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Scott Lemieux vs. Ron Paul


Lemieux attacks Rep. Paul’s vote for a ban on partial-birth abortion: “The ban Paul voted for, conversely, does nothing to protect fetal life, but simply tries to force doctors to perform abortions using less safe methods in some cases. Even on its face, therefore, such legislation is about regulating female sexuality and punishing women for making choices the state doesn’t approve of, which is as inconsistent with any coherent set of libertarian principles as it is with ‘states’ rights.’”

What on earth does Lemieux mean? Is he seriously arguing that supporters of a ban on partial-birth abortion want to punish women for having sex by exposing them, in some incredibly tiny percentage of cases, to unsafe abortions? That’s absurd.

Lemieux concludes that “when almost anybody tells you that by advocating the overturn of Roe they want to ‘send the issue back to the states,’ they’re almost certainly lying.” The link–to another Lemieux post–establishes nothing of the kind. In it, he argues that “[t]he claim that ‘[o]verturning Roe wouldn’t do anything but send the issue back to the states’ is a flat-out lie.” Well, no, although it could be a mistaken judgment. It is true that the overturning of Roe could lead to federal anti-abortion legislation, but I think there are good reasons to expect stalemate at the federal level. He goes on to deny that Roe is “about federalism,” with no particularly good argument. The fact remains that pre-Roe, states had a lot more autonomy on abortion policy than they do now, and would almost certainly have a lot more if Roe were gone. I suspect that the vast majority of people who say they want Roe overturned to send the issue back to the states are entirely sincere, and Lemieux has offered nothing to change my mind–or to discredit Rep. Paul.


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