Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is working tirelessly to position himself as a 2016 presidential candidate. His theatrical attempt at a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington moment made him the darling of conservatives (as well as some misguided progressives), and his self-proclaimed libertarianism got him a first-place showing in the straw poll at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
Now, Paul is solidifying his outreach to the religious right by proposing a bill focused on one of his pet issues: granting legal rights and protections to fertilized eggs.
As Raw Story reports, Paul has introduced the so-called Life at Conception Act, which would grant “personhood” to fertilized eggs, effectively banning abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, many forms of birth control, and assisted reproductive treatments. Much like his filibuster, the bill itself is all show. There is no chance it will pass both the House and the Senate, and even if it did, it would never be signed into law by the president.
It does, however, help Paul pander to the anti-choice zealots he’ll need on his side to land the 2016 Republican nomination. Among them is the Iowa anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ religious right organization the FAMiLY Leader, which is seen as the gateway to Iowa evangelicals—who, in turn, are instrumental to securing the first presidential “win” at the Iowa Straw Poll. (Though, as Michele Bachmann learned, that win only goes so far.) It also allows him to keep fundraising with the National Pro-Life Alliance, which is interested in forcing wives to obtain their husband’s permission to get an abortion, among other legislative restrictions.
Lots of media stunts, with little to show for it: Could this be a trend for the Rand Paul 2016 campaign?