Pop star Britney Spears has captivated the world as she's fought to be released from a 13-year conservatorship that allowed her father to control her decisions and finances. But earlier this month, he filed a petition to end the conservatorship.
Then on Tuesday, Cruz and Democratic U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut held a hearing calling for conservatorship reform. Titled “Toxic Conservatorships,” possibly as a nod to one of Spears’ hit songs, the hearing investigated abusive conservatorships and the harm they can cause.
During the hearing, Cruz noted that Spears’ “case of injustice” had raised awareness about the need for conservatorship reforms. The U.S. senator went on to note that for years, Spears hasn’t been able to make her own decisions — even though she’s an adult who’s enjoyed wild success.
“The case has captured the attention of the world, and I myself count myself emphatically in the ‘Free Britney’ camp, and have been so vocally for some time,” Cruz said.
Some on social media pointed out that ending Spears’ conservatorship is among the rare issues that both Republicans and Democrats can get behind. But many blasted Cruz for his position, claiming that his “Free Britney” stance was nothing more than a stunt, especially given his take on women's bodily autonomy.
Every so often, an individual case of injustice captures the nation's attention. That's what has happened with Britney Spears and conservatorships.— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) September 28, 2021
It seems the legal system has been designed not for her benefit, but to trample on her rights. #FreeBritney pic.twitter.com/lU66SIdYsh
Cruz has advocated for the Supreme Court to overturn the landmark abortion decision Roe v. Wade, and on Sept. 1, a law took effect that bans virtually all abortions in Texas. Reproductive rights advocates have decried the legislation, which even inspired an Illinois lawmaker to file a bill that would ensure Texas women can pay for abortion care in that state.
limit people’s access to abortion-inducing drugs.
But at the hearing, Cruz said Spears' conservatorship had proven that people’s fundamental rights can be dashed with little hope for legal recourse.
“To this day, she can’t make basic decisions about her own life, her own career, her own health, or her own finances,” Cruz said. “Ms. Spears has fought this conservatorship, but it seems that at each critical juncture the legal system has been designed not for her benefit but to trample on her rights.”
On Wednesday, Emmy Award-winning Bravo TV host and producer Andy Cohen slammed the senator for advocating for Spears over his own constituents.
“So you believe Britney should be able to do what she wants with her body but not the women who live in your state?” Cohen said in a tweet. “That tracks.”
And one social media user asked Cruz to apply the same logic to his home state’s health care.
So you believe Britney should be able to do what she wants with her body but not the women who live in your state? That tracks.— Andy Cohen (@Andy) September 29, 2021
“Now fight for that Texas uterus conservatorship,” they wrote.