While most libertarians support legal abortion, Ron Paul is to be commended for not only resisting that trend but using his knowledge and experience as an obstetrician to promote the pro-life point of view. There are many pro-life Catholics (and other Christians) who like Ron Paul’s views on economics and foreign policy who otherwise would not support his candidacy if Ron Paul were pro-choice. Without these voters, Ron Paul’s vote totals would be definitely be lower.
So I’m glad that Ron Paul is generally pro-life. But he sure could do better on the defense of human life. Let’s look at some votes he cast before he started running for president in 2008.
- Ron Paul voted No on a national ban on human cloning, Roll Call No. 39 on Feb. 27, 2003.
- Ron Paul voted No on a bill that would prevent taking minors across state lines to avoid parental notification laws, Roll Call No. 479 on Sept. 26, 2006.
- Ron Paul vote No on the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which would allow federal and military prosecutors to bring charges on behalf of a child “in utero” when they have been attacked in a federal or military crime. Roll Call No. 31 on February 26, 2004.
Supporters of Ron Paul would defend him on these votes on the grounds that he’s simply a federalist and strong defender of the Constitution and that abortion shouldn’t be a federal issue. Murder like most crimes are a state crime, Ron Paul has said often.
But what about the 14th Amendment to the Constitution? This is the Amendment after all which was passed because state laws were not protecting the liberties of millions of their citizens.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
So when New York legalized abortion in 1970 (before Roe v. Wade) they were allowing their own citizens to be deprived of their right to life enshrined in our Constitution. Think of it this way, if Colorado passed a law allowing you to kill someone if they had red hair, would you say Congress had no right to stop Colorado? Of course not. Unlike education or energy policy, the right to life is protected by our U.S. Constitution. We should make a federal case about it.
Finally, in several debates, Ron Paul has promoted his bill called the Sanctity of Life Act. He notes that the bill would strip jurisdiction over abortion from the federal courts, thus rendering the Supreme Court unable to overturn state laws protecting unborn life (like Roe had done so notoriously 39 years ago.)
But there’s a major problem with supporters of Ron Paul using this bill to show how pro-life he is. Especially when he’s voted no on great pro-bills over the last decade. Let me explain.
Back in 2004, Republicans held both the House and the Senate and George W. Bush was in the White House. Rep. Todd Akin, R-MO, authored the Pledge Protection Act, which would strip the federal court of any jurisdiction over the Pledge of Allegiance. While his bill passed the Republican-led House, it died in the Republican-led Senate. It never reached President Bush’s desk.
If we can’t get a court jurisdiction bill on the Pledge to become law with Republicans in charge of the House, Senate and the White House, what makes us think we could ever get Ron Paul’s bill passed? It would be naive to think this is a winning strategy. This bill has almost no chance of becoming law anytime soon. Quite simply, supporting Ron Paul’s Sanctity of Life Act is not an effective way to combat legal abortion in the United States. And it certainly doesn’t exonerate someone for casting some bad votes.