Cruz: Let Them Have Condom Machines

Sen. Ted Cruz dismisses the notion of "condom police" during his swing through Iowa on Monday night.
Sen. Ted Cruz dismisses the notion of "condom police" during his swing through Iowa on Monday night.
Screengrab from MSNBC

Sen. Ted Cruz is on a roll this week when it comes to talking about women's health.

On Monday, Cruz was at a question and answer session in Bettendorf, Iowa — the end of his three-day 14-stop tour — when a woman asked him about his thoughts on contraception "for women who want to control their bodies," according to Buzzfeed. 

Instead of, you know, actually answering the question, Cruz immediately started talking about Hillary Clinton's stance on abortion while simultaneously dismissing the idea that Republicans are against contraception. And then he kept talking, and it got both better and worse at the same time.

Cruz's answer to the whole contraception question? Condoms, of course. 

“When the ‘war on women’ came up, the Republicans would curl up in a ball and say ‘don’t hurt me.’ Jiminy cricket! This is a made up, nonsense example,” Cruz said. “Last I checked, we don’t have a rubber shortage in America. Look, when I was in college, we had a machine in the bathroom. You put 50 cents in and voila!”

According to Cruz, all of women's contraceptive needs are covered by the good old prophylactic sheath that can be purchased in a bathroom for a couple of quarters.

That's worth noting for a few reasons. For one thing, it's sexist as all get-out. Somehow, despite having a wife and two daughters and presumably having passed some sort of basic sex-ed class at some point in his life, it seems Cruz doesn't quite grasp that condoms aren't the only form of contraception "for women who want to control their bodies." In fact, there are all kinds of things women use to "control their bodies" and—we know this one will come as a shocker—women actually use various forms of birth control to deal with all kinds of non-procreational issues including acne, polycystic ovarian syndrome, to have less painful periods, to treat endometriosis or to simply regulate periods and hormones in the body. 

And on an even more frustrating note, while Cruz is reducing birth control to rubbers, right now any dude in America can go in and get boner pills from his doctor and have the prescription covered by insurance. However, in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, there are women in this country who are being told by their employers that they can get the morning-after pill or intrauterine devices or plain old birth control pills, but if it goes against the employer's beliefs, the women will have to pay full price out of their own pockets. The Supremes have agreed to hear the Houston Baptist University birth control case, too (already known as "Hobby Lobby II" by some), and depending on how it shakes out, that case could go even further toward limiting coverage and thus access to various forms of birth control. 

(Meanwhile, the Texas abortion law is being challenged before the Supreme Court this term, which could have major implications for whether all women in the United States will have access to abortion clinics, but we digress.)

Cruz ignored all of that. His reply on contraception quickly turned into Cruz talking about how he's a real Republican, the kind that won't shy away from a condom OR accusations of a "war on women." 

And the best part is that Cruz used a bit of logic from "The West Wing," of all things, to make his point. Apparently, the wanna-be presidential nominee is a fan of the Emmy-winning series that featured a Democrat in the White House. How do we know this? Well, because that bit he spouted off about how Republicans step back whenever the "war on women" stuff comes up and say "don't hurt me" is actually a quote from the show (the episode "Gone Quiet" from season three, to be precise.) Even better, it's part of an epic and pointy little rant about how Democrats and Republicans should both really own what they believe in:

"We all need some therapy, because somebody came along and said, 'Liberal' means soft on crime, soft on drugs, soft on Communism, soft on defense, and we're gonna tax you back to the Stone Age because people shouldn't have to go to work if they don't want to!' And instead of saying, 'Well, excuse me, you right-wing, reactionary, xenophobic, homophobic, anti-education, anti-choice, pro-gun, Leave It To Beaver trip back to the Fifties,' we cowered in the corner, and said, 'Please. Don't. Hurt. Me.' No more. I really don't care who's right, who's wrong. We're both right. We're both wrong. Let's have two parties, huh? What do you say?"

Cruz used it to justify his own ends and largely missed the actual point of the original "don't hurt me" quote, (about having two parties who say what they mean and actually duke it out on the campaign trail and in the polls). But we have to commend Cruz on his taste, because he cribbed from a great moment in an excellent episode in an outstanding TV series. The fact that it was from a show focused on Democrats is just gravy. 

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