In 36 hours shadowing Rand Paul on the campaign trail, I found the Kentucky senator to be a pretty reserved, quiet guy. But he loosens up a bit, and will happily talk at length, when it comes to his ideas about cutting taxes, upholding the Fourth Amendment, or using the internet to let “one professor … teach everybody in the whole world.”
But I found that he is less enthusiastic to discuss his views on abortion.
Paul is the co-sponsor of a bill called the Life at Conception Act, which would make fertilized eggs full legal persons under the 14th Amendment. That means that abortion—from the moment of conception, before most women even realize they’re pregnant–would be, in Paul’s own words, banned “once and for all.” It could also mean that the doctors who perform abortions would be committing the equivalent of murder.
But when I asked Paul how that squared with his libertarian-leaning, small-government ethos, he said that his anti-abortion policy positions are consistent with the principle of “non-aggression.” Then he took off his mic and walked to his car. The next day, when I asked whether his bill could lead to the jailing of doctors who perform abortions, he replied, “No,” climbed into an idling car, and drove off.