Sen. Rand Paul was the chief sponsor in the last Congress of a “personhood” bill that would have granted full constitutional rights to zygotes, thereby banning all abortions, in-vitro fertilization, and even possibly common forms of birth control. But for someone who champions an unambiguously anti-abortion plan, Paul has been curiously unwilling to talk about it in a straightforward manner.
In his communications with anti-abortion activists, Paul has taken a hard line, writing in a fundraising email for one pro-personhood group that his Life at Conception Act would “collapse” Roe v. Wade without even needing a Constitutional amendment and telling another Religious Right group that American civilization won’t “endure” without ending all abortion.
“Now the time to grovel before the Supreme Court is over,” he enthusiastically declared in an email for the pro-personhood National Pro-Life Alliance. “Working from what the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade, pro-life lawmakers can pass a Life at Conception Act and end abortion using the Constitution instead of amending it.”
But to the mainstream media, Paul has been more circumspect, claiming that the no-exceptions abortion ban he sponsored would have “thousands of exceptions,” saying that the country is too divided to change any abortion laws, and opining that laws about the very procedure that his bill would attempt to ban nationwide would be best left up to the states.
Paul took the obfuscation tack again in an interview last week with the Catholic television network EWTN, responding to news anchor Raymond Arroyo’s question about his Life at Conception Act by saying that the goal of the bill is to merely “drive the debate about when life begins” and to make liberals talk about abortion.
“We get trapped by the other side, the liberals who always want to talk about the very beginning of gestation,” he said. “And I think it’s important to want to talk about and make them express their opinion that a six-, seven-, eight-pound baby has no rights. But I believe for religious and scientific reasons that life begins at the beginning, otherwise we just keep finding an arbitrary time.”
Paul has won praise from anti-choice activists for trying to turn criticism of his extreme anti-abortion policies back on liberals. But he can hardly claim to be starting a “debate” when he won’t even cop to what his true policy position is.