Rand Paul clarifies comments about poverty and unwanted pregnancies
January 26th, 2014
10:10 AM ET
7 months ago

Rand Paul clarifies comments about poverty and unwanted pregnancies

(CNN) - Sen. Rand Paul on Sunday clarified comments he made last week about the government's role in discouraging women from having children out of wedlock as a way to stem poverty.

The Republican senator from Kentucky said on CNN's "State of the Union" that he didn't "come up with a policy prescription," such as limiting government aid, but rather said it's up to communities to resolve the problem, which he called the No. 1 cause of poverty in the country.

"I mused about how you'd have a government policy, but I actually came down saying it would be very difficult to have a government policy," the potential 2016 presidential candidate said.

"I mostly concluded by saying it's a community, it's a religious, it's a personal problem, but it is a problem," Paul said.

The first-term senator originally made the comments Thursday in Kentucky at a luncheon in response to a question, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. Though he acknowledged communities ultimately are responsible for creating social warnings about unwanted pregnancies, he pondered a possible approach by the government, according to the report.

"You know, but we have to teach our kids that," Paul said. "But some of that's sort of some tough love too. Maybe we have to say, 'Enough's enough, you shouldn't be having kids after a certain amount.' I don't know how you do all that, because then it's tough to tell a woman with four kids that (if) she's got a fifth kid, we're not going to give her any more money."

As the article noted, 30.9% of single-mother households fall under the poverty line, compared to 6.3% of married households and 16.4% of single-father households, according to 2012 data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

"Government can't do anything about this," Paul told CNN's chief political correspondent Candy Crowley on Sunday, but added: "We shouldn't just give up."

"The community, ministers, pastors, parents, grandparents, we need to be saying - and this is maybe one of the most important things we ought to be saying that doesn't have a specific policy prescription - but we need to be telling our kids that poverty is linked to having children before you're married," he said. "The institution of marriage is incredibly important, not just as a religious institution but as an economic institution."

"It's not that I'm against children - I come from a large family," he added. "In the right context, it can lead to a great life, but in the wrong context, it really can be a burden for those who aren't yet married."

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.


Filed under: Economy • Rand Paul • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    The first-term senator or Aqua Buddha ?

    The GOP No. 1 cause of poverty in the country.

    January 26, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  2. Liz the First

    I can't believe i agree with anything Rand Paul says, but i do believe, liberal as i am, that people shouldn't have kids they can't afford to raise. and if they are on public assistance, they should not have any more kids than they had when they went on it. it's called personal responsibility. and yes, Rand, liberals do believe in personal responsibility! that's why we mostly approve of Obamacare, and why repugs should, too. it calls for people to exercise personal responsibility and get insurance.

    January 26, 2014 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  3. Patrish

    My one of the poorest states... wow a surprise. Aren't the Republican the ones that are anti-abortion, anti-birth control, and pro family, anti-help programs.. You can't have it both ways – take away the tools that might curve the birth rate, and complain too many poor people having kids. I do believe if you on welfare, or what ever you want to call it. After x number of kids you don't get more money.

    January 26, 2014 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  4. Oscar

    There are thousands of teenagers who are having babies. Someone is getting these girls pregnant. Make the boys/men getting them pregnant financially responsible for the 18 years of the babies lifbrd. The government is not the fathers of all these children being born into poverty.

    January 26, 2014 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  5. Anonymous

    War on Women? Hell of a thing when republicans can't even decided whether they are for or against contraception.

    New slogan: Republican men declare war on women's reproduction rights: Henceforth men will choose who can and who can not reproduce.

    January 26, 2014 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  6. notea4me

    Get your head out of the sand, Paul. This shows just how out of touch you are.

    January 26, 2014 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  7. Pete

    Hey I wonder what response you'd get from most of these outta touch republicans wives on birth control,poverty..That is if you can find them because they're probibly chained up and gagged at home waiting to serve their male republican masters....

    January 26, 2014 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  8. The right wing have lost their damned minds

    Thomas

    The first-term senator or Aqua Buddha ?

    The GOP No. 1 cause of poverty in the country
    ---------------------
    Absolutely!!!

    January 26, 2014 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  9. Driverdale

    What are Rands position on universal birth coverage? Or Requiring the biological parents of more than ? children to be sterilized, if they are unable/unwilling to support their children before they can continue a 3rd year of public assistance. Or for the groups morally against birth control– how do they feel about coverage for erectile disfunction treatments?

    January 26, 2014 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  10. rs

    Mr. Paul proves the GOP has a unique fascination with women. Knowledge? Not so much. Keep digging Senator, keep digging.
    The GOP, and their pathetic plutocrats are the cause of poverty in America.

    January 26, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  11. Gunderson

    Um,
    Personal Responsibility. New Word? No it was used long before the "Big Thinker's" came along. True at times some people will need a little help. But it became a lifestyle until the people Elected the Republican's to congress in 1994. The republican's put a work to welfare program in place. A lot of people who were on public assistance were more than happy to have a job.It was working fine until the "Big Thinker's" decided now everybody could get a mortgage qualified or not. Well you know what happened. But to pore gasoline on the fire, Obama got elected and everybody thought they were home free. Now the government would take care of them Now they have experienced a rude awaking. All is not well in Camelot. Aw, well. Better luck next time. Until then the Salt mines await.

    January 26, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  12. troppo1

    So now we have a war on children????

    January 26, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  13. Leftist Democrat Madness

    The government needs to stay out of the bedrooms of women where all of these children are being conceived out of wedlock. Even though birth control is cheap and readily available everywhere in this country, it is the responsibility and duty of government to pay for as many babies as these women decide to have. Yes, we know that this is the surest path to poverty but it gets people, even generations, on the government dole and that means more voters for us. And besides, we can afford to keep paying for more and more of this because we can just keep increasing taxes to pay for it. And you don't agree with us then you hate women, hate kids, and want to kill them.

    January 26, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  14. alex

    The fact that he can't see how policies could be put in place to address this complex issue is the very reason that this man is dangerous for our American government.

    January 26, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. drake mallard

    Hey rand paul what about bristol palin ? glorify and glamorize" the idea of having children outside of marriage.

    January 26, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  16. A very easy solution

    Now that the USSC has said that the government can force us to buy anything it deems we should be forced to buy, then women accepting government assistance should be forced to buy and use an IUD or other form of birth control as long as they are receiving taxpayer money. And now that is all free because of Obamacare, they don't even have to pay for it. So how about it Democrats and Lefties? Want to put a REAL dent in poverty? This is the surest way to do it. Or will it be a war on woman at the expense of their future of poverty?

    January 26, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  17. just asking

    drake mallard
    Hey rand paul what about bristol palin ? glorify and glamorize" the idea of having children outside of marriage.
    --

    useless and irrelevant. the government, aka taxpayers, are not paying for her children. get a clue.

    January 26, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain - Feminism is the radical idea that women are people, too

    Giving women easy access to affordable contraception is how you bring down unwanted/unplanned pregnancy. That's why providing contraception is part of the essential services covered by Obamacare. Put the power in the woman's hands – and then you don't need to worry about the influence of the community, ministers, pastors, parents and grandparents doing the trick.

    January 26, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain - Feminism is the radical idea that women are people, too

    "Maybe we have to say, 'Enough's enough, you shouldn't be having kids after a certain amount.' "

    So Rant is advocating the Chinese Communist approach to this policy?

    January 26, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain - Feminism is the radical idea that women are people, too

    "As the article noted, 30.9% of single-mother households fall under the poverty line, compared to 6.3% of married households and 16.4% of single-father households, according to 2012 data from the U.S. Census Bureau."

    Some of these single-mother households are the result of the death of the spouse; most are the result of the father being incapable or unwilling to pay adequate child support. The lower incidence of single-father households falling below the poverty line is a result of men's wages being higher than women's.

    Solution: Men need to be more actively involved in the raising of their children than just that one happy moment – and women need to be paid as much as men for equivalent work.

    FIFY

    January 26, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain - Feminism is the radical idea that women are people, too

    @Gunderson: If living in poverty is such a great lifestyle, then why don't you live it? You want people to get off public assistance? Then companies need to pay better wages.

    BTW, ever think that last one through, Gunderson? Corporations, by paying poverty or below-poverty wages, push people onto public assistance; heck, Walmart used to give new employees when hired information about signing up for public assistance! Then these same corporations support political candidates who want to cut public assistance programs.

    This is corporate welfare, enabling corporations to make greater profits at the expense of the taxpayers who are left picking up the tab to help the working poor.

    Why aren't you posting about this, Gunderson?!?

    January 26, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  22. DK

    The poorest states are red states. Voting Republican is the number one cause of poverty.

    January 26, 2014 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  23. Hooper

    He said what he meant. No clarification necessary.

    January 26, 2014 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  24. marirrondeau2013

    Here's a novel idea. How about paying women the same as men and/or raising minimum wage. Maybe even create some jobs for people to make money at. Wouldn't that be nice. If that doesn't work then maybe the senate can go "old testament" on us and blame single women who have had sex for poverty; Eve is back in the garden..Jeeze to Pete.. Really? Wish I could turn Rand Paul and Huckabee into single moms for the day and give them kids that misbehave.

    January 26, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  25. just saying

    ThinkAgain – Feminism is the radical idea that women are people, too
    -–
    "Maybe we have to say, 'Enough's enough, you shouldn't be having kids after a certain amount.' "
    -–
    So Rant is advocating the Chinese Communist approach to this policy?
    -–

    can you get anymore clueless? we have already seen what giving people houses they can't afford leads to. letting people spit out babies they can't pay to raise is the same thing. others get the bill (taxpayers) in many ways and money is taken from others being responsible about their reproductive choices. liberals think the well is bottomless to take care of all of the millions of totally irresponsible adults and their many children.

    January 26, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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