In May 2019, lawmakers in Alabama passed a wide-ranging abortion ban that would, among other things, punish doctors who performed the procedure on women at any stage of pregnancy with up to 99 years in prison. (A federal judge blocked the ban from taking effect in October 2019 until the matter is settled in the courts.)
Now, in response, a Democratic state representative in Alabama has introduced a bill that would require men to get vasectomies within a month of turning 50, or after their third child is born—whichever happens first. Per HuffPost, Rep. Rolanda Hollis acknowledges the bill is not a serious proposal, but rather a symbol meant to “send a message that men should not be legislating what women do with their bodies”—either through a straightforward abortion ban or through smaller incursions into women’s reproductive freedom.
“Year after year the majority party continues to introduce new legislation that tries to dictate [rules for] a woman’s body and her reproductive rights. We should view this as the same outrageous overstep in authority,” she said in a statement.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) responded to the proposed legislation on Twitter—and was then summarily mocked for his hypocrisy, given his support of limiting women’s reproductive rights. “Yikes. A government big enough to give you everything is big enough to take everything…literally!” he wrote. “Alabama Democrat proposes bill mandating all men have vasectomy at age 50 or after third child.”
“Yes, the government shouldn’t be involved in private reproductive health choices, yes, that’s a great point you made, yes,” historian and author Kevin Kruse replied to his tweet. The actor Patricia Arquette wrote, “Thought you wanted to stop unwanted pregnancies.”
“Wow how awful that the government is trying to interfere with bodily autonomy! What’s that feel like?” another Twitter user said.
And just in case the irony was lost on Cruz, one person laid it out super clearly for him. “This bill was not meant to pass; it was introduced to demonstrate how wrong it is to restrict people’s reproductive rights. In other words, the argument you’re applying to this bill shows how your own views on women’s reproductive rights are indefensible!” he wrote.
Cruz, unsurprisingly, has not responded to those calling out his double standard. Meanwhile, the assault on women’s reproductive rights continues.