Anti-Choicers Admit They Want to Imprison Women for Abortion


Iowa Anti-Choicers Admit They Want to Imprison Women for Abortion
Amanda Marcotte

by Amanda Marcotte

Rep. Rob Bacon of IowaRep. Rob Bacon of Iowa

A little over a month into 2013, and one thing is absolutely certain: Anti-choice legislators aren’t going to let the damage that their war on women did to their fellow conservative politicians’ electoral prospects slow them down from competing with each other to show who can concoct the most vile schemes to undermine women’s rights. Now Iowa Republicans are flexing their muscles, trying to show that they hate the ladies even more than the forced-transvaginal-ultrasound folks in Michigan, Texas, and Virginia, or the women-can’t-think-on-weekends-and-holidays nuts in South Dakota.

Nine state representatives in Iowa have introduced a bill that would define killing a fertilized egg as “murder”.

707.1 Murder defined.

1. A person who kills another person with malice aforethought either express or implied commits murder.

2. “Person”, when referring to the victim of a murder, means an individual human being, without regard to age of development, from the moment of conception, when a zygote is formed, until natural death.

Murder includes killing another person through any means that terminates the life of the other person including but not limited to the use of abortion-inducing drugs. For the purposes of this section, “abortion-inducing drug” means a medicine, drug, or any other substance prescribed or dispensed with the intent of terminating the clinically diagnosable pregnancy of a woman, with knowledge that the drug will with reasonable likelihood cause the termination of the pregnancy. “Abortion-inducing drug” includes the off-label use of drugs known to have abortion-inducing properties, which are prescribed specifically with the intent of causing an abortion, but does not include drugs that may be known to cause an abortion, but which are prescribed for other medical indications.

The point of this bill is, simply put, to throw women in jail for “murder” for deliberately ending pregnancies—and quite possibly for trying to prevent them, as many anti-choicers continue to insist, despite the evidence against them, that the pill and emergency contraception work by “killing” fertilized eggs. (They work by suppressing ovulation and preventing fertilization.) The language of this is quite expansive. They’re not only counting women who reach out to legal providers for abortion as “murderers,” but also women who go online and buy drugs for this purpose. The broadness of this suggests that they may even try to snag women for “murder” for taking common rue, a herbal medication women use to kick start their period (and potentially end an unwanted pregnancy) if they’re late.

This is a dramatic shift in the traditional anti-choice approach to discussing the issue of how to handle women who seek abortion. While I personally have no doubt that many to most anti-choicers fully intend and have always intended to get to a place where women are being jailed for abortion, the official stance of anti-choice legislators and activists is generally to deny believing that nearly a third of American women should go to jail for “murder.” Maintaining the illusion of disinterest in punishing women for abortion with jail is so important that after Rep. Cathrynn Brown of New Mexico was caught proposing jail for rape victims who get abortion, she rewrote the bill specifically to avoid the accusation.

Claiming they don’t believe that women who get abortions are murderers even while calling abortion “murder” has been a huge part of the anti-choice movement for years. (See discussions about it from 2006, 2007, and 2010, for instance. There’s also this fun video that makes the rounds periodically that demonstrates how inane this little dance really is.) This giant failure of logic stems from a couple of things, but mainly because it’s well-understood that anti-choicers don’t actually think abortion is murder, and just want to punish women for sex. And jail time for sex is just going to strike most people as inhumane in the extreme. So they’ve split the difference and said they intend to jail doctors but not women—a position, that while illogical in its rationale at least made them seem slightly less malevolent towards women.

So what’s changed that some anti-choicers, in Iowa at least, are coming out and not only admitting they want a third of women to go to jail for abortion, but are aggressively pushing for it? A huge chunk of it is the result of the overall shift rightward amongst conservatives in the past few years, a shift that is increasing extremism on many fronts, such as more overt racism and, as we’ve seen in recent weeks, an absolutist stance against gun control that resists even the most common sense measures.

But it’s probably also partially a reaction to the changing landscape of abortion. The growing popularity of medication abortion plus an abundance of illegal pharmacies selling all manner of drugs online and the increasing restrictions on legal abortion have created a situation where everyone believes—even though hard evidence is elusive—that more women are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to abortion. As Ada Calhoun of the New Republic explained:

Online, however, these drugs are readily available, often via suspicious-sounding sites that make claims like: “The Affordable Abortion Pill Will Safely, Quickly Terminate Your Undeveloped Fetus In The Privacy Of Your Home, Save You Time And Hundreds Of Dollars. It Is 100% Clinically Safe, Very Effective And The Most Affordable Abortion Pill You Will Get Your Hands On For Now!!!”

Determining how many American women have had home abortions is exceedingly difficult: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not track illegal abortions. There is no blood test for drugs like Cytotec, and so such an abortion is indistinguishable from a natural miscarriage, even to a doctor. However, the proliferation of online dispensers suggests a rising demand. There are thousands of websites selling Cytotec for as little as $45 to $75 (compared with $300 to $800 for a legal medicated abortion in a clinic). Some claim to offer the harder-to-come-by Mifeprex, but may in fact be peddling Cytotec, or aspirin, or nothing at all. (Possible sources for the drugs include Mexico, where Cytotec is available over the counter, or even the United States, since it’s also prescribed here as an ulcer medication.)

The traditional anti-choice stance of blaming the provider while pretending the patient is a mindless baby machine and not a choice-making person is harder to maintain in the face of women acting as their own providers. It’s common for anti-choicers to paint an image of an abortion patient as a woman who simply hasn’t thought about it—this also helps justify waiting periods to “think” it over—and who is a victim of greedy doctors and evil feminists who are somehow tricking women (who they clearly imagine are very, very stupid) into getting abortions. But even anti-choicers with the most active imaginations have to struggle with explaining how a woman can fire up a computer, search around for black market abortion-inducing drugs, and order them without being capable of making a decision and therefore being held accountable to the laws regarding that decision.

So this is where we’re at: Iowan anti-choicers admitting they want to throw women in jail for abortion. It’s an unpopular stance precisely because it lays bare the misogyny of the anti-choice movement. Instead of dithering around with more waiting periods and humiliating mandatory ultrasounds, I sort of hope more anti-choicers start demanding jail time for a third of American women. That sort of thing can offer clarity for people who had any doubt left that the anti-choice movement is, indeed, nothing but a war on women.

Crazy Michele Bachmann ‘Steps Aside’ For Equally Unhinged Rick Santorum


Bye Bye Bachmann
Bye Bye Bachmann
by vjack
Michele Bachmann
It is all over for Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). She did not get her miracle after all. Jesus was not in her corner like she thought. And that is really good news for the reality-based community.
As she announced that she was dropping out of the presidential race following her poor showing in Iowa, Bachmann repeatedly referred to her god, you know, the god who wanted her to run for president in the first place.

Surrounded by her family, Mrs. Bachmann invoked her faith frequently. “I look forward to the next chapter in God’s plan,” she said. “He has one for each of us, you know.”

Did her god change its mind? Did she simply misunderstand her god? Of course not. Running a losing campaign based on lies was exactly what her god wanted of her. I mean, what other explanation could there be?

I know some atheists will miss Bachmann. Her antics were undeniably entertaining. I’ll certainly grant you that. But we must remember that she represents something dangerous: American theocracy. You see, Michele Bachmann is a true Christian extremist. Keeping her far away from political power of any sort is a good thing.

Anyone remotely in touch with reality – which, of course, ruled out Michele Bachmann and husband “Marcia” Bachmann (pictured above) – would have known that Michele Bachmann didn’t had a snowball’s chance in Hell of moving forward beyond Iowa in the GOP presidential clown car contest. And as one blogger noted, when Bachmann claims she heard God telling her to run for president, she should have asked “president of what?” In any event, in the wake of her disastrous showing in Iowa, Bachmann has been forced to at least briefly get in touch with reality and the result is that she is suspending – translated, ending – her presidential campaign. Frankly, given Bachmann’s unbridled homophobia and her marketing of reparative therapy through “Marcia” Bachmann’s “Christian counseling clinics,” I find it difficult to have even a shred of sympathy for her. Here are some highlights from Politico:

Michele Bachmann announced Wednesday morning that she would drop her GOP presidential bid after a sixth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses Tuesday. “Last night, the people in Iowa spoke with a very clear voice, and so I have decided to step aside,” Bachmann told supporters in West Des Moines.

She did not endorse one of her rivals, but said instead that Republicans “must rally” around whoever the party chooses as its “standard-bearer” in the race.

Her departure will give a boost to Rick Santorum, whose recent surge put him in a virtual tie with Mitt Romney on Tuesday.

Heading into South Carolina, where evangelicals and social conservatives dominate the pool of potential voters, Santorum will be in a better position to consolidate that support. Santorum’s hoping to establish himself as the new — and perhaps final — conservative alternative to Romney

[H]er campaign was beset by a string of gaffes — starting with the assertion at her campaign launch that Waterloo was the home of John Wayne, when it was actually the hometown of serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Another blow came when Ed Rollins, her campaign manager, departed and began speaking out against Bachmann on cable TV and in the media.
Heading into the fall, Bachmann tried to derail the then-front-runner Perry by attacking him for mandating the HPV vaccine Gardasil. But the blowback of her claims that the vaccine caused mental retardation hurt her as well

Since her decline began, Bachmann had been banking on a strong finish with Iowa’s social conservative and evangelical voters. Last month, when Iowa conservative leader Bob Vander Plaats endorsed Santorum and called Bachmann asking her to consider dropping out, it became clear that she would not be the top choice of social conservatives in the state.

Bachmann is up for reelection to the House in November, but did not make any announcement regarding her plans for that race. Congressional observers and those in her district say she’d be a virtual lock for reelection if she decides to run.

With Bachmann out of the running, the equally unhinged Rick Santorum will be the short term beneficiary. However, one can only hope that as a result of Santorum’s new high profile, the media and his opponents will seriously focus on his significant baggage and far out of the mainstream positions on divorce, contraception and, of course, treatment of LGBT citizens. As for Bachmann’s re-election to her House seat, I hope and pray that her constituents may have waken up to the fact that she’s a huge liability to her district and the State of Minnesota.

https://theageofblasphemy.wordpress.com/

Newt Gingrich, Crackpot “Historian”


Uber Buffoon and Serial Philanderer Newt Gingrich Turns Pseudo- “Historian”

Article image

Newt Gingrich has risen in the polls over past weeks while maintaining the traveling salesman routine that had previously made him a punch line.

Since entering the race in May, he has released a new documentary, and now has published his newest book The Battle of the Crater.

However this new book is leaving many people confused due to its lack of correct historical facts.

Read it at Mother Jones

Newt Gingrich | Catholic Facsist Theocrat


Gingrich Promises Presidential Commission On Ending The Separation Of Church/State

Catholic Crusader Newt Gingrich has published a document vowing that “on Day One” of his presidency he will create a commission to investigate any attempt to enforce the separation of church and state. He also promises that he will thwart any attempt to stop the religious bullying of LGBT students.

Effectively, Gingrich is saying that he endorses the right of Christians to express “their conscience” and harass, threaten, bully, and beat LGBT kids if God says they should.

 

 

Rick Perry Embraces Sadistic Anti-Choice Fanatics


Rick Perry Joins the Heartless Anti-Choice Fanatics

Via Charles Johnson

It’s horrifying to hear almost all the GOP presidential candidates proudly saying that victims of rape or incest should be forced to give birth to an attacker’s child. There’s nothing that makes the utter heartlessness of this fanatical agenda more evident, and now Rick Perry (who previously supported rape/incest exceptions) has announced that he’s a monster like the rest of them: Perry changes stance to oppose all abortions.

CNNTexas Gov. Rick Perry revealed a hardening in his stance on abortion Tuesday, telling a crowd in Iowa that he opposed abortions in all cases, including when a woman had been raped or the victim of incest.

Previously, Perry had not opposed the procedure in cases of rape or incest, or when the mother’s life was threatened.

Responding to a question about the change in position, Perry said, “You’re seeing a transformation.”

Perry told the crowd at his campaign stop that the decision came after watching a documentary on abortion produced by former Arkansas governor and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

“That transformation was after watching the DVD, ‘The Gift of Life,’” Perry said. “And I really started giving some thought about the issue of rape and incest. And some powerful, some powerful stories in that DVD.”

Perry said a woman who appeared in the movie who said she was a product of rape moved him to change his mind about abortion.

“She said, ‘My life has worth.’ It was a powerful moment for me,” Perry said.

Mitt Romney Panders to The American Taliban aka American Religious Right Crazies


Romney Blasts Secularism, Endorses Mixing Church and State
Wearing God on his sleeve
by Charles Johnson

How do you know when the Iowa Caucuses are approaching?

When Mormon Mitt Romney starts sounding like Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum, all rolled into one ranting Christian fundamentalist: Romney talks ‘war on religion’ in Iowa.

“I know there are some people who would like to make this nation a secular nation, who want to take God out of everything that exists in this country. They try to say it’s unconstitutional,” Romney said. “I trust in God, and I know you do, and I believe it’s appropriate for us to recognize in the public square that we do indeed have a creator and that we trust in our creator, particularly at this time of year.”

Romney was responding to a question about celebrating Christmas as a religious holiday, particularly in schools. The question offered Romney a chance to contrast with fellow Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry, who is running an ad on Iowa TV that accuses President Obama of waging a “war on religion.” American children cannot “openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school,” Perry says in the ad.

“How do you take God out of America when the declaration points out it’s God that gave us those rights in the first place?” Romney said. “I believe that we should be able to have religious ornamentation and celebration in the public square. Whether that’s a manger or a menorah, or representatives of other faiths, it is important for us as a society to recognize that we look to God for many of our blessings.”

There’s a reason Romney cited the Declaration of Independence in his pandering statement, instead of the far more important US Constitution. The Constitution goes out of its way to avoid any hint of endorsing religion, but the Declaration uses the words “endowed by their Creator.”

This is a religious far right talking point, originating among people who actually want to turn the country into a theocracy — and Mitt Romney is now parroting their propaganda.

It’s a measure of how thoroughly this craziness has spread throughout the Republican base.

Via:- http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/39630_Romney_Blasts_Secularism_Endorses_Mixing_Church_and_State

The Insane Ravings of Newt Gingrich


10 of The Craziest Things Newt Gingrich Has Ever Said

            Among other things, Newt worries that the country will become both atheistic and Muslim.

December 8, 2011  |

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is the latest not-Romney to capture the attention of GOP primary voters. With a solid lead in three early primary states, he’s giving the erstwhile front-runner a serious run for his money.  While Newt may be the flavor of the moment, the Iowa caucuses are just three weeks away, so while he’s behind in fund-raising and has had trouble organizing a nationwide campaign, it’s impossible to count him out.

In light of his resurgence, let’s take a trip down memory lane and examine some of the most absurd statements Gingrich has made over the years. Rehashing every outrageous comment by Gingrich would be a lengthy endeavor, so this is not a comprehensive list.

1. No free speech for you!

In 2006, at an awards dinner honoring the preservation of free speech no less, Gingrich unleashed the scary specter of terrorism to argue that free speech must be curtailed, which he admitted would ignite “a serious debate about the First Amendment.”

Gingrich said:

Either before we lose a city or, if we are truly stupid, after we lose a city, we will adopt rules of engagement that use every technology we can find to break up their capacity to use the Internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech, and to go after people who want to kill us to stop them from recruiting people before they get to reach out and convince young people to destroy their lives while destroying us.

His remarks immediately sparked controversy, leading him to write an op-ed days later in which he clarified  that the First Amendment should not be used as a shield for terrorists  working “to build ‘franchises’ among leftist, antiglobalization groups worldwide, especially in Latin America.”

2. Muslims don’t count

Remember last year when the right freaked out over Park 51, the planned Muslim Community Center in lower Manhattan? Because of its location, two blocks from the World Trade Center site, the right renamed the proposed interfaith, Muslim-run community center the “ground zero mosque.”

Some of the most appalling right-wing statements against Park 51 came from none other than Newt Gingrich, who made one bigoted comment after the next.  First, he demanded that America adopt the same religious  intolerance that marks the repressive monarchy of Saudi Arabia: “There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

He then proceeded to equate American Muslims not just to terrorists, but Nazis, arguing that building a mosque near Ground Zero “would be like putting a Nazi sign next to the Holocaust Museum.”

3. Yay for child labor!

Newt Gingrich longs for an era when children as young as five could slave away for 14 hours a day in a sweatshop.  At least that’s the impression he gave when declaring to a crowd at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government that child labor laws should go.

“It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in, first of all, child [labor] laws, which are truly stupid,” said Gingrich, adding, “Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor, and pay local students to take care of the school.”

Weeks later Gingrich doubled down:

Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works, so they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday.

They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of “I do this and you give me cash” unless it’s illegal.

But not to worry, even Gingrich has his limits.  When speaking to WNYM radio host Curtis Sliwa, he clarified, “Kids shouldn’t work in coal mines; kids shouldn’t work in heavy industry,” but he still supports having  poor school kids scrub toilets in public schools.

4. Blame the gays

In October, during a campaign stop in Iowa, Gingrich called gay marriage a “temporary aberration” that “fundamentally goes against everything we know.” He reminded his audience that “marriage is between a man and woman” and “has been for all of recorded history.”

This coming from a past adulterer who has been married three times. It’s not the number of marriages or even the affair that makes this statement outrageous, but rather the hypocrisy.  In his personal life, he has no problem disrespecting the so-called “institution of marriage,” yet when it comes to giving same-sex couples the right to marry, Gingrich is suddenly raging with concern about the sanctity of marriage and commitment.

And, as someone who constantly reminds his audiences that he’s a historian, it’s odd that Gingrich doesn’t know that polygamy has been the most common domestic arrangement in human history.

Gingrich’s disdain for LGBT marriage equality was on display one month earlier during an interview with Catholic radio, where he cast blame on same-sex marriage for the country’s economic woes.

5. Life as a white man is so unfair

Gingrich, like most conservatives, loves to play the victim card, like the time he called then Supreme Court Judge nominee Sonya Sotomayor a “reverse racist.”  This was in response to a statement made by Sotomayor during a 2001 lecture at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, where she said, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

However, Gingrich and his fellow conservatives conveniently ignored the broader context of Sotomayor’s speech. She was making reference to former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor‘s famous saying: “A wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases.”  Sotomayor went on to say that she hoped her gender and race would give her unique insight into cases that others on the bench, such as wise old men, may lack.

Gingrich was so outraged by her remark that he went to Twitter to air his grievances.  “Imagine a judicial nominee said ‘my experience as a white man makes me better than a Latina woman.’ New racism is no better than old racism,” wrote Gingrich, adding: “White man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw.”

6. Obama the secret Kenyan

It seems like it was ages ago that Gingrich told the National Review that President Obama was some sort of undercover Kenyan out to destroy America. That is the conclusion he reached after reading a Forbes article by Dinesh D’Souza that accused Obama of having an “African socialist” agenda that he adopted from his Kenyan father.  From the National Review interview:

Gingrich says that D’Souza has made a “stunning insight” into Obama’s behavior — the “most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama.”

“What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anticolonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?” Gingrich asks. “That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.”

“I think Obama gets up every morning with a world view that is fundamentally wrong about reality,” Gingrich says. “If you look at the continuous denial of reality, there has got to be a point where someone stands up and says that this is just factually insane.”

The words speak for themselves.

7. Religious radical atheists?

In March, Gingrich gave a chilling speech about the frightening future in store for his grandchildren if godless liberals have it their way.  Or was it Muslim liberals?

I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age, they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.

Who knew that one could be both a secular atheist and radical Muslim at the same time?

8. So what if women get paid less?

In the land of Gingrich, the fact that women still make less than men isn’t all that important.  During a recent campaign stop at Harvard, Gingrich fielded a question from freshman undergraduate Holly Flynn, who said:

I’d like you to clarify your stance on women’s rights. And I’d like to know what you’d do to ensure gender equality in the United States. Given that even today, women make 77 cents to every man’s dollar.

Not only was Gingrich dismissive of the pay gap, he even twisted the facts around to showcase men as the real victims here:

Well, the latter is going to change dramatically in the next generation, because more women are going to college than men. And they’re doing better than men and entering professions more than men,” replied Gingrich. “In fact, if anything, you’ll be here in 15 years wondering what we’ll do about men inequality and male unemployment. Because the people who had the deepest decline of income are males who don’t go to college.

His analysis feeds into a larger narrative that says women are rising to the top and men are losing out, which is most apparent in what Alice O’Conner calls “the myth of the mancession,” referring to the notion that the recession has been far more devastating for men than women.  O’Conner notes that men lost a greater share of jobs when the recession first hit, but only because “they are disproportionately represented in traditionally hard-hit and better-paying sectors of the economy.”

9. Guilty until proven innocent

At the Nov. 22 CNN Republican debate on National Security, Gingrich said, “I think it’s desperately important that we preserve your right to be innocent until proven guilty,” but only “if it’s a matter of criminal law.” He rejects applying these same basic standards in cases of national security — crimes for which he believes due process should be thrown out the window.

Gingrich makes the bizarre argument that if we allow alleged terrorists due process, America could be nuked.  His words: “If you’re trying to find somebody who may have a nuclear weapon that they are trying to bring into an American city, I think you want to use every tool that you can possibly use to gather the intelligence.”It’s unclear what this unlikely Jack Bauer scenario has to do with trying people who are already in custody.

10. Torture is not torture

At a town hall last week at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, an audience member asked Gingrich about his position on torture.  Newt replied:

Waterboarding is by every technical rule not torture. [Applause] Waterboarding is actually something we’ve done with our own pilots in order to get them used to the idea to what interrogation is like. It’s not — I’m not saying it’s not bad, and it’s not difficult, it’s not frightening. I’m just saying that under the normal rules internationally, it’s not torture.

I think the right balance is that a prisoner can only be waterboarded at the direction of the President in a circumstance which the information was of such great importance that we thought it was worth the risk of doing it, and I do that frankly only out of concern for world opinion. But we do not want to be known as a country that capriciously mistreats human beings.

Besides the fact that (a) waterboarding is morally reprehensible and (b) torture doesn’t work, there is no doubt under international law that waterboarding is indeed a form of torture, according to Juan Mendez, the United Nations’s Special Rapporteur on Torture.  The U.S. Army Field Manual also bans the use of waterboarding, because it’s considered a form of torture.

11. Bonus: Death to drug dealers

In 1995, when Gingrich was Speaker of the House, he advocated using the death penalty against drug dealers, saying, “You import commercial quantities of drugs in the United States for the purpose of destroying our children. We will kill you.”

When recently asked in an interview with Yahoo News whether he still supported executing drug dealers, he danced around the question, suggesting that drug cartel leaders should face the death penalty (which they already do in some circumstances).

He then praised Singapore, which enforces corporal punishment such as caning for minor offenses and the death penalty for drug offenses, as a model for drug policy, saying, “Places like Singapore have been the most successful at doing that. They’ve been very draconian. And they have communicated with great intention that they intend to stop drugs from coming into their country.”

Theocon Theocrat Ron Paul Courts Religious Conservatives


Saint Paul: Inside Ron Paul’s effort to convince Christian conservatives that he’s their man

As most lizards already know Ron Paul is just a paleocon theocrat in Libertarian trappings
by Randall Gross — Wingnuts

[Link: news.yahoo.com…]

If the press weren’t so lazy they would pin down Paul on the large logical inconsistencies between his libertarian posturing and pronounced theocrat leaning.

During his years in public office, Paul branded himself more as a “constitutional conservative” than a crusader against gay marriage and abortion. Most political observers know him more for his youthful fan base of passionate and, occasionally, rowdy supporters and his earnest defense of drug legalization. But the latest Iowa Poll, conducted for the Des Moines Register at the end of November, found that 17 percent of likely Republican caucusgoers said they thought Paul was “the most socially conservative” candidate in the race, second only to Michele Bachmann with 27 percent. (The margin of error was plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.)

Only 1 in 10 likely caucusgoers in the poll said Newt Gingrich was the most socially conservative candidate, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney fared even worse with just 8 percent. The same poll found that 64 percent of Iowa’s likely voters considered themselves to be “very” or “mostly” conservative on gay marriage and abortion. In June, a survey conducted by the same group found that 58 percent of likely caucusgoers said a candidate’s support for civil unions for gay and lesbian couples would be considered a “deal killer.”

Paul sides with social conservatives on most issues: He believes that marriage should be defined as being between only one man and one woman and he does not think the federal government should guarantee women the right to have an abortion, a position influenced by his decades as an obstetrician who delivered thousands of babies. In public speeches, Paul often articulates a biblical foundation for his economic policies, framing capitalism as the moral giant among all other economic systems.

Prominent religious conservatives in Iowa, however, object that Paul does not apply his beliefs at the national level. Paul does not support a constitutional amendment to ban abortion, and he opposes a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. He thinks both issues should be left up to the states.

“I don’t want the federal government dictating marriage definitions nor a position on right to life,” Paul said in March during an event at the University of Iowa. “It should be done locally. It’ll be imperfect, probably, because every state won’t be the same, but what is really bad is when you allow the federal government to define marriage and put the pressure and make the states follow those laws.”