Ron Paul on Social Conservatism: 'I Think It's a Losing Position'

Terence P. Jeffrey | February 19, 2012 | 8:20pm EST
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Rep. Ron Paul of Texas (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)

( - Rep. Ron Paul (R.-Texas.), who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, told Candy Crowley on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that social conservatism is "a losing position" for the Republican Party.

"Do you--are you uncomfortable--certainly Rick Santorum is the one who has been in the forefront of some of this talk on social issues, but there have been others in the race," Crowley asked Paul. "Are you uncomfortable with this talk about social issues? Do you consider it a winning area for Republicans in November?"

"No," said Paul. "I think it's a losing position.

"I mean, I talk about it because I have a precise understanding of how difficult problems are to be solved," Paul continued. "And they're not to be at the national level. We're not supposed to nationalize these problems. The founders were very clear that problems like this, if there needs to be legislation of sorts, the state has the right to write the legislation that they so choose. And that solves a lot of our problems."

Back on Dec. 19, Paul signed the "Personhood Pledge" published by PersonhoodUSA. This pledge says in part: "I stand with President Ronald Reagan in supporting 'the unalienable personhood of every American, from the moment of conception until natural death,' and with the Republican Party platform in affirming that I 'support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and endorse legislation to make clear that the 14th Amendment protections apply to unborn children."

The 14th Amendment says: "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." It also says: "The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article."

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Thus, if an unborn child is a person from the moment of conception, as Paul pledged was his position, states must protect the life of the unborn child just as they protect the life of any other person and Congress has the explicit authority under the Constitution to make laws to ensure that is the case.

In signing the Personhood Pledge, however, Paul issued an "addendum" in which he reiterated his position that life begins at conception, said he supported a human life amendment to the Constitution, but at the same time argued that the federal government should not interfere with the states in passing laws on abortion.

"Let me be very clear: life begins at conception. It is the duty of the government to protect life, as set forth in our founding documents," said Paul.

"While I am known for my defense of Liberty, I often say that you can’t have Liberty without Life," Paul continued. "I don't just believe life begins at conception; I know it as a scientific certainty. And I have sponsored bills in Congress to make this definition law."

In the same statement, Paul went on to say: "A Human Life Amendment should do two things. First, it should define life as beginning at conception and give the unborn the same protection all other human life enjoys. Second, it must deal with the enforcement of the ruling much as any law against violence does--through state laws.

"To summarize my views--I believe the federal government has a role to play," said Paul. "I believe Roe v. Wade should be repealed. I believe federal law should declare that life begins at conception. And I believe states should regulate the enforcement of this law, as they do other laws against violence."

"I don't see the value in setting up a federal police force on this issue any more than I do on other issues," Paul said. "The Fourteenth Amendment was never intended to cancel out the Tenth Amendment. This means that I can’t agree that the Fourteenth Amendment has a role to play here, or otherwise we would end up with a 'Federal Department of Abortion.' Does anyone believe that will help life? We should allow our republican system of government to function as our Founders designed it to: protect rights at the federal level, enforce laws against violence at the state level.

"As President, I will sign and aggressively advocate for a law that removes abortion from the jurisdiction of the federal courts," said Paul. "This approach, done by simple majority vote and stroke of my Presidential Pen, would effectively overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to pass strong pro-life legislation immediately. Millions of lives would be saved by this approach while we fight to make every state a right to life state."

In the same addedum to his Personhood Pledge, Paul vowed to stop enforcement of all Obamacare regulations, including the one that would force Catholic employers to provide health insurance that covers contraceptives and abortifacients.

"I will use my constitutional authority as President to stop the enforcement of all regulations relating to ObamaCare, including the new HHS regulations forcing all employers, even religious or church-affiliated ones, to provide coverage for contraceptives and RU-486 as part of their health insurance plans," said Paul.

On CNN's State of the Union on Sunday, however, Paul criticized Santorum for talking about "who is going to pay for birth control pills"--an apparent reference to Santorum's statements in opposition to the Obamacare regulation Paul said in December he would stop if he were elected president.

"Do you believe from what you see today that Rick Santorum can beat President Obama in November?" Crowley asked Paul.

"Well, I don't see how that's possible," said Paul. "And this whole idea about that talking about the social issues and who is going to pay for birth control pills, I'm worried about undermining our civil liberties, the constant wars going on, the debt of $16 trillion and they are worried about birth control pills and here he wants to, you know, control people's social lives. At the same time, he voted for Planned Parenthood."

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