Earlier today, Rand Paul sent a form letter from what he’s calling the ‘Pro-Life Alliance’. I found the letter so alarming that I had to publicize its existence more widely and share my response.
The likely trigger, for me, was the prominent, repeated featuring of ‘Pro-Life’. I detest the term for its loaded meaning; it implies that those of us who oppose the legislative goals of the Alliance inherently oppose life. This doesn’t pass the giggle test.
I’m part of a growing section of voters: I’m personally very anti-abortion. I wish abortions weren’t a reality of our world. However, I oppose in the strongest possible terms regulating it with public policy. There are all kinds of potential landmines: medical need, severe genetic defects in the fetus, rape or incest are but a few.
Put simply: in places with strict abortion laws, women die. This is a historical fact. It may be tempting to say the law can address these cases, but law is by nature inflexible. With so much hanging in the balance, law is a blunt instrument that need not be involved to begin with. Even if we could get a medically-accommodative anti-abortion law written, why should we? Abortion bans don’t actually reduce demand for abortion, study after study shows. As our experience with drug control policy also shows, the law is not the place for blind moralism. Such moralism rarely accomplishes anything useful, and taxpayers pay out the nose for the failings.
That’s not the worst bit, though. Rand’s proposed law, called the ‘Life at Conception Act’ is even worse than an abortion ban. By defining a fetus as a human and life as beginning at conception for all matters of law, the Act would turn miscarriages into homicides, legally speaking.
I found the proposal utterly offensive. Rand often protests against the evils of statism, but it’s the height of statism to legislate that a woman must carry a fetus that lives inside her body against her will because the law says it’s so. Abortion is an issue where I vehemently disagreed with Rand’s father, Ron Paul, who held a similarly backward view. I’m disappointed to see Rand make it such a central part of his platform.
So, I wrote him a letter. It’s harsh, but factual. If you find it a good read, please feel free to borrow the words or sentiment. You can also send Rand your own letter: firstname.lastname@example.org. The text of my letter is as follows:
The Life at Conception Act is political suicide, and as it should be.
Whether constitutional or not, Life at Conception Act is bad policy. LCA goes even further than a mere abortion ban. Post-LCA, every miscarriage is a potential homicide. Mothers who miscarry would have their every move scrutinized as potential murderers. Women of childbearing age would face new obstacles: businesses would treat them as potential liabilities, out of fear they might be pregnant. Millions of children will be born only to suffer incalculable misery and die young due to easily-identified, deadly genetic mutations.
The simple fact of the matter is LCA will not reduce abortions any more effectively than the Controlled Substances Act reduced demand for drugs. All it will mean is that women who seek these procedures will die needlessly, and women who don’t will face new obstacles to their freedom.
You should reverse course on your support of this shameful public policy. Look not only at your moral stance, but the practical effect of your policy. Refuse, and young, liberty-focused voters like myself will flock to the polls by the millions to decimate your ambitions.
Your position on this issue makes you seem like the very sort of statist you often critique, and my generation won’t tolerate this sort of pseudo-moral enslavement of our nation’s women. They are far too important and their contributions too valuable for such disrespect.
San Francisco, CA