Ted Cruz Has No Idea How Pregnancy Works

The Texas senator refuses to acknowledge that pregnancy can be dangerous or that medication abortion can save lives. I should have been sleeping late Wednesday night; instead, I paced around my apartment fuming. I had just come across a tweet from Sen.

Ted Cruz about the GOP’s attempt to have the Food and Drug Administration ban medication abortion. Republicans want the agency to classify what’s colloquially known as the abortion pill as “an imminent hazard to the public health” and remove it from the market.

My anger wasn’t borne out of surprise: The GOP has been trying to use the pandemic as a way to roll back women’s rights since March, when states tried to classify abortion clinics as “nonessential” as a way to shut them down during quarantine. And while medication abortion usually accounts for almost 40% of abortions in America, the use of the medicine has spiked during the pandemic — likely because women feel safer ending their pregnancies at home during a pandemic.

What was shocking, however, was that in his zeal to urge the FDA to ban abortion medication, Cruz tweeted, “Pregnancy is not a life-threatening illness, and the abortion pill does not cure or prevent any disease.” Tell that to the more than 50,000 American women who have severe and life-threatening pregnancies each year. The United States is the most dangerous place in the developed world to give birth, our maternal mortality rate is abysmal, and Cruz wants to pooh-pooh the idea that pregnancy can be life-threatening? To be blunt, fuck that.

Pregnancy, especially in America and especially if you’re Black, can absolutely be life-threatening. I know firsthand. I nearly died of HELLP syndrome when my daughter was born; if I would have gotten sick just a few weeks earlier, I would have needed an abortion to save my life.

The inconvenient truth that Cruz ignores is that childbirth is actually far more dangerous than abortion — one study showed that women were 14 times more likely to die giving birth than they were from complications from an abortion. But Republicans like Cruz don’t care about the truth or science or women’s lives. All they want is to stop us from having control over our own bodies and force us to stay pregnant whether we want to or not.

The real reason the GOP is going after medication abortion is because of how safe it is and how easy it is for women to use. If women are ending their pregnancies in their homes, Republican TRAP laws that whittle away at clinics’ ability to function become less effective.

Amazingly, the same politicians who want to take away abortion are the ones ensuring that health care is unaffordable, one of the reasons women die in childbirth to begin with. Caring for pregnant women — whether they want to stay that way or not — means making sure they have access to affordable health care: abortion, prenatal care, and doctors who listen to them and respect their choices. But I guess tweeting bullshit is easier.

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