Monday, January 28, 2008

Paul on Roe v. Wade: "a big mistake"

James Freedman on with an interview with Ron Paul on life, liberty, and abortion...

Before getting elected to Congress in the late 1970s, Paul delivered more than 4,000 babies as an OB/GYN. When it comes to abortion, he believes the mother's freedom of choice is mitigated by an obligation to protect the life of the "unborn child," stating on his campaign Web site that he never found abortion necessary to save the life of one of his patients. He is also a sponsor of HR 300, proposed legislation that his Web site says would "negate the effects of Roe v. Wade."

If elected president, Paul told me he would continue to pursue such a policy.

"I think the Roe v. Wade situation was a big mistake and the states ought to have the right to decide on the issue, so I would deny jurisdiction to the federal courts on abortion issues," he said.

Roe v. Wade was decided in large part under the doctrine of substantive due process as an issue of privacy. Paul thinks that basis for the ruling is flawed.

"I don't see it as a privacy issue," he said. "I think it's only a life issue. As an obstetrician, I can verify the fact that the life does exist. It's very much alive, and it's very human, and I have a legal responsibility for it. If I do any harm, I can be sued for it. If an individual kills a fetus, they can be hauled off to court for it. So it's a legal life. To say that life doesn't exist -- if someone kills a fetus in a car accident, they have to answer to this. So why is it life one time but not another time?"

While admitting situations such as rape and incest require further consideration, he continued his rebuke of the Supreme Court's privacy basis for legalizing abortion.

"The government doesn't have the right to invade your home or have cameras in your home," he said. "That doesn't give you the right to kill a child just because it was born and it was in the crib and you didn't like the way it looked and you went, 'Oh, we don't want to keep this baby.' Everybody knows it's illegal and it's killing. But one minute before the baby's born they come to me and if I did the abortion I'd get paid for it. So that's a real contradiction about the definition of life."

While some would consider his stance on abortion and many of his other positions inconsistent, Paul does not think so, instead tying in his pro-life stance with the larger logic of his world-view.

"If I can't defend life, how am I going to defend the liberty of every single individual on how they're going to run their lives? And I essentially do that, so I think that I have to be consistent on defending life or the defense of liberty doesn't hold up."


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