By Danielle Rhymes
This question has popped up a few times recently, and I realized just how much of a misconception has been instilled by the media concerning Ron Paul on social issues. One problem that many Republicans have with Ron Paul is that they think he is not socially conservative. Discussing every social issue in one writing would be overwhelming, though I do plan to address others in the future. For now I will focus on the top priority social issue for conservatives—abortion. I knew that Ron Paul did not support Roe v. Wade on the grounds that abortion is not in the realm of the federal government’s authority, but what I did not know even as a Ron Paul supporter, and is little known, is that Ron Paul is in fact the most pro-life politician in D.C.
Ron Paul introduced the Sanctity of Life Act bill in 2005 that would define personhood as beginning at conception and bar the Supreme Court from interfering with state prohibitions on abortion—essentially a permanent repeal of Roe v. Wade. Interestingly, the bill only had five co-sponsors. Ron Paul introduced this bill again in 2007, again with only five cosponsors. In 2009, Ron Paul introduced the bill yet again with three cosponsors. In the current legislative session, he is a cosponsor of the Protect Life Act, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, and the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, all of which prohibit federal funds from being used to fund abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or endangerment of the mother’s life.
Interestingly, a similarly titled bill introduced by Representative Broun, The Sanctity of Human Life Act, received many more cosponsors, yet, with all due respect to Rep. Broun et. al., does not have nearly the same weight as Paul’s version. The Broun bill with all of its good intention has little real legal substance. Paul’s version expresses the same ideology but with actual legal weight outlined in great detail. The Broun bill, outside of expressing the ideology that human life begins at conception, claims that Congress, the States, and U.S. territories have the authority to protect human life within their respective jurisdictions but with no detail as to how to protect that jurisdiction in the current context (e.g. how to prevent the meddling of an activist Supreme Court). The Paul bill expresses not only ideology but the fact that scientific findings support that ideology; additionally, his bill specifically prohibits the Supreme Court from reviewing any law on the basis that it protects the rights of human life between conception and birth or prohibits the performance and/or funding of abortions in any way. It addresses the real obstacles that are likely to come up if, hopefully when, a pro-life bill passes.
There are times where one must use a pragmatic eye to get results, even on an issue as sensitive as abortion. This is an example of the genius of our founders. Controversial issues left in the states’ hands make it so 1. It is much more likely that people can actually make the change they want. 2. People can move to a state with different laws if they are unhappy with the existing laws. 3. The subject is less divisive nationally and allows the federal government to focus on issues that can be resolved. I am not implying that I do not support a federal ban on abortion. I would like to see a Constitutional amendment, which would be necessary to prevent another Roe v. Wade, similar to those recognizing all races and women as full persons with full rights. However, rather than waiting until such a change, it makes sense to argue the practical (which is currently Constitutional) to save these innocent lives in at least some states rather than waiting for all fifty to get on board. The political consequences of one state prohibiting abortion would almost certainly go a long way toward the final goal of such a Constitutional amendment. Ron Paul at CPAC 2008:
I have a bill in Congress which I would certainly promote and push as President. But it’s been ignored by the right-to-life community. My bill is called the Sanctity of Life bill. What it would do is it would establish the principle that life begins at conception. That’s not a political statement, but a scientific statement that I’m making. We’re all interested in a better court system, and amending the Constitution to protect life–but sometimes that is dismissing the way we can handle this much quicker. My bill removes the jurisdiction of the federal courts from the issue of abortion. If a state law says “no abortion,” it doesn’t go to the Supreme Court to be ruled out of order.
All the cosponsors of Ron Paul’s bill, Reps. Jones, Bartlett, and Garrett, also cosponsored Broun’s bill. So the obvious question is, where were the other 58 of Broun’s cosponsors, whom we’d assume are pro-life, on Paul’s bill? Not one Oklahoma representative, Tea Party fave Paul Ryan, or former Presidential candidate Duncan Hunter.
Many conservatives also do not know where Ron Paul stands as far as his faith is concerned. He is modest, but if you go looking you can find out what he has to say. Unfortunately, the media doesn’t perform this task for us, leaving an incomplete picture in the minds of conservatives when compared to, say, Huckabee or Romney. So I gladly here, leave you with a quote from Ron Paul’s “Statement of Faith” from 2007:
I have never been one who is comfortable talking about my faith in the political arena. In fact, the pandering that typically occurs in the election season I find to be distasteful. But for those who have asked, I freely confess that Jesus Christ is my personal Savior, and that I seek His guidance in all that I do. I know, as you do, that our freedoms come not from man, but from God. My record of public service reflects my reverence for the Natural Rights with which we have been endowed by a loving Creator.
I have worked tirelessly to defend and restore those rights for all Americans, born and unborn alike. The right of an innocent, unborn child to life is at the heart of the American ideal of liberty. My professional and legislative record demonstrates my strong commitment to this pro-life principle.
In 40 years of medical practice, I never once considered performing an abortion, nor did I ever find abortion necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman. In Congress, I have authored legislation that seeks to define life as beginning at conception, H.R. 1094. I am also the prime sponsor of H.R. 300, which would negate the effect of Roe v Wade by removing the ability of federal courts to interfere with state legislation to protect life. This is a practical, direct approach to ending federal court tyranny which threatens our constitutional republic and has caused the deaths of 45 million of the unborn. I have also authored H.R. 1095, which prevents federal funds to be used for so-called “population control.” Many talk about being pro-life. I have taken and will continue to advocate direct action to restore protection for the unborn.
Full-text of Broun’s bill: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111%3AH.R.227:
Full-text of Paul’s bill: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111%3AH.R.2533:
Paul currently sponsoring/cosponsoring (click his name, then click search): http://thomas.loc.gov/home/LegislativeData.php?&n=BSS&c=112
Ron Paul’s “Statement of Faith”: http://www.covenantnews.com/ronpaul070721.htm
R3publicans is pleased to have this feature post by Danielle Rhymes, the wife of Jeremy Rhymes, who is currently serving as an intern for OKGrassroots. Jeremy has been working on the issue of State Sovereignty while finishing up his education. His post on the State Sovereignty Resolution was recently featured here. We look forward to many more posts in the years to come from the Rhymes.
Special thanks to Life of the Party for providing the link references for the graphic artist Leah Tiscione featured on this post