By 'In The Arena' staff
Republican Texas Rep. Ron Paul will announce on Tuesday the formation of a presidential exploratory committee at an event in Des Moines, Iowa, CNN has learned. While Paul is announcing an exploratory committee, he has not made a final decision about launching a campaign for the White House in 2012.
Rep. Paul is scheduled to appear In The Arena on Tuesday, April 26, 2011.
BLOG EXTRA: Here is an excerpt from Ron Paul's book, "Liberty Defined," courtesy Grand Central Publishing, 2011.
On one occasion in the 1960s when abortion was still illegal, I witnessed, while visiting a surgical suite as an OB/GYN resident, the abortion of a fetus that weighed approximately two pounds.
It was placed in a bucket, crying and struggling to breathe, and the medical personnel pretended not to notice.
Soon the crying stopped. This harrowing event forced me to think more seriously about this important issue.
That same day in the OB suite, an early delivery occurred and the infant born was only slightly larger than the one that was just aborted.
But in this room everybody did everything conceivable to save this child's life. My conclusion that day was that we were overstepping the bounds of morality by picking and choosing who should live and who should die.
These were human lives. There was no consistent moral basis to the value of life under these circumstances.
Some people believe that being pro-choice is being on the side of freedom. I've never understood how an act of violence, killing a human being, albeit a small one in a special place, is portrayed as a precious right.
To speak only of the mother's cost in carrying a baby to term ignores all thought of any legal rights of the unborn. I believe that the moral consequence of cavalierly accepting abortion diminishes the value of all life.
It is now widely accepted that there's a constitutional right to abort a human fetus. Of course, the Constitution says nothing
about abortion, murder, manslaughter, or any other acts of violence.
There are only four crimes listed in the Constitution: counterfeiting, piracy, treason, and slavery. Criminal and civil laws were deliberately left to the states.
It's a giant leap for the federal courts to declare abortion a constitutional right and overrule all state laws regulating the procedure. If anything, the federal government has a responsibility to protect life--not grant permission to destroy it.
If a state were to legalize infanticide, it could be charged with not maintaining a republican form of government, which is required by the Constitution.
If we, for the sake of discussion, ignore the legal arguments for or against abortion and have no laws prohibiting it, serious social ramifications would remain. There are still profound moral issues, issues of consent, and fundamental questions about the origin of life and the rights of individuals.
There are two arguments that clash. Some argue that any abortion after conception should be illegal. Others argue that the mother has a right to her body and no one should interfere with her decision.
It's amazing to me that many people I have spoken to in the pro-choice group rarely care about choice in other circumstances. Almost all regulations by the federal government to protect us from ourselves (laws against smoking, bans on narcotics, and mandatory seat belts, for example) are readily supported by the left/liberals who demand "choice."
Of course, to the pro-choice group, the precious choice we debate is limited to the mother and not to the unborn.
The fact is that the fetus has legal rights--inheritance, a right not to be injured or aborted by unwise medical treatment, violence, or accidents. Ignoring these rights is arbitrary and places relative rights on a small, living human being.
The only issue that should be debated is the moral one: whether or not a fetus has any right to life. Scientifically, there's no debate over whether the fetus is alive and human--if not killed, it matures into an adult human being.
It is that simple. So the time line of when we consider a fetus "human" is arbitrary after conception, in my mind.
It's interesting to hear the strongest supporters of abortion squirm when asked if they support the mother's right to an abortion in the ninth month of pregnancy. They inevitably don't support such an act, but every argument that is made for abortion in the first month is applicable to late pregnancy as well.
It's still the mother's body. It's still her choice. Due to changed circumstances, she may well have strong compelling social reasons to prevent a live birth and assume its obligations, even in the third trimester.
This is a dilemma for the proponents of choice and they should be challenged as to where the line should be drawn.
Another aspect of this debate needs to be resolved: If an abortion doctor performs a third-trimester abortion for whatever reason, a handsome fee is paid and it's perfectly legal in some states.
If a frightened teenager, possibly not even knowing she was pregnant, delivers a baby and she kills it, the police are out en masse to charge her with a homicide. What really is so different between the fetus one minute before birth and a newborn one minute after birth? Biologically and morally, nothing.
We must also answer the grim question of what should be done with a newborn that inadvertently survives an abortion. It happens more than you might think. Doctors have been accused of murder since the baby died after delivery, but that hardly seems just.
The real question is, how can a human infant have such relative value attached to it?
In the age of abortion, with nearly a million being performed each year in the United States, society sends a signal that we place a lower value on the small and the weak.
Most young people choose abortions for economic reasons; they believe that they cannot afford to bear the child and would rather wait.
Why is it that moral considerations do not trump such fears? Why do these women not consider other options, such as adoption, more seriously?
They've been taught by society that an unwanted fetus-baby has no right to life and therefore has no real value. And why do so many young women put themselves at risk for having to make such choices in the first place? Availability of abortion, most likely, changes behavior and actually increases unwanted pregnancies.
The difference or lack thereof between a baby one minute after birth and one minute before needs to be quantified. The Congress or the courts are incapable of doing this. This is a profound issue to be determined by society itself based on the moral value it espouses.
Abortion is rarely a long-term answer. A woman who has had one abortion is more likely to have another.
It's an easier solution than a change in long-developed personal behavior. My argument is that the abortion problem is more of a social and moral issue than it is a legal one.
In the 1960s, when I was in my OB/GYN residency training, abortions were being done in defiance of the law. Society had changed and the majority agreed the laws should be changed as well. The Supreme Court in 1973 in Roe v. Wade caught up with the changes in moral standards.
So if we are ever to have fewer abortions, society must change again. The law will not accomplish that. However, that does not mean that the states shouldn't be allowed to write laws dealing with abortion. Very early pregnancies and victims of rape can be treated with the day after pill, which is nothing more than using birth control pills in a special manner. These very early pregnancies could never be policed, regardless. Such circumstances would be dealt with by each individual making his or her own moral choice.
As a bankrupt government takes over more of our health care, rationing of care by government mandates is unavoidable. Picking and choosing who should live and who should die may sound morally repugnant, but this is where we end up in a world with scarce means and politically driven decisions about how those means are going to be employed. The federal government will remain very much involved in the abortion business either directly or indirectly by financing it.
One thing I believe for certain is that the federal government should never tax pro-life citizens to pay for abortions. The constant effort by the pro-choice crowd to fund abortion must rank among the stupidest policies ever, even from their viewpoint. All they accomplish is to give valiant motivation for all pro-life forces as well as the antitax supporters of abortion to fight against them.
A society that readily condones abortion invites attacks on personal liberty. If all life is not precious, how can all liberty be held up as important? It seems that if some life can be thrown away, our right to personally choose what is best for us is more difficult to defend. I've become convinced that resolving the abortion issue is required for a healthy defense of a free society.
The availability and frequent use of abortion has caused many young people to change their behavior. Its legalization and general acceptance has not had a favorable influence on society. Instead, it has resulted in a diminished respect for both life and liberty.
Strangely, given that my moral views are akin to theirs, various national pro-life groups have been hostile to my position on this issue. But I also believe in the Constitution, and therefore, I consider it a state-level responsibility to restrain violence against any human being.
I disagree with the nationalization of the issue and reject the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in all fifty states. Legislation that I have proposed would limit federal court jurisdiction of abortion. Legislation of this sort would probably allow state prohibition of abortion on demand as well as in all trimesters. It will not stop all abortions. Only a truly moral society can do that.
The pro-life opponents to my approach are less respectful of the rule of law and the Constitution. Instead of admitting that my position allows the states to minimize or ban abortions, they claim that my position supports the legalization of abortion by the states.
This is twisted logic. Demanding a national and only a national solution, as some do, gives credence to the very process that made abortions so prevalent. Ending nationally legalized abortions by federal court order is neither a practical answer to the problem nor a constitutionally sound argument.
Removing jurisdiction from the federal courts can be done with a majority vote in the Congress and the signature of the President. This is much simpler than waiting for the Supreme Court to repeal Roe v. Wade or for a constitutional amendment.
My guess is that the scurrilous attacks by these groups are intended more to discredit my entire defense of liberty and the Constitution than they are to deal with the issue of abortion. These same groups have very little interest in being pro-life when it comes to fighting illegal, undeclared wars in the Middle East or preventive (aggressive) wars for religious reasons. An interesting paradox!
My position does not oppose looking for certain judges to be appointed to the Supreme Court, or even having a constitutional
definition of life.
Removing the jurisdiction from the federal courts would result in fewer abortions much sooner, but it wouldn't prevent a national effort to change the Supreme Court or the Constitution by amendment. It makes one wonder why the resistance to a practical and constitutional approach to this problem is so strong.
Just about everyone knows that the Hippocratic oath includes the pledge not to do abortions. In the 1960s, most medical schools, rather than face the issue, just dropped the tradition of medical-school graduating seniors repeating the oath.
My class of 1961 ignored the oath at graduation. Just think, the oath survived for so many years and then ended right before the drug and Vietnam War culture, when it was most desperately needed.
By 1988, when my son Dr. Rand Paul graduated, the oath was made voluntary in a special baccalaureate ceremony. But strangely, the oath was edited to exclude the provision pledging not to do an abortion. Today, sadly, medical school applicants in some schools are screened and can be rejected or at least intimidated on this issue.
As a pro-life libertarian physician, my strong advice, regardless of what is legal, is for medical personnel to just say no to participation in any procedure or process that is pro-death or diminishes respect for life in any way. Let the lawyers and the politicians and mercenary, unethical doctors deal with implementing laws regulating death.
Deregulating the adoption market would also make a margin of difference in reducing abortion. This would make it easier for nonprofit groups to arrange for adoptive parents and for them to compensate the mother enough to absorb the expenses and opportunity costs associated with carrying the child to term. Small changes could make a large difference here.
Finally, here is my program for pro-life MDs and medical personnel:
* Do not perform abortions for convenience or social reasons.
* Do not be the agent of active euthanasia.
* Do not participate in any manner--
directly or indirectly -- in torture.
* Do not participate in human experimentation. I'm not
referring to testing new drugs with the patient's consent.
I'm speaking of our long history of military participation
in human experimentation. The Tuskegee experiment, in
which black soldiers who had syphilis were deliberately
mistreated, is one example.
* Do not be involved with the state in executing criminals
or in any way approve the carrying out of the death penalty.
* Do not participate in government-run
programs where medical care is rationed for economic or social reasons
that place relative value on life.
* Do not give political or philosophical support for wars of
aggression, referred to as preventive wars.