In the Spring, during the 2012 primaries, I had a lengthy facebook discussion and 45 minute phone conversation with Dr. Michael Farris.
For those who don’t know who Michael Farris is, he is the President of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). My parents have been members of HSLDA for 20+ years because of HSLDA’s homeschooling advice, legal protection and guidance.
I had seen a post on Dr. Farris’ facebook page in which he indicated that Ron Paul was pro-abortion, in the context of supporting Rick Santorum. Seeing such a completely false statement from someone who is supposed to stand for truth, constitutional rights, parental rights & homeschooling freedom, I had to say something. So, I sent him a private message.,
I was a homeschooled student all the way through school. My parents have been members of HSLDA for a very long time. We are now actively involved in politics. Everything from keeping on top of homeschooling legislative issues, to the UNCR, parental rights and even now to the presidential candidates. I greatly appreciate all you do for homeschooling parents and the rights of parents.
With that said, I wanted to share some information with you, if you would be willing to look at it. I am a Ron Paul supporter and one of the biggest reasons I am for him is because of his 100% pro-life stand. I saw something you posted on your page earlier and it seemed to me to look like you didn’t fully understand where Ron Paul stands. I can’t support Rick Santorum because of his voting for the funding of Planned Parenthood in Title 10 funding (he admits he voted for it, so it’s no secret).
But, besides that, I would like you to please read the following, as I hope it will help shed some light on this abortion topic and Ron Paul for you.
(You can see the quotes from Liberty Defined here – starting at paragraph 6)
Finally, I would encourage you to greatly consider Ron Paul, because of the parental rights issue. Because of the homeschooling issue. Because of the abortion issue. Because of the overall welfare of our children. Freedom and following the Constitution will help secure the welfare of our children, the rights of parents, the right to homeschool, and the protection of unborn babies. Rick Santorum will not uphold freedom in our nation, as our Constitution declares, because he has said out of his own mouth, the exact opposite. I know you may not agree with me, but I implore you to please consider this. I will be glad to share more information with you, if you would like.”
The quote I gave him was 4 paragraphs out of Ron Paul’s book, Liberty Defined, where Ron Paul goes over the abortion issue. I really did not expect to hear back from Dr. Farris. I just hoped that maybe it would change his view and that he would support the only man in the Presidential race who stands for everything that HSLDA fights for.
But, to my surprise, I had a response within a few minutes.
“Dear Miss Fish,
I have studied Ron Paul’s abortion views at length. I own the book you quoted from and have read it carefully. I have listened to his interviews and read his comments to the press. I have studied his voting record.
Dr Paul is a confused man. He says some very prolife things at times and other times is very pro-abortion.
He supports the morning after pill and shots in very early pregnancies. This means his is willing to give estrogen to women to kill their baby when it is a few days old. This is NOT a prolife view. Read the book you quoted from. He is quite clear about this.
On the constitutional level he denies that an unborn child does not have a right to life under the 14th amendment. This is contrary to original meaning of that provision. Here he has adopted a view that is both pro abortion and contrary to the conservative view of the Constitution.
His legislation would not reverse Roe v Wade but would actually freeze it permanently in place.
We cannot let people just claim to be prolife. We must examine their claims carefully.
His actual positions are pro abortion on several levels.
I have been saying this since he ran in 2008. I renewed my study and my critique more than a year ago long before I considered supporting Santorum.
I would love a real pro life constitutionalist. I am both. I am an expert on the Constitution. Ron Paul is neither prolife nor a constitutionalist.”
I asked Dr. Farris how Ron Paul’s voting record would indicate that he is a confused man. And I also asked him a few more questions,
“I have never seen him pro-abortion, so there I don’t agree with you. I have seen him say that he is fine with giving estrogen to women directly after rape, when it is not known whether there is any pregnancy or not.
Ron Paul has said over and again that the constitution gives the right to life and abortion takes it away, which is not right. But, because the people and the law of the land has gotten so immoral, they could care less what the 14th amendment says, therefore we have abortion. Which is where Ron Paul’s views come in, which I think would greatly help get rid of abortion. But, obviously we are on two separate sides of the issue.
How could overturning Roe v. Wade by making a Congressional or Constitutional act that defines when life starts freeze it? In Roe v. Wade, they left it open so that someone could define when life starts and therefore void that ruling.
I am looking at this seriously. How is Ron Paul not a constitutionalist? If you could elaborate on that, I’d appreciate it.”
This is when Dr. Farris sent me a message asking for my number to discuss these issues over the phone. I really, really wish I still had the notes I took down during our 45 minute conversation, but I cannot find them anywhere.
One issue that Dr. Farris stressed with me is that there are some things he will never compromise on. One of those issues being the pro-life issue. So, after discussing the phone conversation (which went over much of the above, only expounded) with my family, we decided to ask Dr. Farris some more questions:
“If Ron Paul is pro-abortion, because of what he says in the “very early pregnancy” quote, but is pro-life on other issues, how can that be any different from Rick Santorum being pro-life on all issues, but one big issue – voting for Planned Parenthood funding? Ron Paul has not actively voted for something which has funds that go to the murdering of babies.
And, also, I was noticing in the context of that quote in the Liberty Defined book, that Ron Paul isn’t saying he would do something like that. But, that if abortion is illegal, people could still do the morning after pill and it would not be able to be policed. Of course there never is a time for this, but our wicked world would do something like this.
My next question is, if one of the issues you don’t compromise on is abortion, how can you be in support of Rick Santorum? It seems as if you shouldn’t vote for any of the candidates, since, according to how you criticize Ron Paul, Santorum isn’t pro-life in every area either.
Finally, I know you believe Ron Paul isn’t a constitutionalist and you say Santorum isn’t totally either. Ron Paul at least talks about the constitution and how we should live by it. Rick Santorum does not (from what I have heard). So, wouldn’t it be better to have a candidate who at least talks about and says we should follow the constitution, instead of a candidate who has voted time and again against the constitution (such as voting against gun rights – the Second Amendment)?”
Dr. Farris wrote back with some answers to my questions:
“To say that Rick Santorum voted to fund Planned Parenthood is a gross exaggeration. He fought the specific funding proposals for Planned Parenthood and got them reduced. He was trying for their elimination. Then the funding for that general program was in a large budget bill. He voted for the budget bill which had thousands of programs in it. I have offered a free Constitutional Literacy DVD series to any Ron Paul supporter who can look at that bill and find any direct funding for Planned Parenthood by name in the bill.
Your family and my family could be just as vulnerable to criticism for our role in this spending bill. We sent our money in and they used our money for Planned Parenthood. How are we blameless?
2. Ron Paul’s video interview with Piers Morgan and his book both indicate a willingness to personally participate in abortions in very early pregnancies. This is a direct advocacy.
If the race was between Obama and Ron Paul I wouldn’t vote for either because I cannot vote for someone who directly advocates murder.
3. It is wrong to say that if abortion was banned that the morning after pill couldn’t be stopped. Such pills just recently became legal. They could be made illegal again in an instant. If Oklahoma’s personhood amendment was passed they would be illegal in Oklahoma right away (of course Roe would have to be off the books for this to truly take effect).
4. Maybe you haven’t listened to enough Rick Santorum speeches. I have heard him speak several times and every single time he talks about both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
One other thing. Santorum’s constitutional advisors are going to be people like me. He will move in a constitutional direction.
Ron Paul is not going to win. Why would anyone waste their vote on someone who can’t win if he is a proabortion candidate? There are times to vote for a person who can’t win as a protest. But, I cannot imagine how any Christian can vote on a “principled” protest basis for someone who is proabortion, prohomosexual, etc. Ron Paul doesn’t meet my standard for a principled protest vote.”
I asked him some more questions back,
“Santorum himself admitted that he voted for Title X funding that has money which goes to Planned Parenthood in the last debate, because he had to “take one for the team.” What was more important in that bill than the lives of unborn children, so that he could vote “Ye”s on a bill that funds the murder of babies? You are compromising on abortion by justifying a man who voted for Planned Parenthood funding, no matter how small or large the funding was. Whether the words “Planned Parenthood” are in the bill or not, doesn’t matter. Title X includes funding which goes to “Family planning” and Planned Parenthood gets much of that money.
By paying taxes to the government, we are not actively, willingly, telling the government to give specific funding to Planned Parenthood.
I still see Santorum’s move to vote for Title X funding far worse than Ron Paul’s statement about the morning after pill. Santorum has actively done something for abortion, Ron Paul has just made a statement.
In regards to the Constitution: I don’t believe a man’s speeches when his actions go directly against his speeches. Just like Obama, he says things and then goes directly against it. Santorum has done the same thing. Such as voting to raise the debt ceiling 5 times, voting to double the department of education, voting against the right to work act, voting for gun control, voting to give foreign aid to North Korea, etc.
You would be a good Santorum advisor, since you compromise on abortion, just like Santorum does.”
After this response, Dr. Farris started to get quite defensive and thought I was being rude. He asked me to explain how he has compromised on abortion and how I have not compromised on abortion by supporting Ron Paul. So, I answered those two questions,
“By voting for a man who openly admits that he voted for a bill that funds abortion. Paul made a statement in which it’s not even known whether a baby is conceived or not. Santorum is talking in which he openly knows there is a baby conceived and without denial says he voted for that funding. Ron Paul has never voted for any funding whatsoever for abortion and has always voted against abortion, contrary to Santorum who has voted for it.
I hate abortion with a passion. It is murder. Any man who votes for any bill who has any funding for any abortion is a murderer. Paul has never done so. Santorum has. You support a murderer.
Finally, Paul’s paragraph in his book Liberty Defined, is not a statement about his belief in terminating a pregnancy. Please read it again. It is about how individuals might deal with it on a personal level. As the last sentence says, “Such circumstances would be dealt with by each individual making his or her own moral choice.” That is not Paul’s moral choice, that is the individual’s moral choice.”
I also mentioned that Santorum had campaigned for a pro-abortion Republican, Arlen Specter.
After this answer, Dr. Farris became extremely bothered, said he was taking me off his friends list and that I was the most rude person he had seen in a long time (you can read it all for yourself here).
There was a little more discussion, because he came back with some statements regarding Santorum and Ron Paul. He believed supporting Santorum and his abortion compromise (yes, he admitted that Santorum compromised on abortion) was supporting a repentant sinner, because Santorum says he was wrong. I answered with this,
“I’m not convinced from Paul’s paragraph, that he is advocating his moral stand. I believe he is talking about what others might do, as the last sentence proves. If you have proof other than that paragraph that Paul actually believes in early pregnancy abortion, I’d like to see that.
I don’t believe Santorum is repentent, when he justified his actions in the last debate. That tells me, he’ll “take one for the team” again. The only one who “took one for the team” is the countless number of babies who are now dead because of his vote and the others who voted for that. If he would’ve actually said in the debate that he was wrong for doing that, that he would never do it again, his “repentance” might be believeable.”
After this message above, I sent him one more point on this issue,
“If you are still willing to listen, the sentence following the very early pregnancy statement says, “These very early pregnancies could never be policed, regardless.” He is arguing no matter what the law, people could and would still abort early pregnancies. He is basically arguing it is impossible to legislate such things.
It amazes me the hypocrisy of our “pro-life” leadership. Paul has argued to make this a matter for the states and take it out of the federal jurisdiction. And all it would take is a majority vote in Congress, which we have had for years and years gone by. If it was given to the states, the likelihood of abortion being illegal in most of the states is high. This could’ve saved thousands of lives. But, in the meantime, nothing gets done on the federal level and abortion thrives and even gets funded even by ‘pro-lifers.’”
He responded to this with the following,
“100% of pro-life leaders believe that these pills should be banned. They can be banned. They only recently became legalized. Obama advocates their legalization.
You and Ron Paul are standing against all pro-life leaders and on the side of Obama on this issue.
You are simply wrong on a factual level about it being impossible to regulate this.
This past week I helped write a state ballot initiative to set the stage to reverse Roe v. Wade. The impact of the language on pills such as these was a direct part of the state initiative.
Miss Fish, I don’t know if you recognize this but I am a true expert on these issues–especially the constitutional implications of the issues. I have litigated pro-life cases. You are asserting things that are just inaccurate and the only reason you say what you say is based on the fact that Ron Paul has said it. You have no other source for your information. No other pro-life expert would agree with him.”
I thanked him for responding one last time and just left him with these facts,
“I agree any pill that is abortive is evil, but making it illegal will not make it unavailable; just as the war on drugs now proves. Drugs are illegal, but quite available in our society. It’s too bad the U.S. does not follow Portugal’s example. All drugs were legalized 10 years ago. Violent crime has dropped. Drug use has gone down, etc.. The U.S. has a far worse drug problem than Portugal, and drugs are illegal here. It’s working as well as prohibition did. It’s a failure and a colossal waste of money. The Lord, in his perfect and wise law for Israel, never made drugs illegal.”
Sadly, his views did not change. And, as you will see in the second part of this two part series, he indeed DID compromise on the abortion issue by supporting Mitt Romney.
Because of this lengthy discussion with Dr. Farris, my parents withdrew their membership from HSLDA after 20+ years. We cannot be represented by a man who is a complete hypocrite and stands against one of the few politicians who supports everything HSLDA is supposed to stand for.