BUFFALO, New York, April 15, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Senator Ted Cruz said he would “happily support anything that protects life,” including personhood measures, when asked about the topic in a town hall meeting last night in New York state.
Chuck Todd, the host of “Meet the Press,” asked the Texas senator whether he stood by his call to recognize a child's inalienable right to life from the moment of conception.
In a video in February, on the eve of the South Carolina primary, Cruz “enthusiastically” endorsed a non-binding personhood measure passed by 79 percent of South Carolina Republicans in June 2014, saying that the state constitution should be amended to affirm the right to life “shall extend to both born and pre-born persons beginning at conception.”
Todd wanted to know if he would back similar legislation as president.
The Republican crowd interrupted Todd's dismissive description of personhood as “this idea that the minute, the minute of conception essentially, that that fetus has rights” by bursting into applause.
“That’s a divisive issue,” Todd said. “It gets into some contraception disputes.”
Sen. Cruz seemed eager not to specifically mention personhood in his answer. “I’m not going to get into the labels,” he said. “I believe every human life is a gift from God and we should cherish and protect and celebrate them.”
Sen. Cruz moved to head off potential discussion of hypothetically banning all contraceptives, a staple of recent Democratic campaigns. “It is clear that Americans have a right to birth control,” he said. “I am not interested in any legislation…that [would] restrict birth control.”
He described campaign rhetoric accusing the GOP of waging a “war on women” as “a totally made up threat.”
“Listen, I have been around conservatives my entire life,” he said. “I have never met a single human being, in any place, who wanted to ban contraceptives.”
The fact that Democrats campaign on alleged threats to birth control instead of their party's platform – which calls for taxpayer-funded abortion through all nine months of pregnancy – demonstrates how out-of-touch they are, he said.
Addressing another issue associated with personhood measures, Sen. Cruz said, “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.”
When Todd pressed the senator on whether he would “pursue” personhood legislation, Cruz responded, “I will happily support anything that protects life.” But he highlighted his support for more moderate measures, such as banning partial birth abortion.
Sen. Cruz has said repeatedly that, unlike Donald Trump or Gov. John Kasich, he opposes abortion in the cases of rape and incest. That position establishes Cruz as among the most intensely pro-life leaders in American politics.
Last night, he also raised the prospect of “fairly enforcing the criminal laws against Planned Parenthood.”
“You know a few months ago, we had this series of videos that were horrifying,” he said.
Planned Parenthood has indicated repeatedly that it fears a Cruz presidency as potentially disastrous.
“Cruz could very well be the biggest threat we face,” Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, wrote in a recent fundraiser e-mail. “Unlike Trump and Kasich, who are more or less in line with the Republican Party's already terrible positions on reproductive rights, Cruz takes things much, much further.”
Personhood has yet to win a single statewide voter referendum, being voted down in states like Mississippi and Colorado. However, motions to put the idea up for a vote are moving through state legislatures in Alabama and Missouri.
As president, Ronald Reagan spoke of “the personhood of the fetus,” as well as drawing attention to fetal pain.
The New York primary is scheduled for next Tuesday, April 19. Donald Trump currently enjoys a prohibitive lead in his home state.