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Open Knowledge - Ron Paul on abortion

Jun. 11th, 2007

03:14 pm - Ron Paul on abortion

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stmachiavelli wrote:

Roe v. Wade is a terrible decision. It goes beyond bad.

But nothing Ron has done has worked towards changing that. Nothing. We know from another commenter that Ron doesn’t support, vote for, or sponsor legislation that he doesn’t actively support or write for. From this we can infer that his stance on abortion vs. states rights is pretty clear.

His belief in the wrongness of abortion outweighs his belief in the right for the states to decide.

To which I replied:

I think you and Paul are in agreement on abortion. Yes, he’s pro-life, but he doesn’t think it should be a matter decided at the Federal level:

http://yellowisthecolor.wordpress.com/2007/05/20/my-problem-with-ron-paul/

“Under the 9th and 10 amendments, all authority over matters not specifically addressed in the Constitution remains with state legislatures. Therefore the federal government has no authority whatsoever to involve itself in the abortion issue. So while Roe v. Wade is invalid, a federal law banning abortion across all 50 states would be equally invalid.”

http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Evils%20in%20America/Euthanasia/pro-life_politics-ron_paul.htm

“The notion that an all-powerful, centralized state should provide monolithic solutions to the ethical dilemmas of our times is not only misguided, but also contrary to our Constitution. Remember, federalism was established to allow decentralized, local decision-making by states. Yet modern America seeks a federal solution for every perceived societal ill, ignoring constitutional limits on government. The result is a federal state that increasingly makes all-or-nothing decisions that alienate large segments of the population.

This federalization of social issues, often championed by conservatives, has not created a pro-life culture, however. It simply has prevented the 50 states from enacting laws that more closely reflect the views of their citizens. Once we accepted the federalization of abortion law under the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, we lost the ability to apply local community standards to ethical issues. It is much more difficult for pro-life advocates to win politically at the federal level. Those who seek a pro-life culture must accept that we will never persuade 300 million Americans to agree with us. Our focus should be on overturning Roe and getting the federal government completely out of the business of regulating state matters. A pro-life culture can be built only from the ground up, person by person. For too long we have viewed the battle as purely political, but no political victory can change a degraded culture. A pro-life culture must arise from each of us as individuals, not by the edict of an amoral federal government.”

To which stmachiavelli said:

Its all well and good to say such things. It is, and I’ve found and read half a dozen quotes attributed to Ron Paul claiming much the same thing…

But then I have to go and reconcile those quotes with his voting recording.

And I can’t.

He’s voted in support of outlawing partial birth abortions (2000 and 2005)
He’s voted to provide Federal funds for health providers that do not provide abortion information (2002)
He’s voted against funding health providers that do provide abortions or abortion information (2000)

Not once, anywhere in his record do I see him proposing legislation to change that.

Me, because I ran out of room in the comments:

He’s voted in support of outlawing partial birth abortions (2000 and 2005)

I agree, he’s inconsistent here. Here’s what he wrote about it:

“Pro-life forces have worked for the passage of bills that disregard the federal system, such as the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, the federal cloning ban, and the Child Custody Protection Act. Each of these bills rested on specious constitutional grounds and undermined the federalism our Founders recognized and intended as the greatest protection of our most precious rights.

Each of these bills transfers to the federal government powers constitutionally retained by the states, thus upsetting the separation and balance of powers that federalism was designed to guarantee. To undermine federalism is to indirectly surrender the very principle upon which the protection of our inalienable right to life depends.

The worst offender of federalism is the so-called Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which not only indirectly surrenders the pro-life principle but actually directly undercuts the right to life by granting a specific exemption to abortionists! This exemption essentially allows some to take life with the sanction of federal law. By supporting this legislation, pro-lifers are expressly condoning a legal exemption for abortionists – showing just how far astray some in the pro-life community have gone.

Even the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, which is an integral part of the current pro-life agenda, presents a dilemma. While I have always supported this Act and plan to do so in the future, I realize that it raises questions of federalism because authority over criminal law is constitutionally retained by the states. The only reason a federal law has any legitimacy in this area is that the Supreme Court took it upon itself to federalize abortion via Roe v. Wade. Accordingly, wrestling the abortion issue from the federal courts and putting it back in the hands of the elected legislature comports with the Founder’s view of the separation of powers that protects our rights to life, liberty, and property.

Given these dilemmas, what should those of us in the pro-life community do? First, we must return to constitutional principles and proclaim them proudly. We must take a principled approach that recognizes both moral and political principles, and accepts the close relationship between them. Legislatively, we should focus our efforts on building support to overturn Roe v. Wade. Ideally this would be done in a fashion that allows states to again ban or regulate abortion. State legislatures have always had proper jurisdiction over issues like abortion and cloning; the pro-life movement should recognize that jurisdiction and not encroach upon it. The alternative is an outright federal ban on abortion, done properly via a constitutional amendment that does no violence to our way of government. ”

So he voted for a ban against a practice that he believes involves the systematic torture and murder of children, at the expense of federalism. I think he was wrong to do so, but I find it hard to judge him too harshly for it.

That said, he had many other opportunities to help expand Federal restrictions on abortion, but did not take them. Paul…

…voted against “Human Cloning Prohibition Act”

…voted against the “Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act”

” Nevertheless, rather than abide by our constitutional limits, Congress today will likely pass S. 403. S. 403 amends title 18, United States Code, to prohibit taking minors across State lines to avoid laws requiring the involvement of parents in abortion decisions. Should parents be involved in decisions regarding the health of their children? Absolutely. Should the law respect parents’ rights to not have their children taken across State lines for contemptible purposes? Absolutely. Can a State pass an enforceable statute to prohibit taking minors across State lines to avoid laws requiring the involvement of parents in abortion decisions? Absolutely. But when asked if there exists constitutional authority for the Federal criminalizing of just such an action the answer is absolutely not.”

..and against the “The Unborn Victims of Violence Act”:

“The Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2001, H.R. 1997, would amend title 18, United States Code, for the laudable goal of protecting unborn children from assault and murder. However, by expanding the class of victims to which unconstitutional, but already-existing, Federal murder and assault statutes apply, the Federal Government moves yet another step closer to a national police state.”

He’s voted to provide Federal funds for health providers that do not provide abortion information (2002)

Not exactly. The bill prohibits government agencies (Federal, state, or local) that accept Federal funding from discriminating against healthcare providers that refuse to provide abortions. That’s not the same as voting for additional funds.

He’s voted against funding health providers that do provide abortions or abortion information (2000)

And? I don’t see how this is inconsistent with his position. The government should not be in the position of providing any health care funding.

Not once, anywhere in his record do I see him proposing legislation to change that.

He introduced the We the People Act

“The We the People Act forbids federal courts, including the Supreme Court, from adjudicating cases concerning state laws and polices relating to religious liberties or “privacy,” including cases involving sexual practices, sexual orientation or reproduction.”

Original: craschworks - comments

Comments:

From:(Anonymous)
Date:June 11th, 2007 10:44 pm (UTC)

HR2597

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Ron Paul has introduced HR2597 which seems to be 1) an assertion that human life begins at conception and 2) law that makes abortion a states issue.
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From:crasch
Date:June 11th, 2007 11:02 pm (UTC)

Re: HR2597

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Thanks! I agree with the latter, disagree with the former.
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From:other
Date:June 11th, 2007 11:25 pm (UTC)
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This is the big issue I have with him. I don't think there should be local crimes. Perhaps local laws could nullify federal crimes, but it shouldn't create new crimes.

The "pro-life culture/conscience" talk in his quote isn't helpful. That "culture" is about throwing women and doctors in jail if the terminate a pregnancy. It isn't a "social issue"; it is a criminal one.
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From:crasch
Date:June 11th, 2007 11:37 pm (UTC)
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I don't think there should be local crimes. Perhaps local laws could nullify federal crimes, but it shouldn't create new crimes.


Well, we'll have to disagree there. From my perspective, it's much easier to move somewhere that has laws to my liking, than it is to try to change a bad law at the Federal level. Remember that a Federal government strong enough to enforce abortion freedom is also strong enough to enforce a Federal ban. Different laws also allow us to gather evidence about which laws actually work best.
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From:other
Date:June 11th, 2007 11:40 pm (UTC)
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I'll grant you that it'll make good social science.
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From:drewkitty
Date:June 12th, 2007 05:05 am (UTC)
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>> I don't think there should be local crimes.

Are you sure?

Murder is a local crime.
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From:other
Date:June 12th, 2007 11:30 am (UTC)
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Murder is a local crime.

Huh? I think we are using the term 'local' very differently. Murder is a crime pretty much everywhere. There doesn't need to be different statutes for murder in each local government.
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From:drewkitty
Date:June 12th, 2007 03:34 pm (UTC)
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I teach the fundamentals of criminal law at work.

Whether or not "there should be" a national or Federal statute for murder is a debatable question. I think it's a horrible idea, personally, but don't have time to get into it here.

That in the United States, the killing of a human being is a matter that rests under each state's jurisdiction (except in unusual circumstances such as the murder of a Federal employee or a violation of civil rights) is a matter of fact and not up for debate.

Be aware that not only does each state make its own laws, but then the state courts apply very different views of these laws through case law and appellate decisions.

A lawful act of self defense in Texas is murder in California.

I will add that I like the framework laid out in Roe v. Wade because it's workable.

Federal pre-emption on two points, very roughly so: states may not outlaw abortion in the 1st trimester; states may not permit abortion in the 3rd trimester.

After that, it's up to each state to fight out the details.

Perhaps I'd like to see similar limited Federal pre-emption on individual rights issues, BUT ONLY individual rights issues. Free speech, voting, and firearms law cries out for a similar loose framework, within which an individual state can be permissive or restrictive, but not outside certain reasonable bounds.

If you're comfortable with Roe v. Wade, and you're not comfortable with the last paragraph, THINK ABOUT IT.


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From:(Anonymous)
Date:June 12th, 2007 10:24 am (UTC)

local crime

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I would MUCH rather see local officials with the authority over all crime, versus the Feds. You know, it is a hell of alot easier to change a local law, and costs a lot less, than it is to change a national one.

That is why everyone should support the decentralization / state's rights arguments.
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From:other
Date:June 12th, 2007 11:23 am (UTC)

Re: local crime

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Well, I do think most rules and regulations should be local/decentralized. However, indictable offences are a different matter. Those should be federal, very very minimal, and where the local government can repel parts of the criminal code. (Repelling articles locally should be much easier compared to rewriting laws federally.)

The reason can be seen in Paul's quote. There is a tendency to try to create things such as a "pro-life culture" or otherwise use criminal law to propagate a social agenda. Indictable offences should be seen in a different way and should be restricted to a minimal (repealable) code.

I fear that decentralizing indictable criminal law (esp. in anarcho-capitalism) would just create a large set of crimes, setting things people do not like into criminal indictable offenses. There needs to be a sharp distinction between criminal statutes and regulatory rules.

This way of thinking is much closer to the way the Canadian Criminal Code is set up. I've found that it's a completely foreign way of thinking when I talk to American lawyers about it, but it's a common idea up here.
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From:mindwalker
Date:June 12th, 2007 01:28 am (UTC)
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I disagree with Ron Paul on abortion and one or two other items, but I'd much rather support a candidate with whom I'm 98% in sync with than one who favors my viewpoint 2% of the time and opposes it 98% of the time (Giuliani and others come to mind). But it's difficult to get the liberal women in my family to see past the abortion position. If I were them, I might weigh the issue more heavily, too.
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From:crasch
Date:June 12th, 2007 01:32 am (UTC)
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Agreed.
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 14th, 2009 02:04 pm (UTC)

taking a minor across state lines

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I know this is an old topic, but I just found it.

I thought the one thing the federal govt was allowed to day was regulate interstate commerce? I think taking a minor across state lines to murder her baby is such an offense.

As such, Ron Paul lost my vote on that one. I realy wanted to vote for him, but couldn't bc I didn't see him as pro-life.
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 17th, 2010 02:06 pm (UTC)

abortion

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whenever you have a million people on one side of an issue and a million people on the other side of an issue, who is right and who is wrong?
the tougher the issue the more local it should remain-if you don`t like the abortion laws or any laws in your state, you are free to move to a state/community where people share your beliefs-if the laws are federal then where can you go to live with like/minded people?
and this isn`t about traveling across state lines to get an abortion, this about living in a state where you agree with the state`s laws-
ron is correct in that the abortion issue should be as local as possible
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