (implantation) to the womb,” resulting in the death of an embryonic human being. On top of this, more and more women have begun speaking out over the past few years about negative physical and mental reactions to birth control pills, including heightened risks of depression, thrombosis, blood clots, hair loss, Crohn’s disease, brain shrinkage, breast cancer, hardening of the arteries, glaucoma, and cervical cancer.
Other pro-lifers argue that birth control is already widely available in the US, and that promoting it even more will actually increase unintended pregnancies by encouraging people unprepared for parenthood to engage in “safe sex” instead of abstinence.
Cruz, whose overall record is strongly pro-life, has previously admitted that he differs with Catholic pro-lifers on the issue of birth control. “I recognize that many faithful Catholics, for religious reasons, don't use birth control […] I'm a Southern Baptist, that is not the teaching of my faith,” Cruz said in a 2016 interview with EWTN's Raymond Arroyo, explaining a joke he had made months earlier about being glad he only had two children instead of seventeen.
Cruz added that his intent in the December 2015 remarks had been to contrast birth control’s availability with the question of forcing it on private entities like the Little Sisters of the Poor, and to reject the notion that it was difficult to obtain birth control in America.
Prior to the 1930 Anglican Lambeth conference, all Christian churches were unanimous in their opposition to contraception, seeing it as a moral evil. The Catholic Church continues to teach that using contraception is always and in every case wrong. The Church teaches that contraception blocks the marital act from its God-given procreative purpose and that it contradicts the husband and wife’s promise to give themselves to each other, totally and unreservedly — where nothing must be held back, including one’s own fertility.