Sen. Rand Paul’s chief of staff Doug Stafford appears to be scrambling to explain the Senator’s recent comments during a CNN interview where he said there would be “thousands of exceptions” to his “Life at Conception Act,” a federal personhood bill that would ban all abortion by granting legal status to embryos. He added that “each individual case would have to be addressed” and that there will “be a lot of complicated things the law may not ultimately be able to address in the early stages of pregnancy that would have to be part of what occurs between the physician and the woman and the family.”
Understandably, many people interpreted his comments to mean that the government shouldn’t be intruding on the medical decisions that are unique to each woman, or the opposite of what his sweeping anti-choice law would do.
But in an interview with LifeSiteNews, Stafford stressed that Paul’s mention of “thousands of exceptions” only “meant that a singular exception to save the life of the mother would likely cover thousands of individual cases.”
So the “thousands of exceptions” was only really one exception.
And when Paul said that women, their doctord and their families would be free from government interference during the early stage of the pregnancy, Stafford said that Paul was only referring to emergency contraception that prevents fertilization.
Emergency contraception, of course, only works up to 120 hours after sexual intercourse.
Stafford noted that such methods won’t be covered by the law because “it is not practically possible to legislate things like the morning after pill or other emergency contraception,” while stressing that Paul still seeks to ban RU-486.
Some pro-life activists were left scratching their heads after a recent interview Senator Rand Paul did on Wolf Blitzer’s CNN show “The Situation Room,” in which the senator seemed to say he supported “thousands of exceptions” to his general belief that abortion should be illegal. But Paul spokesman Doug Stafford told LifeSiteNews.com in an interview on Wednesday that the senator’s remarks were misunderstood, reiterating that Paul is staunchly pro-life.
After the interview, the Atlantic Wire ran a story with the headline “Rand Paul Isn’t 100% Pro-life Anymore,” arguing that the language Paul used in his answer sounded remarkably similar to pro-choice rhetoric claiming abortion should always be a private matter between a woman and her doctor.
But Paul’s chief of staff, Doug Stafford, said the Atlantic got it wrong.
Paul “was speaking medically,” Stafford said.
By “thousands of exceptions,” Stafford told LifeSiteNews.com, Paul meant that a singular exception to save the life of the mother would likely cover thousands of individual cases – for example, ectopic pregnancies or others that directly threaten the mother’s life.
The senator is not in favor of the more nebulous “health of the mother” exception that pro-life advocates argue can be applied to any woman facing an unwanted pregnancy.
But what about Paul’s statement that the Life at Conception Act may not be able to address early abortions? That, too, was a misunderstanding, according to Stafford. He said the senator was talking about things like emergency contraception pills, which may cause very early abortions, but since they contain the exact same drugs used in standard birth control pills, the senator believes they will be nearly impossible to ban.
Senator Paul “has always said it is not practically possible to legislate things like the morning after pill or other emergency contraception,” Stafford said. “It simply isn’t possible to do so. The law will likely never be able to reach that.”
“You can legislate abortifacients like RU-486, and he would,” he said. “But you can’t legislatively ban artificial estrogen and progesterone.”