POLITICS

Ted Cruz says characterizing GOP as 'condom police' is 'a nonsense issue'

DES MOINES, IA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition 15th Annual Family Banquet and Presidential Forum held at the Iowa State fairgrounds on September 19, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa.  Eight of the Republican candidates including Donald Trump are expected to attend the event. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)

DES MOINES, IA - SEPTEMBER 19: Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition 15th Annual Family Banquet and Presidential Forum held at the Iowa State fairgrounds on September 19, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. Eight of the Republican candidates including Donald Trump are expected to attend the event. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)  (2015 Getty Images)

While Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz acknowledges that there are many problems in the United States, a scarcity of condoms is not one of them.

Speaking to a group of prospective caucus-goers in Iowa, Cruz took the opportunity, while discussing contraception and women's health issues, to deflate the notion that the Republican Party is "the condom police."

"Now, listen, I have been a conservative my entire life," Cruz said. "I have never met anybody, any conservative, who wants to ban contraceptives. As I noted, Heidi and I have two little girls. I'm very glad we don't have 17."

Cruz, who was responding to where he stood on making contraception available to women who want it, went after Democrats by saying that they have concocted a fictitious Republican "war on women." 

"Last I checked, we don't have a rubber shortage in America," the Texas firebrand said. "Look, when I was in college, we had a machine in the bathroom. You put 50 cents in, and voila! So yes, anyone who wants contraceptives can access them. It's an utterly made up, nonsense issue."

He asked the audience members to step into Clinton's shoes. "You're Hillary Clinton and you're trying to figure out how to run," Cruz said, ticking off the issues on which the Democratic candidate cannot run on: The economy, Obamacare, foreign policy.

"So what do you do?" he asked. "You go, ‘Ah ha! The condom police. I'm going to make up a completely made up threat and try to scare a bunch of folks who are not paying a lot of attention into thinking someone's going to steal their birth control.'" Cruz said. "What nonsense."

Cruz might support contraception, but he drew a stark line in the sand when it came to the differences between his stance on abortion that of his Democratic rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"Clinton embraces abortion on demand in all circumstances up until the moment of birth, partial birth abortion with taxpayer funding with no notification for parents in any circumstances," Cruz said.

An August Quinnipiac University poll showed that 78 percent of registered voters said abortion should be legal in cases of rape or incest, and 85 percent said it should be legal to save the life of the mother. The same poll showed 65 percent of registered voters said they could support a presidential candidate who holds a different position than they do on abortion.

While it's unlikely abortion will overtake the economy or national security as the top priority for voters, the issue has been in the political spotlight this fall after videos surfaced showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing retrieving fetal tissue. Next year, as the general election kicks into high gear, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on a challenge to a Texas abortion law that is seen as one of the strictest in the nation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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