Pro-life activists are reacting to recent eyebrow-raising remarks made by Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul, who told a crowd this week that political issues like abortion are not what drove him to run for office.
“I believe pro-life Americans would be surprised that Rand Paul does not consider life an issue that also motivated him to run…if that is truly his feeling,” one activist at a top pro-life organization told TheDC.
During a public appearance in Philadelphia on Monday, Paul, who has previously said he’s “100 percent pro-life,” answered a question about how much he will talk about the issue of abortion on the campaign trail.
“You know … I will answer the question as honestly as I can,” Paul said at the National Constitution Center. “I didn’t run for office because of this issue. It wasn’t what got me to leave my practice. And I ran for office mainly because I became concerned that we’re going to destroy the country with debt. That we would borrow so much money that we would just destroy the currency.”
Paul, during the discussion, was also asked whether he believes the issue of abortion is best handled by the states, or by the federal government under the 14th Amendment. “I think best by the states,” Paul replied.
Before Monday, it seemed as if Paul was going out of his way to emphasize his pro-life beliefs, to the delight of conservatives. After getting into the presidential race last month, Paul, for instance, predicted that DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s “extreme position” on abortion could cause people to flee the Democratic Party.
Paul has also been an active supporter of the National Pro-Life Alliance, allowing the organization to send fundraising appeals on his behalf.
“I’ve recorded an important message for you detailing how we can finally overturn Roe v. Wade,” Paul said in a March email to potential donors. “Would you take just a moment to listen to it? I feel so strongly about this message that I wanted to tell you with my own words rather than writing it down in an email.”
Reached by The Daily Caller, Eric J. Scheidler, the executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, said he isn’t bothered by Paul’s comments this week.
“What matters to me isn’t what motivated Rand Paul to get into politics, but what kinds of decisions he would make as president,” Scheidler told TheDC.
“Paul is a co-sponsor of the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in the Senate and opposes taxpayer funding of abortion, the two legislative issues most likely to come before our next president,” Scheidler added. “I would expect a fair hearing on pro-life cases from any judges Paul would appoint to the federal bench.”
Scheidler also backed up Paul, who said the issue is best handled by the states.
“History shows that Paul is right about abortion being best left to the states,” he said. “Had the Supreme Court followed that principle in their 1973 Roe v Wade decision, abortion would be far less common that it is today, and might even have been banned in all 50 states if the pro-life movement could have concentrated efforts on the handful of states with liberal abortion laws.”