Ron Paul’s Anti-Abortion Position

There was a link on Facebook to the following post on the RonPaul2012 website with the title “Reagan’s Surgeon General C. Everett Koop on Ron Paul’s Pro-Life Credentials.” It includes the following: “Paul’s first book written in 1983 was titled Abortion and Liberty. The foreword was written by C. Everett Koop, the pro-life Surgeon General appointed by Ronald Reagan.”

Using Dr. Koop’s 1983 endorsement is a reminder that when some conservatives get into office, they compromise. Dr. Koop had impeccable pro-life credentials before he became Ronald Reagan's choice for Surgeon General. There was great pressure on Reagan from Evangelicals to nominate Dr. Koop because they had voted for the president in record numbers. Based on the following, Dr. Koop's endorsement does not mean that much to me.

Dr. Koop was the co-author with Christian apologist and "guru of fundamentalism" (as Newsweek described him in 1982) Francis A. Schaeffer1 of Whatever Happened to the Human Race? After a contentious confirmation hearing, Dr. Koop became Surgeon General under Ronald Reagan. Liberals attacked him because of his anti-abortion stance and his relationship with Schaeffer. “The nomination was held up for more than eight months. Only after Dr. Koop promised to abandon the antiabortion circuit and to refrain from using the Surgeon General’s office as a pulpit for his right-to-life beliefs did the Senate finally vote its approval.”2

Under questioning, Koop admitted that as Surgeon General, he would recommend abortion as one way of dealing with the unborn children of mothers with AIDS. By the spring of 1987, Koop was self-consciously in retreat from his earlier Christian position. With respect to abortion, he commented, “I’ve written all that I have to write on that issue. There are other, bigger things that I should turn my attention to as surgeon general: Where this country is and where it’s going in health care.”3

In 1986 and 1987, Koop officially called for sex education on AIDS in the public schools as early as kindergarten and for public school instruction on how to use condoms. Homosexuality had become a politically protected lifestyle. “I am the surgeon general of the heterosexuals and the homosexuals,” Koop argued, “of the young and the old, of the moral and the immoral, the married and the unmarried. I don’t have the luxury of deciding which side I want to be on.”4 He had retreated to what Schaeffer called “the line of despair.”5

This so-called neutral moral position cost people their lives. Koop should have come out denouncing the behaviors that were causing AIDS. He did it with smoking. Why was “safe sodomy” an option but not safe smoking? Cigarette smoking kills, the government was telling everyone. Laws had been passed to make it increasingly more difficult for people to smoke in public buildings. Tobacco products are heavily taxed. Do we find the following on cigarette packs? “Caution: Cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health. . . . So be sure to use a filter if you decide to smoke.” Koop was calling for condoms (filters) to help curtail the transmission of AIDS instead of denouncing the behavior that was spreading AIDS.

There is a related issue on Ron Paul changing his position on a federal prohibition of abortion. One of the reasons many Christians will not vote for Ron Paul is because he has taken a “states rights” position on abortion. While he calls for “preventing activist judges from interfering with state decisions on life by removing abortion from federal court jurisdiction through legislation modeled after his ‘We the People Act,’” he seems to have taken the position that states should be free either to outlaw or legalize abortion. They get it from a statement like this one:

Under the 9th and 10th amendments, all authority over matters not specifically addressed in the Constitution remains with state legislatures. Therefore the federal government has no authority whatsoever to involve itself in the abortion issue. So while Roe v. Wade is invalid, a federal law banning abortion across all 50 states would be equally invalid.

This is troubling for a lot of people. Would he say the same thing about slavery or involuntary euthanasia at the state level? Paul writes that there is a “God-given right to life — for those born and unborn.” Consider these words from Paul’s website:

After being forced to witness an abortion being performed during his time in medical school, he knew from that moment on that his practice would focus on protecting life. And during his years in medicine, never once did he find an abortion necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman.

Paul is correct that the Constitution does not deal with moral issues like rape, abortion, or even murder of adults. But if states started killing children or adults or permitted the rape of women for what were believed to be state-sanctioned reasons, would these be actions for a higher (federal) government to outlaw? I’d be interested in hearing what Dr. Paul’s answer since he argues that pre-born children are equal to born children.

What’s interesting is that Paul’s book Abortion and Liberty seems to advocate a federal solution. Here’s what he wrote on pages 34 and 35:

Senator Jesse Helms [1921-2008] has written and introduced a Human Life Amendment. He contends that: “A constitutional amendment must be worded, like the Constitution itself, in terms of general principles.”

Conforming to this, the amendment he wrote is brief and general in nature:

“The paramount right to life is vested in each human being from the moment of fertilization without regard to age, health, or condition of dependency.”

A Constitutional provision should never have been necessary, but now it is. Without this change in the Constitution, the division and dissension in the country over abortion will get worse. . . . We cannot deny constitutional protection to the unborn, but we should not be complacent and think that this in itself solves the problem. The problem is fundamentally moral, not legal. The Constitution by itself cannot establish the proper moral attitude of a nation. The real change will not be achieved by the politicians, but must come from our moral and religious philosophers.

Something has changed with Dr. Paul on the abortion issue since he wrote these words. If he returned to this very reasonable view, he would see his support rise among Evangelicals. He might even get the nomination.

  1. "In March of 2005, World Magazine editor Marvin Olasky asked, “Who’s the major figure behind the election and re-election of George W. Bush?”  His answer?  Francis Schaeffer. Olasky went on to argue that Schaeffer’s film, How Should We Then Live?, and book, A Christian Manifesto, helped push many evangelicals into political action, convincing them that if Christians did not get involved 'Western civilization would go down the drain.'” (Source). []
  2. Quoted in Gary North, Political Polytheism: The Myth of Pluralism (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), 199. []
  3. Gary North, Crossed Fingers: How the Liberals Captured the Presbyterian Church (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1996), 1004–1006. []
  4. Quoted in North, Political Polytheism, 201. []
  5. []



  • Peter

    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, Congressman Ron Paul, and Texas Governor Rick Perry are scheduled to participate in the Presidential Prolife Forum at the Hilton Hotel in Greenville, South Carolina this Wednesday, January 18th.

    “Personhood is raising the standard for politicians who claim to be prolife,” added Mason. “All of the candidates participating in this Forum have signed our Personhood Prolife Pledge."

    Seeing that Ron Paul has signed this pledge and is scheduled to speak, maybe doubts about his pro-life position will be cleared up?

    • Jonathan Gartner

      Paul only signed with exceptions which in my opinion make his signing worthless

      • Willis

        Okaaay!!! Lil Jon!!

        You are a hater extraordinaire. I bet you booed the Golden Rule as well.

  • Carol

    ok This article is a pile of poo. The writer hates the constitution and doesnt see that the issues being brought back to the states give the people more control over the issue. My My My what the good ole boys will stoop to.

  • Carol

    Also what they allow the federal goverment to do thats not constitutional actually helps them get their foot in the door with other issues like health care and things you may NOT want them into. They becomes the monster they are now and spend all the social security they force you to pay. they think all you earn is theirs. They own your home, etc. When will it end. We need clear guidelines , which we have and the global elite at the top keep trying to make it bigger instead of smaller, and so many people are going for their tactics.

  • Jonathan Gartner

    I do not believe this article reflects Dr. Koop very well. I know the man having met him several times during the Reagan administration. I admit that the founding fathers would have in this case more of a central government sense because it is something that must be one law for the nation. Drugs are another but, in dealing with the Constitution one must also deal with morals and ethics Paul being amoral in his beliefs is much more of a fruit cake than people will admit.

    • Willis

      Lil Jon, you're a hater. Go look in the mirror. You've failed.

  • Fox

    The Constitution does NOT apply to people. It's sole purpose is to limit the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

    Ron Paul is right. Let me give you an example:

    Let's say that California decides to allow abortion on demand, and make it a state funded operation. Two things would happen in rapid order. People who would then be aware that other states would not fund abortion, nor allow it at all, would leave California in droves.

    When the dust finally settled, it would be ominously clear what states would flourish, and what states would crumble from a destroyed-before-birth tax base and from ever higher demand on the state's treasury. (i.e. the taxpayer)

    Economics is quite simple, if you stay away from keynisian utopian nonsense. You cannot sit in front of a stove and say, "Give me heat and I'll give you wood!"

    Abortion is murder, no matter how you sugar-coat it. Any state that murders it's citizens wholesale will never last for long.

  • Rocky Frisco

    I hope you will be comforted by your position when we are living or dying in the New American Fourth Reich.

  • AceMan

    Ron Paul is a flake! His son Rand would make a better president! Click on my name to visit Right Wing America! 100% Free, 100% Uncensored. No PC police! Join today!

    • PepperdotNet

      Here we go again. Ad hominem = your argument is flaky

  • The Godfather

    The article points out that Paul seems to have changed his view since his 1983 "Abortion and Liberty" book. In it he proposed a constitutional prohibition against abortion. I don't see any reaction to this in the above comments. Also, if some states wanted to institute slavery, would Paul argue that this was OK? If a state allowed "honor killings"? If a state wanted to deport Jews? To euthanize children with IQs under 85? I'm just asking.

    • Willis

      Good question Godfather.

      I know Ron Paul opposes the act of abortion. He considers it murder, which is a state issue.

      He pointed out in the debate last night that we need to honor our constitution when he was talking with Santorum.
      Santorum wrote federal laws blanketing the nation on gun liability.
      Paul then said this is how our constitution is "nibbled away". Good intentions, but eroding the foundation.

      I imagine the change in stance was made out of the need to preserve the constitution. Capital offenses like murder are state matters.

      This is a red meat issue that proponents of "nationalistic government", the Fed lovers, and Military Industrial complex acolytes like to divide people with. Do you agree? Maybe not.

      I hate abortion. My wife is black, from the delta, and was put up for adoption through Catholic Charities. That was 1975. I hate to even think about what Planned Parenthood would have suggested to my wife's birth mother in this day.

      But Godfather, freedom brings people together. Which is why there are so many of us trolling your blog.

      We are of ALL WALKS!!!

      Ron Paul 2012

      • The Godfather

        Please answer the individual questions I raised. Your general statement is appreciated, now deal with the specifics.

    • Willis

      You do have to be kidding on those last questions though, huh?

      The Constitution ensures that the States protect Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness; so hell no he wouldn't support what you are asking.

      Who in the hell would?

      • The Godfather

        If Paul believes an unborn child has the same God-given rights as a born child (see the article), and he (you) wouldn't support what I am asking, then why support the states being permitted to legalize killing pre-born children?

        • Willis

          Its a rough and tumble question. Its too bad that people are willing to kill the unborn.

          The obvious difference in THIS issue and the ones in your questions are that you have 2 lives coinciding.

          Personhood Amendments are a good start.

          I live in Mississippi where the Personhood Amendment Initiative failed.
          Planned Parenthood was out in force in the public arena.
          Lots of Doctors had fears of being criminalized for miscarriages, and others in the medical forum were concerned about In Vitro fertilization which is a whole different subject.

          Its a hard and MAJOR issue, and we need to speak out against the heinous act of abortion.

          Overturn Roe v Wade. Lambaste the states that offer legal abortion and be glad we can outlaw it in our own state.

          And if our own state decides to go with a Pro Choice stance, then we have some personal choices to make whether we want to stay or not.

          It is a hairy issue for everybody.

    • Dagny

      I think you're either being intellectually dishonest or deliberately baiting readers--- probably the latter. Surely you know that Rep. Paul wants to pass the Sanctity of Life Act, defining life as beginning at conception. The penalty for the taking of a life is currently decided by the states, and that would not change. I imagine you would have abortion classified, depending on the state, as everything from justifiable homicide to first degree murder. In light of this your ridiculous questions about slavery et al are simply disingenuous.

  • Steve

    Medical licenses are issued by the States not the federal government therefore the States not the Feds have control over same according to the 10th Amendment as Article I, Sec. 8 of the Constitution does not give the federal government any "empowerment" over medical procedures. Should the federal government wish to stop abortion across all the states, a constitutional amendment would be necessary. Dr. Paul's views are consistent with the Constitution (as usual). I would personally support such an amendment but until it's passed, the regulation of medical procedures that terminate a pregnancy are in the province of the states not the Feds.

    • The Godfather

      "Medical procedure"? Killing a pre-born baby is nothing but a "medical procedure"? What if a state licensed doctors to euthanize children with IQs under 85?

      • Earle Belle

        What if the Federal Government did the same? Then the whole nation would be forced to euthanize children with IQs under 85. Same goes with anything the Federal Government does, which is far more dangerous than keeping government as close to the people as possible.

  • Earle Belle

    "Game Changing" Revered True Conservative Tea Party Leader Presidential Endorsement Has Now Occurred!

    The Most Conservative GOP Senate Members Agree With Ron Paul On Indefinite Detention:

    Ron Paul's 2002 Predictions ALL Came True - Incredible Video!

    Why Ron Paul Is Overwhelmingly The Most Conservative Presidential Candidate:

  • Peter

    After publicly proclaiming they are against abortion, NO candidate has ended this almost 40 year injustice in any state or nationally. Ron Paul currently thinks it should be ended by a different legal means than you do. So what!

    • Willis

      Just reading that sad story about how the establishment forced C Everett Koop to put aside his beliefs if he wanted the Surgeon General title is enough to tell me that the establishment isn't looking for a cure to this problem.

      They make money by keeping abortion a national issue.

      Power mongers keep power by dividing the people keeping them sick and dependent.

  • Jason

    Ron Paul introduced the Sanctity of Life Act which defines life at conception. It also overturns Roe v. Wade.

    The states currently handle murder. They do a pretty good job of enforcing this law. Under Ron Paul's Sanctity of Life Act, if life were defined at conception, abortion would be called murder. The states are currently doing a pretty good job at enforcing the laws, as far as murder is concerned. I don't see what the issue is...?

  • Jason

    I believe Ron Paul would be the ONLY candidate to make Abortion illegal.

    How many pro-life presidents have we had? How many have made abortion illegal? Why?

    The GOP doesn't want abortion to be illegal. If it ever were made illegal, the Evangelicals may not necessarily feel compelled to vote Republican. This is why you will never see abortion become illegal. Why is Ron Paul any different? Here is why... Ron Paul is incorruptible. He was nicknamed Dr. No because he is a M.D. and he always votes no to unconstitutional bills. The lobbyists do not even bother coming to him. He has been consistent for over 30 years and he always votes on principal, even if he is voting alone.

  • joeT

    In Paul's latest book, he supports the Day After Pill to quote: "Terminate very early pregnancies" and states that Abortion is not legal issue and its not possible to stop abortions. Showing he does not understand why we have laws to begin with.

    Additionally, One of Paul's good friends he features in his Cookbook is one of the Biggest Abortionist in the Country and max Donates to Paul's Campaign:

    August 29th
    By Rebekah Maxwell
    Silence can be deafening. This week, Personhood USA’s presidential pledge drew several GOP signatures, but not the approval of the only physician in the race, Ron Paul.
    At the time of this article’s publication, Paul’s legendary campaign team had yet to even craft a response clarifying Paul’s position and why he had not yet signed the pledge, which defines life at conception, without exception.
    It’s deafening silence from the professed pro-lifer’s camp, especially since Paul signed the Susan B. Anthony anti-abortion pledge in June…for that matter, why would a candidate sign a pledge to support drinking raw milk, and yet not sign one to uphold the unalienable right to life?
    But Paul’s newest campaign literature is stirring up even more questions for the Texas congressman.

    The Ron Paul Family Cookbook, distributed to thousands of Iowans at Paul’s campaign stops, includes a few dozen recipes, some Bible verses and lots of family photos. But one picture stands out. It’s a picture memorializing Paul’s friendship with the Feldkamp family.
    The Feldkamps are linked with one of the largest private chains of abortion clinics in the country.

    In the book, Maggie Feldkamp Cotton’s recipe remembers her sisters, Vanessa Pullen (“an avid Ron Paul supporter”) and Amy Jacobson who, along with 12 other people, tragically died in a plane crash in 2009.
    At the time, grief over the accident was marred by the report that their father, Irving Feldkamp III, owned Family Planning Associates, a chain of 17 abortion clinics, most operating in California.
    According to Operation Rescue President Troy Newman, the Feldkamps have owned the clinics since 2005, when they bought them from their founder, Edward Allred (who is said to have lauded personally aborting at least 500,000 babies).
    Fifteen of those clinics are still in operation today, with Feldkamp’s son, Dr. Irving Feldkamp IV as the “Agent for Service of Process” for Family Planning Associates.