Ron Paul
1999 Ron Paul Chapter 102

Unborn Victims Of Violence Act

Home Page   Contents   Congressional Record (Page H9060)  Cached

30 September 1999

1999 Ron Paul 102:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, pro-life Members of Congress are ecstatic over the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, touting it as a good step toward restoring respect for life, and once again criminalizing abortion. This optimism and current effort must be seriously challenged.

1999 Ron Paul 102:2
As a pro-life obstetrician-gynecologist, I strongly condemn the events of the last third of the 20th century in which we have seen the casual acceptance of abortion on demand.

1999 Ron Paul 102:3
The law’s failure to protect the weakest, smallest and most innocent of all the whole human race has undermined our respect for all life, and therefore for all liberty. As we have seen, once life is no longer unequivocally protected, the loss of personal liberty quickly follows.

1999 Ron Paul 102:4
The Roe v. Wade ruling will in time prove to be the most significantly flawed Supreme Court ruling of the 20th century. Not only for its codification, through an unconstitutional court action, of a social consensus that glorified promiscuity and abortion of convenience and for birth control, but for flaunting as well the constitutional system that requires laws of this sort be left to the prerogative of the states alone. A single “Roe v. Wade” ruling by one state would be far less harmful than a Supreme Court ruling that nullifies all state laws protecting the unborn.

1999 Ron Paul 102:5
Achieving the goal of dehumanizing all human life, by permitting the casting aside all pre-born life, any time prior to birth, including partially born human beings, Roe v. Wade represents a huge change in attitudes toward all life and liberty. Now pro-life Members are engaged in a similar process of writing more national laws in hopes of balancing the court’s error. This current legislative effort is just as flawed.

1999 Ron Paul 102:6
Traditionally, throughout our history, except for the three constitutional provisions, all crimes of violence have been — and should remain — state matters. Yet this legislation only further undermines the principle of state jurisdiction, and our system of law enforcement, which has served us well for most of our history.

1999 Ron Paul 102:7
Getting rid of Roe v. Wade through a new court ruling or by limiting federal jurisdiction would return this complex issue to the states.

1999 Ron Paul 102:8
Making the killing of an unborn infant a federal crime, as this bill does, further institutionalizes the process of allowing federal courts to destroy the constitutional jurisdiction of the states. But more importantly, the measure continues the practice of only protecting some life, by allowing unborn children to be killed by anyone with an “M.D.” after his name.

1999 Ron Paul 102:9
By protecting the abortionist, this legislation carves out a niche in the law that further ingrains in the system the notion that the willful killing of an innocent human being is not deserving of our attention. With more than a million children a year dying at the hands of abortionists, it is unwise that we ignore these acts for the sake of political expediency.

1999 Ron Paul 102:10
Pro-abortion opponents of this legislation are needlessly concerned regarding its long-term meaning, and supporters are naively hoping that unintended consequences will not occur.

1999 Ron Paul 102:11
State laws have already established clearly that a fetus is a human being deserving protection; for example, inheritance laws acknowledge that the unborn child does enjoy the estate of his father. Numerous states already have laws that correctly punishes those committing acts of murder against a fetus.

1999 Ron Paul 102:12
Although this legislation is motivated by the best of intentions of those who strongly defend the inalienable rights of the unborn, it is seriously flawed, and will not achieve its intended purpose. For that reason I shall vote against the bill and for the sanctity of life and the rights of the states, and against the selected protection of abortionists.

1999 Ron Paul 102:13
Mr. Chairman, today Congress will vote to further instill and codify the ill-advised Roe versus Wade decision. While it is the independent duty of each branch of the federal government to act Constitutionally, Congress will likely ignore not only its Constitutional limits but earlier criticisms from Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, as well.

1999 Ron Paul 102:14
The Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 1999, H.R. 2436, would amend title 18, United States Code, for the laudable goal of protecting unborn children from assault and murder. However, by expanding the class of victims to which unconstitutional (but already-existing) federal murder and assault statutes apply, the federal government moves yet another step closer to a national police state.

1999 Ron Paul 102:15
Of course, it is much easier to ride the current wave of federalizing every human misdeed in the name of saving the world from some evil than to uphold a Constitutional oath which prescribes a procedural structure by which the nation is protected from what is perhaps the worst evil, totalitarianism. Who, after all, wants to be amongst those members of Congress who are portrayed as soft on violent crimes initiated against the unborn?

1999 Ron Paul 102:16
Nevertheless, our federal government is, constitutionally, a government of limited powers. Article one, section eight, enumerates the legislative areas for which the U.S. Congress is allowed to act or enact legislation. For every other issue, the federal government lacks any authority or consent of the governed and only the state governments, their designees, or the people in their private market actions enjoy such rights to governance. The tenth amendment is brutally clear in stating “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Our nation’s history makes clear that the U.S. Constitution is a document intended to limit the power of central government. No serious reading of historical events surrounding the creation of the Constitution could reasonably portray it differently.

1999 Ron Paul 102:17
However, Congress does more damage than just expanding the class to whom federal murder and assault statutes apply — it further entrenches and seemingly concurs with the Roe versus Wade decision (the Court’s intrusion into rights of states and their previous attempts to protect by criminal statute the unborn’s right not to be aggressed against). By specifically exempting from prosecution both abortionists and the mothers of the unborn (as is the case with this legislation), Congress appears to say that protection of the unborn child is not a federal matter but conditioned upon motive. In fact, the Judiciary Committee in marking up the bill, took an odd legal turn by making the assault on the unborn a strict liability offense insofar as the bill does not even require knowledge on the part of the aggressor that the unborn child exists. Murder statutes and common law murder require intent to kill (which implies knowledge) on the part of the aggressor. Here, however, we have the odd legal philosophy that an abortionist with full knowledge of his terminal act is not subject to prosecution while an aggressor acting without knowledge of the child’s existence is subject to nearly the full penalty of the law. (The bill exempts the murderer from the death sentence — yet another diminution of the unborn’s personhood status.) It is becoming more and more difficult for Congress and the courts to pass the smell test as government simultaneously treats the unborn as a person in some instances and as a non-person in others.

1999 Ron Paul 102:18
In this first formal complaint to Congress on behalf of the federal Judiciary, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist said “the trend to federalize crimes that have traditionally been handled in state courts . . . threatens to change entirely the nature of our federal system.” Rehnquist further criticized Congress for yielding to the political pressure to “appear responsive to every highly publicized societal ill or sensational crime.”

1999 Ron Paul 102:19
Perhaps, equally dangerous is the loss of another Constitutional protection which comes with the passage of more and more federal criminal legislation. Constitutionally, there are only three federal crimes. These are treason against the United States, piracy on the high seas, and counterfeiting (and, because the constitution was amended to allow it, for a short period of history, the manufacture, sale, or transport of alcohol was concurrently a federal and state crime). “Concurrent” jurisdiction crimes, such as alcohol prohibition in the past and federalization of murder today, erode the right of citizens to be free of double jeopardy. The fifth amendment to the U.S. Constitution specifies that no “person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb . . .” In other words, no person shall be tried twice for the same offense. However, in United States v. Lanza, the high court in 1922 sustained a ruling that being tried by both the federal government and a state government for the same offense did not offend the doctrine of double jeopardy. One danger of unconstitutionally expanding the federal criminal justice code is that it seriously increases the danger that one will be subject to being tried twice for the same offense. Despite the various pleas for federal correction of societal wrongs, a national police force is neither prudent nor constitutional.

1999 Ron Paul 102:20
Occasionally the argument is put forth that states may be less effective than a centralized federal government in dealing with those who leave one state jurisdiction for another. Fortunately, the Constitution provides for the procedural means for preserving the integrity of state sovereignty over those issues delegated to it via the tenth amendment. The privilege and immunities clause as well as full faith and credit clause allow states to exact judgments from those who violate their state laws. The Constitution even allows the federal government to legislatively preserve the procedural mechanisms which allow states to enforce their substantive laws without the federal government imposing its substantive edicts on the states. Article IV, Section 2, Clause 2 makes provision for the rendition of fugitives from one state to another. While not self-enacting, in 1783 Congress passed an act which did exactly this. There is, of course, a cost imposed upon states in working with one another rather than relying on a national, unified police force. At the same time, there is a greater cost to centralization of a police power.

1999 Ron Paul 102:21
It is important to be reminded of the benefits of federalism as well as the costs. There are sound reasons to maintain a system of smaller, independent jurisdictions — it is called competition and, yes, governments must, for the sake of the citizenry, be allowed to compete. We have obsessed so much over the notion of “competition” in this country we harangue someone like Bill Gates when, by offering superior products to every other similarly-situated entity, he becomes the dominant provider of certain computer products. Rather than allow someone who serves to provide value as made obvious by their voluntary exchanges in the free market, we lambaste efficiency and economies of scale in the private marketplace. Curiously, at the same time, we further centralize government, the ultimate monopoly and one empowered by force rather than voluntary exchange.

1999 Ron Paul 102:22
When small governments become too oppressive with their criminal laws, citizens can vote with their feet to a “competing” jurisdiction. If, for example, one does not want to be forced to pay taxes to prevent a cancer patient from using medicinal marijuana to provide relief from pain and nausea, that person can move to Arizona. If one wants to bet on a football game without the threat of government intervention, that person can live in Nevada. As government becomes more and more centralized, it becomes much more difficult to vote with one’s feet to escape the relatively more oppressive governments. Governmental units must remain small with ample opportunity for citizen mobility both to efficient governments and away from those which tend to be oppressive. Centralization of criminal law makes such mobility less and less practical.

1999 Ron Paul 102:23
Protection of life (born or unborn) against initiations of violence is of vital importance. So vitally important, in fact, it must be left to the states’ criminal justice systems. We have seen what a legal, constitutional, and philosophical mess results from attempts to federalize such an issue. Numerous states have adequately protected the unborn against assault and murder and done so prior to the federal government’s unconstitutional sanctioning of violence in the Roe v. Wade decision. Unfortunately, H.R. 2436 ignores the danger of further federalizing that which is properly reserved to state governments and, in so doing, throws legal philosophy, the Constitution, the bill of rights, and the insights of Chief Justice Rehnquist out with the baby and the bathwater. For these reasons, I must oppose H.R. 2436, The Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 1999.

1999 Ron Paul 102:11 laws that correctly punishes those committing acts of murder probably should be laws that correctly punish those committing acts of murder.

1999 Ron Paul 102:20 the tenth amendment probably should be capitalized: the Tenth Amendment.

1999 Ron Paul 102:20 The privilege and immunities clause as well as full faith and credit clause probably should be capitalized and plural: The Privileges and Immunities Clause as well as Full Faith and Credit Clause.

1999 Ron Paul 102:21 similarly-situated probably should be unhyphenated: similarly situated.

1999 Ron Paul 102:23 the bill of rights probably should be capitalized: the Bill of Rights.

Previous     Next

Home Page   Contents   Concordance
  Links   E-mail list.