Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who stirred up controversy after saying that there can be "thousands of exceptions" to a ban on abortion, has clarified that he is still a pro-life politician.
"What I would say is that there are thousands of exceptions," Paul told CNN on Tuesday.
"You know, I'm a physician and every individual case is going to be different and everything's going to be particular to that individual case and what's going on with that mother and the medical circumstances of that mother," he stated.
The senator has introduced a "Life at Conception Act," which upholds traditional religious beliefs that human life begins at conception. Despite his proposed bill, he admitted that many Americans aren't ready for such a drastic change.
"My intention is to bring it forward and to have a healthy philosophic and moral discussion over what we should do, what the state should be involved with, when should life be protected. And I don't think we're ready yet, our society, maybe, to change any laws, but I think it's worthwhile having the discussion if we can keep it from being too much of a flippant of a discussion over this that concrete this and that," Paul explained.
Paul spokesman Doug Stafford explained to LifeNews, however, that the senator's statements were not fully understood by the media.
"Paul meant that a singular exception to save the life of the mother would likely cover thousands of individual cases – for example, ectopic pregnancies or others that directly threaten the mother's life," Stafford clarified.
As to Paul's comments that he doesn't expect to see a full abortion ban in America any time soon, the spokesperson insisted that that is just looking at the reality of the situation.
"[Paul] was trying to say that while he believes in all of these things and will keep pushing them, he won't succeed soon because the country isn't there yet. I think public opinion polls show that. The country is at best split, and we don't yet have a culture that fully supports life," Stafford added.
Caffeinated Thoughts, a conservative news and commentary website, argued that even if the senator's comments were misunderstood, his stance on pro-life issues is still troublesome.
"If you believe in 'thousands of exceptions' you are not pro-life. If you believe that life begins at conception and believe in ANY exceptions other than perhaps the life of the mother then there is something seriously flawed with your worldview," wrote Shane Vander Hart, founder and editor-in-chief of Caffeinated Thoughts.
"Some say he was taken out of context, but even so, it was not a well-thought out statement. It was politically flawed. It made him look like a flip-flopper."
At the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., last September, Paul revealed that he struggles with doubt in his Christian faith.
"My faith has never been easy for me," Paul said, "never been easy to talk about and never been without obstacles. I do not and cannot wear my religion on my sleeve. I am a Christian but not always a good one. I'm not completely free of doubts. I struggle to understand man's inhumanity to man. I struggle to understand the horrible tragedies that war inflicts on our young men and women."