Ron Paul: Pro-Life But Questioned on States’ Rights Approach

Politics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 13, 2011   |   1:56PM   |   Washington, DC

There is little doubt that Congressman Ron Paul, who is in the middle of his second consecutive attempt at securing the Republican presidential nomination, is pro-life. The congressman and doctor has delivered thousands of babies as an OBGYN and his has spoken in a compelling away about an abortion experience that transformed his views and solidified his pro-life position.

An October campaign ad featured Dr. Paul’s recollection of his early years as a physician, where he recounts a time when he witnessed the tragic irony surrounding urgent medical care provided, and denied, to a wanted baby delivered prematurely and an unwanted baby that survived a late-term abortion. Paul is by trade an OB-GYN who personally delivered more than 4,000 babies.

Paul himself is interviewed in the commercial, saying, “This whole notion of life not being valuable just is something I was never able to accept.”

The doctor recalls a time when he witnessed an abortion: “I happened to have walked into an operating room where they were doing an abortion on a late pregnancy. They lifted out a small baby that was able to cry and breathe and they put it in a bucket and put it in the corner of the room. and pretended it wasn’t there. I walked down the hallway and a baby was born early — slightly bigger than the baby they put in the bucket and they wanted to save this baby. So they might have had 10 doctors in there doing everything conceivable [to save that baby’s life].”

“Who are we to decide that we pick and throw one away and pick up and struggle to save the other ones,” Paul continues. “Unless we resolve this and understand that life is precious and we must protect life, we can’t protect liberty.”

While Paul frequently votes pro-life in Congress, he has upset pro-life advocates with his anti-federalist view of the issue of abortion — taking a states’ rights position that federal legislation should not place any limits on abortion, preferring that state’s undertake their own abortion bans.

Paul voted against the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act and the Child Custody Protection Act — bills to ensure that home state parental involvement laws on abortion are not violated by taking teen girls to another state for a secret abortion. Paul also voted against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act to offer additional protection and justice for unborn children who are victims of non-abortion crimes.

Jim Graham, executive director of Texas Right to Life, tells the National Catholic Register this division between Paul’s pro-life views and how he sometimes votes is a cause for concern.

“While Dr. Paul is a solid, pro-life obstetrician who has delivered thousands of babies, his belief that the issue of abortion should be solely addressed on the state level should give all pro-lifers grave concern,” he said.

“Abortion — like polygamy or slavery — is not an issue that needs to be or can be exclusively addressed on the state level,” Graham continued. “Furthermore, the last time that view was embraced about a major social issue our nation was plunged into the Civil War. If the right to life is not a federal issue, what is?”

Paul signed the pro-life pledge of the Susan B. Anthony List to support more abortion limits, de-funding the Planned Parenthood abortion business, and to nominate, as president, judges who would respect the Constitution and not legislate from the bench on abortion.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, told the Catholic newspaper she believes Paul is pro-life and would advance the pro-life cause as president.

“Rep. Paul has made his pro-life position one of prominence in his race for the White House, and we trust that, if elected president, Mr. Paul would continue the fight at a federal level by appointing strict constructionist judges to the Supreme Court, working to defund Planned Parenthood and advancing a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” she said.

“As a physician,” Dannenfelser added, “few know better than Ron Paul the horrors of abortion: that is, the taking of innocent life. This experience gives him firsthand knowledge of why this election is a must-win for the pro-life movement and that President Barack Obama, the most pro-abortion president in history, must be defeated.”