Rand Paul, son of Congressman Ron Paul, recently made news when, after winning the Kentucky GOP primary for U.S. Senate, he declared that private discrimination should be legal on the basis of property rights and free association.
Yet Paul believes the government should control women’s bodies by preventing them from obtaining abortions and common forms of birth control. He thinks a store owner has the right to keep out black patrons, but he does not think a woman has the right to control her own reproductive functions. He doesn’t think government should interfere to stop private racism, but he thinks government should throw women and their doctors in prison for facilitating abortions.
The logical conclusion of abortion bans is that government agents should forcibly restrain women to prevent them from getting abortions. After all, if abortion is murder, as advocates of abortion bans routinely claim, then driving down the street to obtain an abortion is morally and legally equivalent to driving down the street with a loaded shotgun to blow your neighbor’s head off. Police have every right to arrest and forcibly restrain threatening individuals. If abortion is murder, then a woman who declares her intent to get an abortion has threatened murder and must be strapped down if necessary to ensure delivery.
But a fertilized egg is not a person. A fertilized egg does not properly have the legal rights of a born infant. Abortion is not murder. Women have every right to take birth control drugs or obtain an abortion. Abortion bans place a woman’s body under the control of the government and threaten to unleash a heavy-handed police state. (For a more complete case against abortion bans, see the paper written by Diana Hsieh and me.)
As a would-be abortion banner, Paul is the enemy of liberty, property rights, and free association.
Consider what Paul writes on his web page:
I am 100% pro life. I believe abortion is taking the life of an innocent human being.
I believe life begins at conception and it is the duty of our government to protect this life.
I will always vote for any and all legislation that would end abortion or lead us in the direction of ending abortion.
I believe in a Human Life Amendment and a Life at Conception Act as federal solutions to the abortion issue. I also believe that while we are working toward this goal, there are many other things we can accomplish in the near term. …
In addition, I believe we may be able to save millions of lives in the near future by allowing states to pass their own anti-abortion laws. If states were able to do so, I sincerely believe many — including Kentucky — would do so tomorrow, saving hundreds of thousands of lives.
Before 1973, abortion was illegal in most states. Since Roe v. Wade, over 50 million children have died in abortion procedures.
I would strongly support legislation restricting federal courts from hearing cases like Roe v. Wade. Such legislation would only require a majority vote, making it more likely to pass than a pro-life constitutional amendment.
I would support legislation, a Sanctity of Life Amendment, establishing the principle that life begins at conception. This legislation would define life at conception in law, as a scientific statement.
As your Senator, there are many ways I can help end abortion. I will fight for each and every one of them.
Paul helpfully includes links to two Kentucky surveys on abortion and related matters.
In response to a survey from the Kentucky Right to Life Association Political Action Committee, Paul supported the following positions:
* A nation abortion ban.
* Abortion bans even in cases of rape and incest.
* Possible bans on “chemical abortions, such as RU-486, the abortion pill, and other drugs known to prevent the newly created human being from attaching to his/her mother’s womb (implantation).” Notably, the birth control pill and the IUD can prevent implantation. (The survey asks whether the responder is “morally and/or medically opposed to chemical abortions,” which does not necessarily imply support for outright bans.)
* Bans on the medical use of embryonic stem cells.
* Legally required “nutrition and hydration” for “cognitively disabled people, like Terri Schiavo.” The survey dishonestly conflates the condition of Schiavo, who was in a vegetative state for many years, with any sort of “disability.”
In response to the Northern Kentucky Right to Life 2010 Election Candidate Questionnaire, Paul supported the following positions:
* A national abortion ban.
* Criminal penalties for anyone who facilitates an abortion, except “to prevent the death of the mother who is suffering from a physical pathology.” (No exception is made for abortions that would merely protect the health of the woman.)
* Bans on the medical use of embryonic stem cells.
* Bans on the “withdrawal from an infant, incompetent, or comatose person of food and water,” “except in cases where death is imminent and the patient cannot assimilate food or water.” As with the last survey, this one dishonestly conflates people with slight medical conditions with the medically brain-dead.
In light of Paul’s views on abortion, reproduction, and end-of-life decisions, nobody should be asking whether Paul advocates too much liberty.