When I Don’t Love Ron Paul

Followers of my blog and Facebook posts will have noticed that I am a supporter of Ron Paul. However, as I’ve mentioned in the past, he is by no means a totally “ideal” candidate for me. Because I have posted several favorable articles about the good Doctor, I feel it’s only fair to point out areas in which I am not comfortable with his positions.

While Paul is very smart, and usually a very capable teacher, he occasionally says things that make absolutely no sense. A prime example occurred a few days ago on CNN, in an interview with Piers Morgan. He was being questioned on abortion, and gave a maddeningly wishy-washy answer:

Doug Wilson takes Paul to task on this (and other problematic issues with strict Libertarianism) in this article (HT: Denny Burk), which I commend to you. The thing that is so frustrating is that this is so inconsistent with the position on abortion that Paul has so clearly and consistently established in the past. To have made such a good medical case (having been a longtime OB) for life beginning at conception in books and papers over the span of a career, and then to totally undermine his own position by seeming to not know what “conception” is just doesn’t make good sense.

I wonder, for instance, how his comments in the above video are reconciled with this quote from his 1983 book Abortion and Liberty (which is available online here):

To permit abortion at one day of gestation justifies it at two days; if it’s permitted one day before three months, it’s justified one day after three months; if it is permitted at one day before “viability,” a nebulous term that has no meaning,it is justified at any time. Allowing abortion at six months gestation minus one day precludes an argument against abortion two days later. Attempting such an argument is a legal joke, a medical impossibility, and a moral hoax. Just as a pregnancy of one week cannot be put aside as “insignificant,” claiming it is only a “touch” of pregnancy, abortion, regardless of the reason, cannot be downplayed as only a limited and qualified disregard for human life. Disrespect for life and liberty, once planted, grows rapidly. (p. 39, emphasis mine)

See also: Liberty 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 even the Southern Baptist Convention approved of abortion in some instances. In both cases (and many others), he is as vehemently pro-life as anyone, though his strategy differs from other Republicans for helping rid our country of it.

All politicians are imperfect, and Ron Paul is no exception. This is certainly not my only concern (I’ll list others seperately), though I still favor him far above any other candidates currently running. I only wish he could avoid these sort of “what was he thinking?” moments. If he truly believes what he said in that video, it is, in his own words, the planting of a seed of disrespect for life and liberty that could grow rapidly.

3 comments on “When I Don’t Love Ron Paul

  1. Kathy says:

    I’m no fan of Ron Paul, but as a longtime pro-lifer I actually agree with him on this question although he didn’t handle it terribly well. Use of emergency contraception (“the morning-after pill”) after a rape is widely, almost universally accepted by pro-lifers (even the Catholic ones that I know). If administered within a few hours of an assault there is virtually no chance of a conception having occurred, and emergency room personnel or crisis counsellors can collect evidence to be used in a criminal prosecution later on. I don’t think Paul expressed this very clearly, but it is a completely different situation from an elective abortion 5 weeks later. This was the classic “What if your wife/daugher was raped” gotcha question, and the whole idea that there are some extremists who would force their female relatives not to get emergency treatment in case of rape is a gold-mine for the left.

    I personally lost any respect for Doug Wilson on the abortion issue about 14 years ago, when he said Christians should say a fervent “amen” whenever a non-Christian aborted a child.

    Okay, I said something nice about Ron Paul, and I swore I’d never do that! Now it’s obviously time for me to go to bed.

    • John Gardner says:

      Thanks, Kathy. My concern is not so much whether he is right or wrong, but with how he answered the question. This is one subject on which we can’t afford a lack of clarity. There’s a world of difference between saying that conception has not yet happened and saying we don’t know if it has happened. The latter isn’t good enough, because that’s essentially the same argument used by many in the pro-choice camp to justify early abortions and potentially abortive treatments.

    • John Gardner says:

      P.S. – I’m not aware of Doug Wilson’s comments on non-Christians aborting. Can you provide some context, or a link where I can read about this?

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