Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Ron Paul on Abortion


Former Congressman Ron Paul is a libertarian. Many people associate libertarians with the pro-abortion movement, and some libertarians are apart of that movement. However, many libertarians, including Ron Paul, are strongly pro-life in their convictions. As opposed to mainstream America, libertarians derive their position on abortion, whatever it might be, from pursuing the question of what is best in line with protecting liberty.

For Paul, it boils down to the famous phrase he uttered during a presidential debate: 
 “If you can't protect life then how can you protect liberty?” 
Ron Paul wrote extensively about that very question in his book Abortion and Liberty, written in 1983 and with a forward by C. Everett Koop, which can be read at this link: 

http://files.meetup.com/504095/Ron%20Paul-Abortion%20and%20Liberty.pdf

He also wrote about it in a more recent book, Liberty Defined. The audio book version can be listened to on YouTube:


With Paul's pro-life credentials established, what is his solution to the problem?

He believes it should be handled on the state level like other forms of violence and criminalized accordingly. While he supports federal legislation defining life at conception, the enforcement would occur at the state level. Currently, under Roe v. Wade, this is not an option. 

Roe v. Wade held that abortion was an essential liberty extended by the Due Process Clause of the 14th amendment:
[N]or shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.
This interpretation is faulty. First, it denies the human life of the baby in question. Secondly, one does not have the liberty to kill, or to forfeit the implied contract that is a pregnancy.

The ruling by the Supreme Court was as an appellate action pursuant to the Judiciary Act of 1789, in which it was granted jurisdiction over federal courts such as the one were the case originated. The Constitution describes the jurisdiction of the court as follows:
In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.
As you can see, the domain of the Supreme Court is very small. It can be expanded, however only under regulations specifically prescribed by Congress.

It is certainly possible that states could employ state nullification or interposition as articulated by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, which Ron Paul supports. Another option is a less controversial. This option would still cause enormous uproar and possibly a constitutional crisis, but likely to a lesser degree than nullification.

This option would involve Congress retroactively putting restrictions on the Court's power to rule on cases of abortion, and would declare Roe v. Wade invalid and void. Immediately, this would send all abortion regulation to the state level under the 10th amendment.

The bill that would accomplish this is the Sanctity of Life Act. First introduced by Congressman Steve Stockman of Texas, it was subsequently re-introduced by Ron Paul for years.

Some in the pro-life movement ironically oppose this motion to return the authority to the states. If they cannot achieve a total ban, they will not accept any ban. This is unfortunate.

The pro-life movement ought to unite behind Ron Paul's solution to the abortion calamity. It is something libertarians and social conservatives can agree on. And it is much more viable than hoping the Court will overrule itself in the coming decades.


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