Ron Paul on Abortion

Yesterday I started in on Ron Paul’s new book Liberty Defined: The 50 Urgent Issues That Affect Our Freedom. So far it’s been an interesting read, though not as in-depth as I might have liked. Basically, it includes fifty short chapters with an overview of Paul’s libertarian views on the issues.

It was intriguing, though, to read the first chapter, which is on abortion (the issues are presented in alphabetical order). A gynecologist before entering the world of politics, Dr. Paul is staunchly against the practice of abortion, but his arguments against it are completely areligious. Instead, his pro-life stance is rooted in classic libertarian ideas of personal liberty, which also extends the concept of “pro-life” to opposing the death penalty and “preventive” wars of aggression. This has put him at odds with people all over the political spectrum.

Here is a summary of some of his biggest points:

  • There is no consistent moral basis for defending abortion as a “right”.
  • The federal government has no authority to rule on abortion as a right, as the Constitution lists only four crimes which come under federal jurisdiction: counterfeiting, piracy, treason, and slavery. Abortion’s legality should be left to the states.
  • For the same reason, pro-life groups that seek a federal ruling to end abortion nationally “give credence to the very process that made abortions so prevalent.”
  • Laws and legislation will never be able to fully end the practice of abortion. “Only a truly moral society can do that.”
  • Deregulating the adoption market would reduce the number of abortions, as people would have far fewer hoops to jump through to give birth mothers options.
  • People cannot be consistently pro-life if they affirm things like torture, capital punishment, nation-building, and wars of aggression. It is an irony that most who so strongly oppose abortion now approve of the rest of these things, and vice versa.
For more, you can read the entire chapter online here. For MUCH more, you can read his 1983 book Abortion and Liberty, which is also free online here. He’s certainly been consistent in his position. In the opening line of that book he writes, “Abortion is the most fundamental issue involving natural rights and individual liberty.”

2 comments on “Ron Paul on Abortion

  1. […] Defined (published last year — abortion chapter available online here and summarized here), and Being Pro-Life Is Necessary to Defend Liberty, a position paper written in 1981 back when […]

  2. […] from Liberty Defined. This chapter is available for free online here, and I have summarized it here. It’s only a few pages, but is perhaps the most articulate, succinct moral defense of the […]

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