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Ron Paul On Abortion: A Libertarian, As Long As You Don’t Think Women Count As People

By Matthew Yglesias  

"Ron Paul On Abortion: A Libertarian, As Long As You Don’t Think Women Count As People"

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Two sources of pushback on my post on Ron Paul’s anti-freedom view of abortion rights. Ann Althouse chooses for some reason to dispute that Ron “respecting the God-given right to life—for those born and unborn” Paul wants to ban abortion. Since she’s apparently incapable of reading between the lines of such proposals as “Defining life as beginning at conception by passing a Sanctity of Life Act’” she might be interesting in some other quotations from Congressman Paul such as:

Abortion on demand is the ultimate State tyranny; the State simply declares that certain classes of human beings are not persons, and therefore not entitled to the protection of the law. The State protects the “right” of some people to kill others, just as the courts protected the “property rights” of slave masters in their slaves. Moreover, by this method the State achieves a goal common to all totalitarian regimes: it sets us against each other, so that our energies are spent in the struggle between State-created classes, rather than in freeing all individuals from the State. Unlike Nazi Germany, which forcibly sent millions to the gas chambers (as well as forcing abortion and sterilization upon many more), the new regime has enlisted the assistance of millions of people to act as its agents in carrying out a program of mass murder.

He has also stated “I believe beyond a doubt that a fetus is a human life deserving of legal protection, and that the right to life is the foundation of any moral society” and noted that his states’ rights take on abortion law is purely opportunistic “It is much more difficult for pro-life advocates to win politically at the federal level.” This makes perfect sense. If you believed, as Paul and other abortion criminalizers do, that legal abortion is a form of mass murder comparable to the Nazi genocide you obviously wouldn’t believe in any principled way that the mass murder is fine as long as the perpetrators have to drive from Idaho west to Oregon in order to perpetrate it.

Second, some people want to tell me that if you accept the erroneous metaphysics of the anti-abortion movement, that then treating women who terminate pregnancies as criminals makes perfect libertarian sense. For one thing, I don’t accept the erroneous metaphysics of the anti-abortion movement. But even if you do, this doesn’t make sense. The “pro-life” position amounts to a conjunction of the proposition that a fetus is a moral person and that a pregnant woman has a strong legally enforceable rescue duty. But Paul doesn’t believe the state should tax people to feed the poor, or impose rescue duties in any other context. Rather, he simply seems to feel that pregnant women aren’t really people. Paul himself, I note, is a good deal clearer about his ideological positioning than are many of his friends on the Internet. He’s a social conservatives who sees his political views as an extension of his personal relationship with Jesus Christ running for president on a promise to “Restore America Now” to some past edenic state. The good news is that America would be a better place if Paul-style views on foreign policy carried more weight in Washington.

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