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The Constitution, States’ Rights, and the Right to Life: Iowa, Please Get it Right!

15 Dec

At Catholic Online

I wish I was an Iowa caucus voter right about now.

Iowa’s going to get this ball rolling for real in just a few short weeks. Many polls suggest that a large percentage of caucus voters still haven’t decided who they’re going to vote for, and the battle for support is intense. It concerns me when I see indications that Ron Paul may very well have a huge surge in Iowa because he’s got a small army of dedicated supporters on the ground.

I mean no disrespect to Ron Paul, but the more I’ve read of him lately (in his own words), the more convinced I am that he has fallen under the spell of Constitutional idolatry. He worships the Constitution. It is his idol.

Now hold on; before you skewer me, I’m a big fan of our Constitution, and I want to see our nation return to its principles and rules and clearly-stated guidelines. Our Constitution is a brilliant document — of that there’s no doubt.

Yet adherence to the Constitution is not an excuse or a justification for allowing moral wrongs or to permit injustice against the innocent.

It’s hard for me to make heads or tails of Ron Paul’s statements on abortion and the sanctity of human life. I read through a section of his book, Liberty Defined, where he talked at length about his beliefs and his policy positions, and it was a rather crazy roller-coaster ride that ultimately left me feeling nauseous.

One paragraph I was soundly agreeing with him, and then all of a sudden, I was saying, “What in the world?” He writes profound and powerfully straightforward statements like this one: “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.”

Amen! I don’t understand it, either! And this one: “If anything, the federal government has a responsibility to protect life — not grant permission to destroy it.”

Amen again! He goes on: “I believe that the moral consequence of cavalierly accepting abortion diminishes the value of all life.” “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.”

Another amen! I couldn’t agree more. But then comes a wacky curve with this statement: “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 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.”

How the heck is that last sentence any different than what the pro-choicers have been saying all along? “My body, my choice.” I thought abortion diminished the value of all life, and now he’s saying each individual must make his or her own “moral” choice? I thought he said it was an act of violence against the small and the weak? How can that be moral?

“Very early pregnancies”?  You mean, very young and very small babies? “Can be treated with the day after pill…”  Treated? You mean, can be killed with chemicals? His statements here sound exactly like standard pro-abortion spin. He himself has just given the okay to chemically abort babies conceived very recently or through rape, calling it “treatment.”

Paul is correct in saying that only a moral society can do away with the evil of abortion. But I believe he is very wrong to insist that the law has no role in accomplishing that.

In another crazy turn-around, he writes: “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? I’ve become convinced that resolving the abortion issue is required for a healthy defense of a free society.”

No argument there, Congressman. But how does that square with your assertion that it’s okay to “treat” very early pregnancies with the morning after pill? How does that square with your idea that each individual must make his or her own moral choice?

He then gets to the heart of his position: “I also believe in the Constitution, and therefore, I consider it a state-level responsibility to restrain violence against any human being.”

“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.”

Because it does, Congressman! The point is not that only a national solution will suffice, or that only a national law will solve the problem, but that no individual state has any Constitutional right to do what is morally wrong!

This is where I believe Congressman Paul falls into Constitutional idolatry. He is so blindly focused on States’ rights that even the right to Life is sacrificed. The sanctity of all human life and our obligation to protect the child in the womb from being killed is trumped by States-rights, according to Paul.

We cannot claim to be pro-life if we are content to allow individual states to decide for themselves whether the child in the womb has the right to live and be born. The babies in Iowa might be safe, but too bad for those babies in California and New York, eh? Oh well. We mustn’t violate States’ rights, after all. Nothing is more important than States’ rights and the Constitution.

Actually, the moral law is far more important. The moral law is not superseded by any government document or any state’s rights. Either we will defend the child in the womb in every state of the United States or we won’t. Either we will say, without qualification, that the child in the womb is an American citizen and a human being from the moment of conception who has the right to live and be born or we won’t.

The issue is not mythical “reproductive rights” or States’ rights but the humanity of the child in the womb. If our children are our children and not subhuman pieces of tissue, then we are obligated to protect them from being killed in the womb; not just in some states but in every state of our nation.

The final straw for me was this statement by Paul: “Let the lawyers and the politicians and mercenary, unethical doctors deal with implementing laws regulating death.”

No, we can’t just leave it to them. It’s our duty to implement laws defending LIFE!

I don’t disagree that our federal government has grown far too large and intrusive and needs to be shrunken and reigned in. I don’t argue that our personal liberties are being threatened at every turn by that power-hungry federal government. I agree that many things should be returned to the individual states to deal with according to their needs and their residents’ votes.

But protecting the child in the womb is not an “issue” that can be left up to each state to decide. There’s no spectrum of decisions with varying degrees of rightness. Abortion is wrong, period. Killing our babies in the womb is wrong, period. Targeting our tiniest children for extermination through chemicals like some kind of insect is wrong, period.

We are not absolved of the guilt of murdering our children merely because we insist we’re abiding by our Constitution.

I’m no political pundit or operative, but I hope there are a lot of folks in Iowa reading this and giving serious consideration to how they’re going to vote in January. Please don’t place a higher value on States’ rights than on the God-given human rights of the child in the womb. No state has the right to do what is morally wrong.

When it comes to the foundational truths of Life and true marriage, we cannot allow our country to dissolve into a nonsensical collection of differing laws and varying degrees of protection depending on where you live. United we stand; divided we destroy ourselves.

On Wednesday night I watched C-SPAN’s coverage of the candidate forum on abortion in Des Moines, organized by Gov. Mike Huckabee and pro-life leaders from Iowa. A new documentary called, “The Gift of Life” was being shown at the conclusion of the forum. Unfortunately, C-SPAN’s coverage ended before the film began so I wasn’t able to see it.

The Republican Presidential candidates were invited to speak about their pro-life convictions and Michelle Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum all embraced the opportunity to address the most important topic of our time — the sanctity of human life. Ron Paul and Mitt Romney were not in attendance.

Paul’s and Romney’s absence was troubling to me. Perhaps I should give them the benefit of the doubt and not read too much into it. Nevertheless, it bothers me that they did not attend a forum devoted exclusively to abortion. Particularly where Romney is concerned, it reinforces my uneasiness regarding his commitment to Life. I still clearly recall his television interview just a few years ago when he was staunchly committed to defending “a woman’s right to choose” and swore he always would.

Personally, I’m praying like crazy that the good people of Iowa will rally behind Rick Santorum and make him the surprise winner of their all-important caucus. After hearing him speak so many times and knowing how he has fought to protect the moral enterprise that is the United States of America, I feel I already know his heart and his convictions so well. Yet once again I was impressed when I saw him speak at this forum in Des Moines. He is genuine, unflinching and unapologetic in his defense of Life, true marriage and the family.

I’ve also had the distinct privilege of interviewing his wife, Karen, and I cannot say too much about the caliber of these two people. Their character is rock-solid and rooted in faithfulness, love and sacrifice. They are fire-tested and proven. We actually have the chance to elect a good man of true character to the Presidency in 2012, and Iowa, you need to light the fire!

It can’t be said too often that this is the most important election of our lifetime thus far. We simply cannot afford to get this one wrong. I believe Rick Santorum is the right man, and I’m hoping that the people of Iowa agree with me.

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Posted by on December 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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