Rand Paul Trying To Add “Personhood” Amendment To Flood Insurance Bill

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is trying to attach an amendment that would define personhood as beginning at fertilization to a bill regarding flood insurance:

WASHINGTON — Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) moved this week to hold a noncontroversial flood insurance bill hostage until the Senate agrees that life begins at fertilization.

The bill, which would financially boost the National Flood Insurance Program on the cusp of hurricane season, had been expected to pass easily in the Senate. But since Paul on Monday offered an unrelated “fetal personhood” amendment, which would give legal protections to fetuses from the moment of fertilization, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is threatening to halt progress on the legislation.

“I’m told last night that one of our Republican senators wants to offer an amendment — listen to this one — wants to offer an amendment on when life begins,” Reid said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “I am not going to put up with that on flood insurance. I can be condemned by outside sources; my friends can say, ‘Let them have a vote on it.’ There will not be a vote on that on flood insurance. We’ll either do flood insurance with the amendments that deal with flood insurance, or we won’t do it. We’ll have an extension.”

Reid has allowed Republicans to attach unrelated amendments to other important bills in the past few months. Most notably, he let the Senate vote on a contraception-related amendment, proposed by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), to a transportation bill. But Reid called Paul’s measure “ridiculous” and “outlandish,” and asked Republicans to deal with him on “their side of the aisle.”

Paul told reporters on Tuesday afternoon that he is “just trying to get a vote for people who elected me.”

“Can you believe that they’re exasperated with me?” he said, responding to criticism of his attempt to attach the unrelated amendment. “If [Reid will] give me a freestanding vote, I’ll take a freestanding vote any time.”

Yea, whatever Senator. What I want to know is the answer to a very simple question which, as a member of the Paul family, you ought to be very familiar with —- which part of the Constitution authorizes Congress to determine that life begins at fertilization?

Notwithstanding, and giving him due credit for, his foreign policy positions, my patience with Senator Paul is nearing an end.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Vast Variety says:

    Apprently the Apple does fall far from the tree….

  2. Boyd says:

    What part of the Constitution authorizes Congress to determine that kidnapping is a crime?

  3. Tsar Nicholas says:

    I think technically speaking it’s the rotten apple falling from the poisonous tree, but I guess that’s merely piling on.

  4. Herb says:

    Hmmm…..didn’t need the Civil Rights Act, but we need personhood amendments. Hey, how about we put some arts funding or mandated calorie counts in the flood insurance bill too?

    Oh, wait, you mean it’s NOT for pet issues? Well then…

  5. Nick says:

    Just to play devil’s advocate here… Since the 5th Amendment does say that no person can be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law… doesn’t that allow Congress to then define when life begins for the purposes of protecting/enforcing that right? You know… necessary and proper clause and all. Just thought I’d throw that one out there.

  6. PJ says:

    @Vast Variety:

    Apprently the Apple does fall far from the tree….

    I’m sorry.
    The Apple didn’t fall, God pushed it.
    Believing in the theory of gravity is just one step closer to believing in the theory of evolution, and then there will be free abortions for everyone everywhere all the time.

    Apprently God pushed the Apple far from the tree….

    Fixed it for you.

  7. Herb says:

    @Nick: “doesn’t that allow Congress to then define when life begins for the purposes of protecting/enforcing that right? ”

    It’s fairly standard practice that one’s birth is the beginning of one’s life. That’s what it says on my drivers license and what it will say on my gravestone. The personhood movement wants to move that back 9 months as an end-run around legal abortion, not to clear up any confusion on how to enforce the law.

  8. Do you suppose the key is that flood insurance is actually controversial to Paul?

  9. Nick says:

    @Herb: I understand the purpose of what they’re trying to do. As I said, I’m playing devil’s advocate. Doug was asking where in the Constitution it allows them to do that. I was trying to answer that question.

  10. Nick says:

    The question I have is: Where in the Constitution does it say that the government can provide flood insurance?

  11. al-Ameda says:

    Reid said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “I am not going to put up with that on flood insurance. I can be condemned by outside sources; my friends can say, ‘Let them have a vote on it.’ There will not be a vote on that on flood insurance. We’ll either do flood insurance with the amendments that deal with flood insurance, or we won’t do it. We’ll have an extension.”

    I’m still very proud of the fact that, 9 month’s prior to her birth, my daughter got her driver’s permit.

    Rand Paul is shaping up as the early leader for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.

  12. sam says:

    Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is trying to attach an amendment that would define personhood as beginning at fertilization to a bill regarding flood insurance

    Hmmm.

    All persons born, naturalized, or the result of a human egg being fertilized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they or the person carrying the egg at the time of fertilization happen to find themselves at the time of birth or fertilization.

    Doesn’t quite have the majesty of the original, does it? Can you see one of the potential problems?

    Marcel: Cherie, let’s go the States on vacation and screw our brains out. If you get pregnant there, and we can prove it — that should be easy — little Pierre or Maria will be an American citizen even if he or she is born here in Paris.

    Think of these as “anchor zygotes”.

  13. Chad S says:

    Rand Paul also killed a bill allowing DC to set their own budget. Why anyone thought he was a libertarian is beyond me.

  14. anjin-san says:

    Well, this is the same crew that basically told the people of Joplin to piss off after their town was nearly destroyed…

  15. Rob in CT says:

    The principled Libertarian ™ position here is that the NFIP is a terrible thing, right?

    So there are two possibilities: a) Rand Paul is no libertarian when it comes to things other than money; or b) Rand Paul is willing to do pretty much anything to harm the NFIP.

    Meanwhile, in the reality based community, there is an effort to reform the NFIP so it works better. You can certainly hold the position that you’d rather not have it at all (I’d disagree, but I understand the argument), but in this instance it seems to me you should take the good and not hold out for the perfect. The short blurb I read earlier about the proposed reforms sounds good to me.

  16. Davebo says:

    Rand Paul, the highest ranking self proclaimed Libertarian in the Federal government.

    Does the word Libertarian even have any meaning anymore?

    Indefinite detention without trail or even charges? No problem.

    End around attempts to control a woman’s body? We love it

    Is that enough for us to finally get another tax cut?

    And good luck getting a private underwriter to sell you a flood insurance policy. The NFIP was created for a reason. Son of Ron doesn’t care about it in my opinion.

  17. mantis says:

    @Nick:

    The question I have is: Where in the Constitution does it say that the government can provide flood insurance?

    Where in the Constitution does it say that the government can recognize flooding? Or the existence of water? Hmmm?

  18. Robert in SF says:

    @sam: Similar to when McCain pandered stated that a person is entitled to rights at conception at the Saddleback tv interview (Warren asked him at what point a human being gets human rights), I think you hit on one of the main problems with the legal implications of human rights at conception.

    Another example: can a pregnant woman who smokes, drinks, uses drugs, willfully exposes herself to toxins or unsafe conditions or has an accident, be charged with attempted murder, assault, potentially negligent homicide, etc., for breaking any of the other myriad of protections that are granted to persons under the law?

    Every time any woman has a miscarriage, can/must she be investigated for possible murder? Or negligent homicide?

    It would be interesting if police could arrest women in Arizona who kinda looked like they might be pregnant, or every woman who was stopped for any crime like drinking in public, or smoking weed or doing other illegal drugs, or driving without a license/seat-belt, or jaywalking, and asking to see their papers to prove they aren’t pregnant, or force them to take a mandatory pregnancy test in the street or in the office.

    I mean this thinking opens up all kinds of opportunity to enforce the laws!

  19. KariQ says:

    @Davebo:

    Does the word Libertarian even have any meaning anymore?

    All too often, “Libertarian” is what a Republican calls himself when he thinks he’s too good to be a Republican.

  20. J-Dub says:

    @Robert in SF: Also…IUDs do not prevent fertilization, they only keep the fertilized egg from attaching itself to the uterine wall so any woman that has an IUD would be committing murder. The OB/GYN that inserted the IUD would be committing conspiracy to commit murder, as would any man that has sex with a woman that he knows to be using an IUD.

  21. Robert in SF says:

    @J-Dub: J-Dub, you miss a certain aspect of this scenario:

    sex doesn’t always lead to pregnancy or fertilization…so each sex act with a woman using an IUD would require an investigation to determine if there had been fertilization and then any would be prosecuted as murder.
    But your comment about the OB/GYN and the “father” would stand true.

    I think basically IUD’s would just be outlawed…

    I do wonder that if a woman is kicked by the baby, could she have it arrested for assault? Could morning sickness be seen as assault? Could a person get a restraining order against a fetus? If the baby’s birth results in the death of the mother, could the baby be arrested for murder?

  22. Tlaloc says:

    The question I have is: Where in the Constitution does it say that the government can provide flood insurance? .

    Article I, Section 8, Clause 1:
    The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    If you guys are going to worship the damn thing could you at least read it first?

  23. Boyd says:

    @Tlaloc: You say that as though there’s only one possible interpretation of that clause, and it just happens to mean that you’re right and those who disagree with you are wrong. No problem with humility, same as always, eh, Tlaloc?

    So if you can interpret that clause to authorize Congress to provide flood insurance, why can it not also be twisted used again to specify the parameters of life?

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t support Senator Paul’s efforts here, but your arguments are nothing but weak, self-serving drivel. You can’t just point at a portion of a sentence in the Constitution, yell “There! See?” insult your political opponents and walk away with that self-satisfied smug on your face and get away with it. Provide some actual argumentation and quit thinking you’re the smartest person in the room.