Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Ron Paul: Consistently Pro-life and Pro-liberty

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Despite the best efforts of the establishment media, Ron Paul’s campaign for President is gaining momentum nationwide as his “unorthodox” views are becoming more widely disseminated and understood by an American public slavering for salvation from the economic and moral abyss toward which the country is slouching.

There are some on the Right, however, who refuse to join the revolution. 

Because of his strictly constitutional interpretation of all major issues, Ron Paul has been called “pro-choice state by state" by an influential pro-life organization.

This is disingenuous at best and deceitful at worst.

Ron Paul is unqualifiedly in favor of affording the full panoply of legal rights to the unborn. In fact, he is so ardently opposed to abortion that earlier this year he declared the right to life “the most important issue of our age.”

Paul knows of what he speaks, for unlike all his fellow GOP presidential hopefuls, he is a doctor. Not just a doctor, but an obstetrician who has delivered over 4,000 babies. As such he has sworn a solemn oath to protect life and above all else, to do no harm.

Dr. Paul began practicing medicine in 1961 after graduating from Duke University’s School of Medicine, and as such he has benefited from an insider’s point of view of the politics and practice of obstetrics in both the pre- and post- Roe v. Wade eras.

In his highly recommendable and imminently impressive book, Liberty Defined, Paul describes in disturbing detail an eyewitness account of the shocking violence that is an abortion.

On one occasion in the 1960s when abortion was still illegal, I witnessed, while visiting a surgical suite as an OB/GYN resident, the abortion of a fetus that weighed approximately two pounds. It was placed in a bucket, crying and struggling to breathe, and the medical personnel pretended not to notice. Soon the crying stopped. This harrowing event forced me to think more seriously about this important issue.

Naturally, the so-called “pro-choice” lobby decries such sentimentality and labels Ron Paul’s position “extreme.” Famously, this side of the issue crows that its motivating principle is freedom. That is to say, the freedom of the pregnant woman to exercise unfettered sovereignty over her body, up to and including, the killing of a baby growing inside her.

The logical end of their position seems to elude these partisans. Dr. Paul ably exposes the hypocrisy underlying the “pro-choice” argument.

Others argue that the mother has a right to her body and no one should interfere with her decision. It’s amazing to me that many people I have spoken to in the pro-choice group rarely care about choice in other circumstances. Almost all regulations by the federal government to protect us from ourselves (laws against smoking, bans on narcotics, and mandatory seat belts, for example) are readily supported by the left/liberals who demand “choice.” Of course, to the pro-choice group, the precious choice we debate is limited to the mother and not to the unborn.

As with most other issues about which he is questioned, Ron Paul chooses the side of the Constitution and liberty. Abortion is no exception. During an appearance on the now-discontinued Fox News program Hannity and Colmes, Ron Paul summed up his position with his typical economy of language: “If you can’t protect life, then how can you protect liberty?”

He elegantly elucidates the point in his Liberty Defined:

A society that readily condones abortion invites attacks on personal liberty. If all life is not precious, how can all liberty be held up as important? It seems that if some life can be thrown away, our right to personally choose what is best for us is more difficult to defend. I’ve become convinced that resolving the abortion issue is required for a healthy defense of a free society.

That question, then, brings up another — one that is the most salient question of the entire debate: When does life begin? Does it begin at conception, at birth, or at some other intermediate point?

Ron Paul unapologetically declares that he believes that life begins at conception and “that casual elimination of the unborn leads to a careless attitude towards all life.”

Given his preference for keeping all of his galaxy of views orbiting around a constitutional center, it is no surprise that Paul points to the limited, specific, and enumerated powers of the Constitution for evidence of the unconstitutionality of Roe v. Wade:

It is now widely accepted that there’s a constitutional right to abort a human fetus. Of course, the Constitution says nothing about abortion, murder, manslaughter, or any other acts of violence. There are only four crimes listed in the Constitution: counterfeiting, piracy, treason, and slavery.

As an outspoken advocate of the 10th Amendment and the right of states to be self-governing, Dr. Paul consistently applies those beliefs to the abortion issue. Occasionally, this fealty to federalism has resulted in Paul’s pro-life credentials being questioned by those gathered in the center tent of the right-to-life camp.

Strangely, given that my moral views are akin to theirs, various national pro-life groups have been hostile to my position on this issue. But I also believe in the Constitution, and therefore, I consider it a state-level responsibility to restrain violence against any human being.

It is curious, moreover, that there is some hypocrisy on the Right on the issue of life, as well. There is a significant band in the Republican spectrum that consistently beats the war drum in the name of “homeland security.” Many of these (Rick Santorum, to name one notable example) are also strident supporters of the pro-life position on abortion. 

Critics have wondered, however, where this bloc’s vaunted love of life is when it comes to the thousands of lives (American and otherwise) lost in the illegal and unconstitutional foreign conflicts being prosecuted in the Middle East.

Despite the inability of many in the pro-life movement to appreciate the nuance in Dr. Paul’s stance on abortion that is created by his rock-ribbed devotion to the Constitution, during his time in Congress, Paul has offered legislation that would severely reduce the scope of the federal government’s jurisdiction over abortion.

The hope is that by locking the federal government out of the debate (that is to say, by forcing it to remain obediently within the bounds of its constitutional power), the states will be permitted to exercise their nearly atrophied muscle of sovereignty and completely outlaw abortion from conception to birth. This desire is informed not only by a love of life and liberty, but by a reliance on the protection of both afforded by adherence to the Constitution on every issue, every time, without exception.

In that vein, those who hold both life and liberty as precious, should be buoyed by the constitutional reality that Article III grants to Congress the power to restrict the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. Were Congress to employ this power, the need for a Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade would be obviated. Electing pro-life and pro-liberty Congressmen, then, is where the onus for abolishing abortion should be constitutionally placed.

Supporters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and throughout the country, can count on Ron Paul to be a steadfast ally of the Constitution and of the unborn. 

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