Republican Sen. Ted Cruz on Tuesday rallied more than100,000 pastors from different evangelical churches across the country to support his proposal, and his presidential, to stop funding to controversial Planned Parenthood.
In a conference call, Cruz is trying to harness the vote-rich social conservative and evangelical voters and called Congress' threat of a government shutdown should funding for Planned Parenthood is stopped, reported the Washington Post.
"We can expect President Obama and many of the congressional Democrats to cry loudly that if Congress uses its authority, Congress will be quote 'shutting down the government.' That, of course, is nonsense," Cruz said.
The presidential contender reminded the voters about recent expose by the Center for Medical Progress about Planned Parenthood of alleged harvesting and sale of aborted babies' organs while they are still alive.
"The moment I see [the aborted child], I'm just flabbergasted. This is the most gestated fetus and the closest thing to a baby I've seen," former StemExpress procurement technician Holly O'Donnell said in one of the videos. "She's like, 'I want to show you something,' and she has one of her instruments and she just taps the heart and it starts beating. And I'm sitting here and I'm looking at this fetus and it's heart is beating, and I don't know what to think."
Cruz called on the voters to "light up the phones" of elected officials to demand a stop to taxpayers money funding the group.
"Preaching from the pulpit Biblical values on life and comparing those values, the teachings of Jesus, to this nationwide business of trafficking in the body parts of unborn children is a message that needs to be hard around this country," Cruz said and added, "It is important that [Congress] hear also that a show vote will not suffice. An empty vote with no teeth on it will not suffice. Now is the time for Congress to act and actually end taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood."
He went on to say, "I don't have to remind anyone here of the atrocities being committed every day by Planned Parenthood. These videos that have been made public make vivid what we already knew."
Cruz gained nationwide attention when he tried block President Obama's health care law in 2013, leading a 21-hour floor speech that eventually led to a 16-day government shutdown.
Tuesday's conference call is part of a wide-ranging campaign to reach out to grass-roots organizations and distinguish the presidential contender from his other opponents and gain the votes of what Cruz described as "evangelical bracket," said NPR.org.
Cruz is facing competition from notable rivals, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum - as well as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Tea Party favorite Ben Carson.
Cruz kicked off his presidential campaign at the evangelical college, Liberty University in Virginia. He was toured across the South on a bus and led a rally in Des Moines, complete with blaring Christian rock music.
He warns voters that religion in America is under attack and that businesses, including service providers such as flowers, catering or even space services, who opposed same-sex marriage are under fire because of their beliefs.
"There is a war on faith in America today," Cruz said.