If you ever wondered what a single person in the minority could do, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) just provided a pretty compelling example. After days of being a one-man thorn in the Democrats’ side, the Kentucky Republican pulled out an impressive win today on a bill that could have had major consequences for the unborn. While everyone was in a rush to get more Russian sanctions out the door, Paul’s decision to slow things down may have saved lives in a lot more places than Ukraine.
“I’ve let my colleagues on both sides of the aisle know that I’ll stand up, even if it’s unpopular,” Paul explained on “Washington Watch.” And in this instance, it wasn’t so much that his objections were unpopular, it’s that too many senators were in a hurry to make a statement on Ukraine — without reading the fine print. “Most people [want to do] something to show our objection to [Vladimir] Putin’s aggression,” he agreed, but as part of this new wave of sanctions, Democrats wanted to overhaul the tool they’d use: the Global Magnitsky Act. Instead of just reauthorizing that popular piece of legislation, Joe Biden’s party wanted to water down the definitions for “human rights abuses.”
At first blush, Paul pointed out, maybe that doesn’t sound like a big deal. After all, they were only going to change the term from “gross” human rights abuses to “serious” human rights abuses. “You’d read that and say, ‘Well, yeah, we’re all against serious human rights abuses. We should punish people who do that.'” The problem is, he went on, that Democrats didn’t want to define what “serious human rights abuses” actually mean. And, as we all know from listening to the far-Left, they have all kinds of outrageous ideas about what constitutes a human right: free abortions, free college tuition, free housing, free health care, or transgender treatments.
Most Americans would be wildly opposed to their interpretations. And yet, under this new language that Democrats were promoting, a very liberal president of the United States could say, “We’re going to sanction pro-life countries for the ‘serious human rights violation’ of not allowing full-term abortions.” It was going to pass, giving radical administrations a new and powerful ideological weapon, “because of the emotions of the day,” Paul said. “And nobody was willing to stand up.”
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When Paul did, the Left went berserk, accusing him of being “outdated, antiquated, obscure.” “They said I was a minority of one. They said nobody was on my side, and I should just be quiet and sit down. But interestingly, after I stood up, I hear more and more from a lot of people…” Including FRC, who reporters pointed out, was the only one to sound the alarm early on.
Suddenly, more Republicans started to see the wisdom in Paul’s and FRC’s objections, and the Democrats — tired of duking it out and postponing the bill — eventually caved. “In the end, by standing up… [we’re] going back to the original language, which does define human rights abuses as things that we can all agree extrajudicial killing, kidnaping, genocide, all the terrible things that almost every human on the planet would agree is a human rights abuse.” This morning, thanks to Paul’s efforts, the Magnitsky Act passed unanimously with language that won’t be used as a club against conservative nations.
“They were very bitter,” Paul said about the defeated Senate Democrats. They didn’t think he’d be willing to “take the grief” it would require to hold out. But the Kentucky senator took the grief, and Americans — and unborn children the world over — are grateful for it.
LifeNews Note: Tony Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council.