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Ted Cruz criticizes vasectomy bill, exposing his hypocrisy on reproduction rights

Richard Luscombe

Ted Cruz, the Republican Texas senator, has given an unwitting boost to an Alabama lawmaker’s attempt to push back on restrictive abortion laws in her state, by tweeting about her proposal to force men to have vasectomies when they reach the age of 50.

Democratic representative Rolanda Hollis introduced the measure to the state House last week, intending it as protest against a law passed by the Alabama legislature last year to outlaw abortion in almost every case unless the life of the mother was at risk.

“The responsibility is not always on the women. It takes two to tangle [sic],” Hollis wrote in a tweet acknowledging that her long-shot House bill, which would also a mandate a vasectomy after the birth of a father’s third biological child, was intended to “neutralize the abortion ban bill”.

Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP

After an initial flare of mostly local publicity, the issue was set to fade back into obscurity – until Cruz waded in with a tweet that placed it firmly before a national audience and his own 3.5 million Twitter followers, exposing his apparent hypocrisy over reproductive legislation at the same time.

“Yikes. A government big enough to give you everything is big enough to take everything… literally!” Cruz wrote, linking to an Alabama news website’s account of the story from three days previously.

Cruz is noted for his staunchly conservative views on abortion and has previously condemned the Democratic party’s efforts to protect access to abortion as “a war on women.” Comments on his tweet, however, allude to his opposition to the governance of male reproduction while supporting laws that dictate what women can and cannot do with their bodies.

“It’s outrageous to have government involved in these personal reproductive decisions! So glad you are pro-choice, Ted!” one commentator wrote.

The controversial Alabama abortion measures, signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey in May 2019, was struck down by a federal court judge in October, two weeks before they were due to take effect.

The law, which threatens doctors with up to 99 years in prison for performing abortions at any stage of pregnancy, is intended by its supporters to bolster efforts to have the US Supreme Court overturn its 1973 Roe vs Wade ruling, the landmark case that legalized abortion across the country.

A number of right-leaning states, including Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky and Louisiana, have passed stricter anti-abortion legislation in recent months as opponents grow in confidence that the supreme court’s new conservative majority will reverse its 47-year-old ruling.