One expects that when an elected official speaks on the matter, he or she has had their staff do their homework. So, when a sitting U.S. Senator goes before an audience and says that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, requires employers to cover “abortifacients” because it mandates coverage of birth control, those of us who are informed know that he can only either be woefully misinformed or willfully lying.
First lets define what an abortifacient is. Merriam Webster online defines an abortifacient this way:
“an agent (as a drug) that induces abortion.”
One issue that keeps coming up is that it’s unclear if many conservatives, including Cruz, understand that Plan B is not RU 486, which is an abortion inducing pill. Also, many conservatives do believe Plan B can and does prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg into the lining of the uterus, which they consider the same as abortion. The whole idea of birth control as abortifacient is linked to the belief that life begins at fertilization, and a fundamental misunderstanding of how most birth control methods work.
Most birth control, including Plan B, work by preventing fertilization, NOT by preventing implantation. Even if fertilized eggs could wonder around a women’s uterus without implanting for months and that was a pregnancy it wouldn’t matter because there would be no fertilized egg.
In his speech at the Value Voters Summit, Cruz referenced “The Little Sisters of The Poor.” He said they were nuns who serve the elderly, and who would be “forced to provide abortifacients.” He says this as if the nuns would be forced to take these “abortificients” themselves, the idea of which would be downright silly. I mean, really, why would a group of nuns need birth control much less abortions, right? Except these nuns employ secular people to work for them. I am sure that the women and men who they employ would like to have birth control coverage that is not dictated to them by the church. Is Ted Cruz so naive as to believe those employees don’t need or want birth control?
The broader point of the ACA is that one’s employer or insurance does not have the right to withhold essential healthcare from you because you are female. Whether Ted Cruz likes it or not there is no medical evidence that birth control causes abortion and birth control is a part of health care.
WATCH Ted Cruz’s lies here:
Laurie Bertram Roberts is the president of Mississippi NOW, a feminist activist, full spectrum doula and writer in Jackson, MS. She is passionate about reproductive justice and fighting oppression. When not smashing patriarchy she is likely watching Doctor Who, Star Trek, or engaging in other nerdy activities with her seven kids.