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Ron Paul's "50% NRTL" Rating Explained

I recently had a discussion with a friend about Ron Paul. He appreciates much of what the man stands for, but the number one issue for both of us has always been life - protecting the innocent unborn. Since Roe v. Wade, over 50,000,000 babies have been murdered before and during birth in what I consider the greatest genocide in human history. We are certainly not the only nation that contributes to the even higher worldwide figure, but in a sense we have wiped out a seventh of our population which currently clocks at just over 300,000,000. Had these babies been spared... our population would be over 350,000,000 (and we'd probably have a lot more young people supporting Ron Paul!) My friend pointed to the same thing Santorum did in a recent debate:

Congressman Paul has a National Right to Life voting record of 50 percent, which is pretty much what Harry Reid’s National Right to Life voting record is. So for — to go out and say that, you know, you’re someone who stands up for the right to life, you repeatedly vote against bills on a federal level to promote the right to life, and you say that this is an individual personal decision or state decision. Life should be protected, and you should have the willingness to stand up on a federal level and any level of government and protect what our — excuse me — what our declaration protects, which is the right of our Creator to life, and that is a federal issue, not a state issue.


The following is a note I sent him soon after our discussion (with minor edits):

You always challenge me... that is good - it forces me to be informed.

Here's an interesting endorsement from Norma McCorvey (aka "Jane Roe" of Roe v. Wade).


Along with her statement of endorsement, she said of Ron Paul during the 2008 R-nomination campaign, "He has never wavered on the issue of being pro-life and has a voting record to prove it. He understands the importance of civil liberties for all, including the unborn."

But then there's the 50% rating... 55% actually... from his 2005/2006 term.


Is Ms. McCorvey just ignorant? Paul currently has a 100% rating with NRTL, but it seems these ratings reset each time there is an election. It's simple... NRTL decides which bills they feel have bearing on the life issue, they decide how they think a representative should vote, then they count the number of times a representative agreed with them and divide that by the total number of times they voted on a bill from their list and use truncation to deal with decimal places. That's it.

In 2005 Paul voted against the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (H.R. 748, CIANA). It was reintroduced with amendments two more times in 2005 and again in 2006, and each time he voted against it. He agreed with NRTL on the other 5 bills he voted on (none of which were repeated with amendments). 5 divided by 9 - a flawed indicator I say. The day he voted against the bill for the last time, he explained himself. You might skim it over...

House of Representatives – September 26, 2006 [emp. added by me]:

Mr. Speaker, in the name of a truly laudable cause (preventing abortion and protecting parental rights), today the Congress could potentially move our Nation one step closer to a national police state by further expanding the list of Federal crimes and usurping power from the States to adequately address the issue of parental rights and family law. Of course, it is much easier to ride the current wave of criminally federalizing all human malfeasance 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 carried out by a centralized government. Who, after all, wants to be amongst those Members of Congress who are portrayed as trampling parental rights or supporting the transportation of minor females across state lines for ignoble purposes?

As an obstetrician of almost 40 years, I have personally delivered more than 4,000 children. During such time, I have not performed a single abortion. On the contrary, I have spoken and written extensively and publicly condemning this “medical” procedure. At the same time, I have remained committed to upholding the constitutional procedural protections which leave the police power decentralized and in control of the States. In the name of protecting parental rights, this bill usurps States’ rights by creating yet another Federal crime.

Our Federal Government is, constitutionally, a government of limited powers. Article one, Section eight, enumerates the legislative area 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.

Nevertheless, rather than abide by our constitutional limits, Congress today will likely pass S. 403. S. 403 amends title 18, United States Code, to prohibit taking minors across State lines to avoid laws requiring the involvement of parents in abortion decisions. Should parents be involved in decisions regarding the health of their children? Absolutely. Should the law respect parents’ rights to not have their children taken across State lines for contemptible purposes? Absolutely. Can a State pass an enforceable statute to prohibit taking minors across State lines to avoid laws requiring the involvement of parents in abortion decisions? Absolutely. But when asked if there exists constitutional authority for the Federal criminalizing of just such an action the answer is absolutely not.

This federalizing may have the effect of nationalizing a law with criminal penalties which may be less than those desired by some States. To the extent the Federal and State laws could co-exist, the necessity for a Federal law is undermined and an important bill of rights protection is virtually obliterated. Concurrent jurisdiction crimes 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.

We have been reminded by both Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and former U.S. Attorney General Ed Meese that more Federal crimes, while they make politicians feel good, are neither constitutionally sound nor prudent. Rehnquist has stated that “The trend to federalize crimes that traditionally have been handled in State courts ….. threatens to change entirely the nature of our Federal system.” Meese stated that Congress’ tendency in recent decades to make Federal crimes out of offenses that have historically been State matters has dangerous implications both for the fair administration of justice and for the principle that States are something more than mere administrative districts of a nation governed mainly from Washington.

The argument which springs from the criticism of a federalized criminal code and a Federal police force is 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 State autonomy and individual liberty from centralization of police power.

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. An inadequate Federal law, or an “adequate” Federal law improperly interpreted by the Supreme Court, preempts States’ rights to adequately address public health concerns. Roe v. Wade should serve as a sad reminder of the danger of making matters worse in all States by federalizing an issue.

It is my erstwhile hope that parents will become more involved in vigilantly monitoring the activities of their own children rather than shifting parental responsibility further upon the Federal Government. There was a time when a popular bumper sticker read "It’s ten o’clock; do you know where your children are?" I suppose we have devolved to the point where it reads "It’s ten o’clock; does the Federal Government know where your children are." Further socializing and burden shifting of the responsibilities of parenthood upon the Federal Government is simply not creating the proper incentive for parents to be more involved.

For each of these reasons, among others, I must oppose the further and unconstitutional centralization of police powers in the national government and, accordingly, S. 403.

The bill passed the House, but was killed in the Senate. I'm not sure how/if I would have voted... it would have taken a lot more research than I have done and a whole lot of prayer. The federalization of crimes could theoretically apply to all types of crimes... many of which are also laws against sinful behavior (granted - perhaps none more grotesque than this issue). But such is not American, nor do I believe doing so in any way promotes (and more than likely seriously endangers) the furtherance of the gospel or the ability of God's people to live in freedom and peace.


Paul has introduced the Sanctity of Life Act every congress since 2005 (the same term he received a 55%). This bill would do 2 things:

  1. Define life (and thus legal/human rights) as beginning at conception and
  2. Provide for States to have the Constitutional authority to defend life by removing court cases about abortion from the jurisdiction of the Federal Courts - which would effectively overturn Roe v. Wade and allow States to outlaw abortion

In 2005, we had a Republican House, Senate, and Presidency that decided to wait until they could pick different judges and move 38 States to amend the Constitution. That could take a while, and in the meantime millions of the innocent have been violently murdered without legal consequence.

Santorum did not lie... but it seems he was rather deceitful with his 50% remark. Some people will say whatever it takes to get elected... and some just wish they were better at articulating their positions so as not to be misunderstood.

I believe if we took Paul's suggested approach from 2005, we would not have yet crossed the 50,000,000 baby threshold as a nation. Millions would have been saved, and would continue to be saved. Maybe the cup of iniquity has already overflowed - either way there is hope for the church. I still hold out hope for this country as well. Though wickedness is strong, so also is Christ's influence.

Thanks to Trivium Pursuit Blog http://www.triviumpursuit.com/blog/2012/01/21/ron-paul-oppos... and CSA1861 for some of the leads and insight in putting this together.

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Personally, I don't trust

any of these special-interest organizations or NGOs.
They are all suspect of having hidden motives, IMO.

Worth the Time to Read

This article not only explains why Ron Paul received a 50% rating from National Right to Life (in 2005-2006!--he's generally around 100%), but it also is a great education in Ron Paul's constitutional thinking, and his willingness to vote principle over politics even when it's a position he sympathizes with.

I think this would be an example of a good response to the question Ron Paul sometimes gets about not passing legislation. Read the article about the legislation Ron Paul proposed in 2005 defending life from conception, and realize that the Republicans controlled the presidency, the senate, and the house that year. If other Republicans are so pro life, why did they not support his bill? As this article also notes, if Republicans had followed Ron Paul's position of taking jurisdiction on abortion away from federal courts (requiring only a simple majority) MILLIONS of lives would have been saved.

This is an article worth the time reading, especially if you have evangelical friends who find this aspect of the pro-life question very important. We still need to work on the just war aspect with them, but some have left Ron Paul just over abortion, when he is really their best friend here.

Excellent Defense My Friend

Excellent piece you have refuting Santorum there my friend. Excellent.

I'm a Professor, my name is Wall

Excellent Defense

Has your friend replied? Its a shame that misinformation gets bounced around amongst pro-life and religious groups. Are people are lazy and not doing their homework, or do they really have some other objection and find this an easy excuse. I tend to think that its about 50/50, an there is a huge block of votes waiting if we can get past the group-think.

I'm not sure he's read the

I'm not sure he's read the email yet. I doubt we'll come to an agreement in time for Tuesday in which case I'll cancel out his vote with my own. :) Like myself, he will be voting with pleasing God as his primary motivator. I don't actually know who he'll vote for...

"For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God."
(1 Peter 2:15-16)

Move to another forum?

I'm pretty new here... Is this in the right forum? Should I move it elsewhere?

"For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God."
(1 Peter 2:15-16)

Excellent find

thank you.

Ah good deal. Great

Ah good deal. Great explanation! That blog post is also an excellent defense of his Constitutional approach to saving lives...

On a side note, When you mentioned that we'd have more Paul supporters if not for abortion, it made me stop and think.. "I wonder what potential best friends, class mates, teammates, college roommates, or groomsmen I never got to have a friendship with because they were aborted in the late 80s when I was born..." Sobering thought.

"You must be frank with the world; frankness is the child of honesty and courage...Never do anything wrong to make a friend or keep one...Above all do not appear to others what you are not" - Robert E. Lee, CSA

And thank you for the

And thank you for the insight!

"For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God."
(1 Peter 2:15-16)

Great Information!

Thank you for taking the time to gather this information together. I myself was wondering about it and this article clarified the miscommunication on Santorum's part.