An Open Letter to Pro-Lifers


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My parents, my older brother and I arrived in America on August 6, 1949. We sailed from West Germany, where I was born in 1946, and a few months after the Szabrinski (later changed to Sabrin) family emigrated from Poland. My dad and mom were the only ones in their respective families who survived the Holocaust in their native Poland. I grew up in New York City never knowing my grandparents, uncles or aunts. All my parents’ siblings were killed before they had children. I never had any first cousins.

Living in Manhattan and then in the Bronx during the 1950s and 1960s, politics was never discussed much at home, because my father it seemed was always working and we never had a chance to discuss politics at length. Nevertheless, I do remember my father mentioning he contributed $5 to Adlai Stevenson’s 1956 presidential campaign. My "job" as a youngster was simple — get an education and become a professional, so I wouldn’t have to work as hard as he had as a sheet metal worker, then as a New York City taxicab owner/driver.

One of my father’s great passions was the survival of the State of Israel — a very common feeling among Holocaust survivors. I shared his concern growing up, but I did not have that "connection" his generation had to Israel, nor for that matter many of my generation, children of Holocaust survivors. I always felt America was my "Zion" having become thoroughly assimilated in American culture, and at a very early age embracing the principles of the Declaration of Independence, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I bring this up so you will know "where I am coming from."

As a New York City college student in the late 1960s, I applauded the New York State legislature’s decision to legalize abortion in 1967. At the time I was a middle-of-the road Democrat who did not believe the government had the authority to force women to have babies against their will. However, I did not agree with the Supreme Court’s 1973 notorious Roe v. Wade decision to legalize abortion. By 1973 I had become a pro-choice libertarian who supported federalism, the principle that contentious issues such as abortion should be decided at the state or local level. I therefore agreed with the pro-life community but for different reasons. I wanted abortion legal but decided at the state level; while pro-lifers wanted Roe v. Wade overturned so anti-abortion states could keep abortion illegal. To me the ideal "compromise" of the most controversial issue in America was simple: pro-lifers and pro-choice advocates should battle the abortion question at the statehouse. This would be democracy in action.

In the mid-1990s one of my "nontraditional students" (someone older than 25) showed me a picture of a procedure called "partial birth abortion." I was appalled that this could be legal, a fully developed baby brutally killed in a grizzly procedure that animal lovers would protest if done on a household pet or any other animal. I was under the impression that Roe allowed states to ban abortion in the last trimester and could regulate abortion in the second trimester. I was wrong. Apparently, abortion on demand has been the law of the land since 1973. I therefore could be described as a pro-choice, anti-partial birth abortion libertarian.

In March 1997 the Libertarian Party of New Jersey invited me to be its gubernatorial candidate that year. (I was a political independent at the time, having left the Republican Party in 1971 soon after I joined it in opposition to Johnson’s welfare-warfare state policies. President Nixon’s expansion of the Vietnam War and his economic controls revealed the GOP paid lip service to limited government. I concluded back then that we only have one party in DC, the "Washington Party".) I attended the Libertarian Party state convention at the end of the month and I was nominated without opposition to run against Gov. Christie Whitman, a pro-choice Republican and the eventual pro-choice Democrat candidate, Jim McGreevey, who was a mayor and state senator at the time. Both Whitman and McGreevey supported partial birth abortion during the campaign. So much for compassionate establishment Republicans and Democrats.

The partial birth issue was to become one of the front-burner issues during the fall general election campaign. Moreover, I also sought guidance on the issue of abortion in general; I knew Rep. Ron Paul, who I have known since 1982, was a pro-life libertarian Republican. I called him to get his input on the abortion issue. He told me he wrote a book on abortion making a libertarian case for the pro-life position. I asked him to send me a copy. I read his beautifully written 100-page Challenge to Liberty in one reading and from then on I became a pro-life libertarian.

I never ever thought I could ever be convinced that a pro-life position was consistent with liberty and limited government. But in Challenge to Liberty, subtitled Coming to Grip with the Abortion Issue, Ron Paul demonstrated that logic is an indispensable tool to change peoples’ minds, especially when it comes to hot button issues like abortion.

For me politically, I rejoined the Republican Party in 1999 as a Ron Paul Republican and sought the 2000 GOP nomination for the U. S. Senate. I initially was in the race against Gov. Whitman who dropped out of contention in September 1999 and then three establishment Republicans jumped in the race. The primary was held in June 2000; I came in fourth as the GOP establishment used every legal trick in the book to thwart my effort.

But getting back to Ron Paul’s bid for the presidency: Can you imagine what "miracles" Ron Paul could perform from the "bully pulpit" of the White House? If Dr. Paul could convince me abortion is incompatible with morality and humanitarianism, then there is hope that he could convince millions, maybe tens of millions of Americans that they should embrace the pro-life position. However, for many men and women a candidate’s abortion position is a litmus test. Yet, Ron Paul’s pro-life stance does seem to deter many pro-choice voters from supporting him. Why? Ron Paul is a man of unsurpassed integrity, is an unwavering advocate of liberty, free enterprise, and a noninterventionist foreign policy. Moreover, Dr. Paul shares all the family values pro-lifers could hope for in a presidential candidate. Please visit his website,

By supporting Ron Paul for president, pro-lifers get an unequivocal pro-life president who has the best strategy to deal with the abortion issue. As Lew Rockwell wrote recently on his blog:

Ron Paul, while a pro-life champion for all his life, has always opposed a constitutional amendment against abortion. Roe v. Wade was a usurpation of federal power against the states, and it can and should be undone by Congress. Congress has the explicit constitutional authority to determine the jurisdiction of the Supreme and other federal courts, except for a very narrow area (lawsuits between foreign governments and the US government, etc.).

A simple vote of both houses of Congress would do it, as Ron has long proposed legislatively. His bill would strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over abortion. But the Republicans don’t want to repeal Roe anymore than the Democrats do. It is too fertile an issue for both parties.

Under a constitutional regime, the states handle such questions. New York and California, for example, would have legal abortion; Alabama and North Dakota would not. Of course, there would be no federal abortions performed or subsidized, under Medicaid, the military, the Indian Health Service, etc. (Funny how the allegedly pro-life Bush has never vetoed tax-paid abortions in military hospitals.)

Such a federalist regime wouldn’t satisfy the centralizing ultras on either side, who would be welcome to fight it out in the state legislatures, but the vast majority of Americans would sigh in relief.

In any event, only religion can effectively battle abortion, not the guns and jails of the government….

For pro-lifers who are supporting and flirting with voting for Mike Huckabee in Iowa, New Hampshire and other early caucus and primary states, I urge you to first read Dr. Paul’s positions on abortion. Contrast Ron Paul’s positions with Mike Huckabee who writes on his website, "To me, life doesn’t begin at conception and end at birth. Every child deserves a quality education, first-rate health care, decent housing in a safe neighborhood…" (Emphasis added) In short, Mike Huckabee believes in a comprehensive welfare state just like any Democrat running for president. Mike Huckabee believes in big government. Big government is bankrupting America and Huckabee wants to expand the entitlement culture and commitments of the federal government. Mike Huckabee is a supporter of the most anti—pro-life policies of the federal government, preemptive war and nation building. He wants to "save face" in Iraq. The American people cannot afford to have Mike Huckabee in the White House continue and expand the welfare-warfare state.

My fellow pro-lifers, Ron Paul opposes the welfare-warfare state with all his heart and soul and mind. When you go the caucuses and voting booths in January and February, there is only one candidate who is running for president who deserves your support: the baby doctor, the champion of the constitution and a great human being, Ron Paul, who I am proud to call my friend and hero.

Sincerely, Murray Sabrin