Ted Cruz is right, pregnancy is not a disease

Ted Cruz is right, pregnancy is not a disease

By Rachael Wong

Republican Senator Ted Cruz has been criticised for his online comments about pregnancy.

Cruz signed a letter with other Republican senators calling for the FDA to ban the abortion pill Mifeprex (i.e. mifepristone or RU486) used to induce an abortion in the first nine weeks of pregnancy.

“Pregnancy is not a life-threatening illness, and the abortion pill does not cure or prevent any disease,” Cruz tweeted on Wednesday. “Make no mistake, Mifeprex is a dangerous pill. That’s why 20 of my Republican colleagues and I are urging @US_FDA to classify it as such.” 

Commentators jumped on Cruz, citing maternal mortality rates and the health risks associated with pregnancy. Of course, they didn’t bother to mention the significant health risks that come with taking the abortion pill.

While pregnancy undoubtedly comes with risks for both mother and child, which in some circumstances can be life-threatening, Cruz is correct in saying that pregnancy is not an illness or a disease, which is how it is so often viewed in our society.

To treat pregnancy as a disease is offensive and degrading both to human life and to women’s capacity to conceive and carry children, which in circumstances outside the scenario of abortion, is quite rightly treated as a beautiful and miraculous thing.

It also does a great disservice to women whose natural, biological function is treated as something to be shunned, which is too often the case in educational settings, workplaces and general society. How many women have been denied study or work opportunities because they are pregnant or merely have the ability to be so?

True health care does everything it can to protect and promote the health of both mother and child during pregnancy and to minimise any risk to health or life.

And instead of suppressing women’s fundamental biology, a truly pro-woman society would respect and accommodate their child-bearing capabilities, rather than pitting them against their children or requiring them to be like men in order to thrive and succeed in life.

Rachael Wong is the CEO of Women’s Forum Australia

Women’s Forum Australia is an independent think tank that undertakes research, education and public policy advocacy on issues affecting women and girls, with a particular focus on addressing behaviours and practices that are harmful and abusive to them. We are a non-partisan, non-religious, tax-deductible charity. We do not receive any government funding and rely solely on donations to make an impact. Support our work today.

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