Before you react, take a deep breath and try to let your imperfect emotions, thanks to Adam and Eve, settle down. Last week I had not even heard of this bill until a friend of mine told me about it being voted down. My instant reaction was disgust. How could this be voted down, it seems like a no brainer. Then a few days later another friend emailed asking me:
I know you’re a big fan of Ron Paul but I’m curious to know your thoughts on his vote yesterday against the ban on sex-selection abortion. I know a lot of good Catholics who support him but something like this makes it impossible for me to take him seriously. Did this surprise you?
I didn’t even know who voted against it. At first I thought “possibly Ron Paul was just absent for the vote”. Then I thought, “God please let him have been absent, I don’t want to have to try to explain ‘crazy Uncle Ron’ again”. Being who I am I went to work researching. I found out he was present and voted against the bill. “Oh great, how can I explain this, I know he has a reason and it’s probably a good one, but still how?” Then I read his response that he said on the house floor during the vote:
Mr. Speaker, as an Ob-GYN who has delivered over 4,000 babies, I certainly abhor abortion. And I certainly share my colleagues’ revulsion at the idea that someone would take an innocent unborn life because they prefer to have a child of a different sex.
However, I cannot support HR 3541, the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, because this bill is unconstitutional. Congress’s jurisdiction is limited to those areas specified in the Constitution. Nowhere in that document is Congress given any authority to address abortion in any manner. Until 1973, when the Supreme Court usurped the authority of the states in the Roe V. Wade decision, no one believed or argued abortion was a federal issue.
I also cannot support HR 3541 because it creates yet another set of federal criminal laws, even though the Constitution lists only three federal crimes: piracy, treason, and counterfeiting. All other criminal matters are expressly left to states under the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, and criminal laws relating to abortion certainly should be legislated by states rather than Congress.
I have long believed that abortion opponents make a mistake by spending their energies on a futile quest to make abortion a federal crime. Instead, pro-life Americans should work to undo Roe V. Wade and give the power to restrict abortion back to the states and the people. It is particularly disappointing to see members supporting this bill who rightfully oppose ludicrous interpretations of the Commerce Clause when it comes to the national health care law, which also abuses the Commerce Clause to create new federal crimes.
Pro-life Americans believe all unborn life is precious and should be protected. Therefore we should be troubled by legislation that singles out abortions motivated by a “politically incorrect” reason for special federal punishment. To my conservative colleagues who support this bill: what is the difference in principle between a federal law prohibiting “sex selection” abortions and federal hate crimes laws? After all, hate crime laws also criminalize thoughts by imposing additional stronger penalties when a crime is motivated by the perpetrator’s animus toward a particular race or sex.
I also question whether this bill would reduce the number of abortions. I fear instead that every abortion provider in the nation would simply place a sign in their waiting room saying “It is a violation of federal law to perform an abortion because of the fetus’ sex. Here is a list of reasons for which abortion is permissible under federal law.”
Mr. Speaker, instead of spending time on this unconstitutionally, ineffective, and philosophically flawed bill, Congress should use its valid authority to limit the jurisdiction of activist federal courts and (thereby) protect state laws restoring abortion. This is the constitutional approach to effectively repealing Roe V. Wade. Instead of focusing on gimmicks and piecemeal approaches, true conservatives should address the horror of abortion via the most immediate, practical, and effective manner possible: returning jurisdiction over abortion to the states.
Ding, ding, ding, lightbulb!!! UGH! This make so much sense. Then the anger sets in. I can’t believe the pro-life congress is using this issue right now during an election cycle. Then to find out these “wonderful” pro-life congressmen that presented this bill to “protect” baby girls in the womb insisted that this bill be voted on the suspension calendar, which means it needed a two-thirds majority to pass rather than a simple majority. Ask yourself why would they do this if they truly cared about getting this bill passed??
Representative Justin Amash, who also voted against the bill, wrote this on his Facebook page:
When did Republicans start supporting hate-crime legislation? Hate-crime bills, like H R 3541, are apparently okay if they have to do with a baby’s gender, but not okay if they have to do with a person’s skin color or sexual orientation. Or maybe they’re okay if it’s an election year and Republicans are trying to make the President look like he doesn’t care about women. I am appalled and outraged that we would take an issue as sacred as life and use it so cynically as a political weapon.Republicans, and especially conservatives, should oppose abortion. Period. H R 3541 criminalizes the MOTIVE for getting an abortion. In other words, it keeps all abortions legal except those obtained for the “wrong” reasons. But ALL abortions are wrong. And criminalizing motive makes this simply another hate crime. Literally the only difference between a legal and an illegal abortion under the bill is whether the “abortion is sought based on the sex or gender of the child.” The bill also shockingly makes it a crime for a medical or mental health professional NOT to turn in someone who they SUSPECT of having committed this thought crime. They can be thrown into prison for a year if they don’t “report known or suspected violations . . . to appropriate law enforcement authorities.” Free societies do not criminalize inaction.
I’m pro-life, and I think all abortion should be illegal. But Congress should not criminalize thought. And this bill won’t stop a single abortion if it becomes law. Every person seeking an abortion simply will sign a form stating her motive is not the sex of the baby. Those of us who are pro-life should demand more from Congress. While we waste time on stuff like this, genuine legislation to protect life is ignored.
My thoughts are this…it is completely hypocritical for pro-lifers to deem one motive for abortion a crime and not all abortions. It is also very imprudent to introduce legislation that could be used as precedent for future hate crimes/thought crimes legislation. Conservatives should NOT support thought crimes legislation when it suits our needs and rally against them when it doesn’t. It doesn’t make good legislative sense. It is the same thing with the sonogram laws. We passed legislation that is forcing a group of people to do/pay for something they are opposed to and now that precedent is being used against us as Catholics, with the HHS mandate. We need to think long term on legislation and what kind of pandora’s box laws can open up. Do pro-lifers really want to be the ones that set the standard on thought crimes???
AND at what point did the Christian argument against “the ends justifying the means” get thrown by the wayside. I mean really??? Is everyone in the pro-life battle so blinded by their emotions that they can’t see that this “means” does NOT justify the ends. OK, so we criminalize thoughts here on abortion, with the end being to make a point to the general public that abortions are being done for other reasons than the “life of the mother”, what kind of consequences will this precedent wrought on our own people down the line?? We all know this bill won’t do a thing to stop the killing of unborn babies. Is this the direction God wants us to go??
I also find it despicable that the pro-life community, as a whole, has not rallied around Ron Paul’s Sanctity of Life Act. It is precisely because of Ron Paul’s authorship of the Sanctity of Life Act that Norma McCorvey, Jane Roe of Roe vs. Wade, endorsed Ron Paul for president in 2008. That should mean something to the pro-life community. It is also very disturbing that out of the half a dozen times Ron Paul introduced this act the, so-called pro-life, Republicans in the house would not support it.
Why isn’t the pro-life community holding these congressmen accountable for not supporting the Sanctity of Life Act?
The Sanctity of Life Act would effectively overturn Roe vs. Wade in our country immediately, saving thousands, if not millions of babies. This shows me that most politicians don’t really care about ending abortion as much as they care about keeping it as a key issue to pit voter against voter, liberal against conservative, republican against democrat.
Sadly, hollow pro-life promises are what gets the pro-life vote. People blindly follow the endorsements of the big pro-life groups regardless. Is God pleased with us when we don’t research things before forming our opinions or voting?? It sickens me that the National Right to Life has already endorsed Romney, saying he is the “virtual nominee” while Ron Paul and his supporters are still hard at work winning delegates state by state, the National Republican Party passed a rule saying all delegates are unbound and the convention is months away.
Ron Paul’s vote on this legislation just proves that he does not pander for votes, he is 100% consistent even if it loses him support and his constituents don’t completely understand, he is principled and honest.
It’s politicians like Santorum (a Catholic) and Ronmeny who claim to be pro-life who do things like:
*openly promise to start bombing Iran , in a pre-emptive war, if elected (Santorum)
*endorse a pro-abortion candidate over a solidly pro-life candidate (Santorum)
*and state that it is a “wonderful thing” that we assassinate a father and nuclear scientist from Iran (Santorum)
*refusing to sign the Personhood Pledge (Romney)
*in favor of the ambiguous “to save the life of the mother” abortions (Romney)
showing they have no consistency on the value of life, that I have a hard time taking seriously.
I hope you will take the information that I have presented to heart, pray about it and try to see this strategy, an ever growing number pro-lifers, feel we need to take in this decades long battle that has gone nowhere. It’s time the pro-life community reevaluate the battle plan and consider trying Ron Paul’s approach.