Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on April 16 called on Republicans to make abortion a campaign issue in 2016.
“We’ve allowed ourselves to be put in boxes,” Paul told a crowd of pro-life activists at the Susan B. Anthony List summit. “Let’s get to the real debate of when life begins.”
Paul’s call comes only two-and-a-half years after many blamed the GOP’s 2012 election losses on abortion-related fumbles. The Republican National Committee released an autopsy report that urged the party to drop its emphasis on social issues, and some key Republicans, including 2008 presidential nominee John McCain, agreed.
Paul, who officially launched his campaign for president two weeks ago, has embraced the opposite view. Last week, he refused to tell an Associated Press reporter whether he supports abortion exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother until reporters press Democrats to answer abortion questions.
“You go back and go ask Debbie Wasserman Schultz if she’s OK with killing a 7-pound baby that’s just not yet born,” Paul told reporters.
At least two reporters did. This week, Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chair, told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly and CNN’s Wolf Blitzer her party does not support any restrictions on abortion—including up until the moment of birth.
Paul, who received a standing ovation after his speech, said Republicans should do more of the same to show how out of step Democrats are with mainstream America. A January Marist poll found 84 percent of Americans believe abortion should have significant restrictions and safeguards.
“Shouldn’t the other side have to justify why [a baby] doesn’t have any rights?” asked Paul, who said former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Democrats’ only candidate so far, should have to be specific about her views.
Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., co-chairman of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, later told the crowd pro-abortion activists have long relied on misinformation and “junk science” to drive the abortion conversation. He cited abortion advocates misrepresenting the frequency of partial-birth abortion, President Barack Obama’s broken promise to prohibit abortion funding in Obamacare, and the abject failure of embryonic stem cell research.
“Never assume they are telling the truth,” Smith said. “Nine times out of 10 it’s either a big fat lie or it’s a half truth, which is a lie in and of itself.”
The GOP field in 2016 appears to be the most pro-life ever. All of the announced or likely candidates have committed to SBA List that they will support legislation banning abortion after 20 weeks—which passed the House in 2013 but died in the Senate.
SBA List wants to use the commitments and the public support for the legislation to make life issues a key part of the 2016 election. It appears Paul is willing to help.
“It’s not that I’m against people choosing things,” he said. “I’m in fact one of the biggest believers in choice and liberty, but you can’t have liberty if you don’t protect where your liberty originates from, and that’s your right to life.”
Courtesy: Religion News Service
Publication date: April 20, 2015