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Ted Brown for U.S. Congress

PLATFORM
“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." - Henry David Thoreau

“Let me be a free man – free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to think and talk and act for myself." - Chief Joseph, Nez Perce tribe, 1877

I am running for Congress on an anti-war, anti-tax, pro-civil liberties platform. I know many of the views expressed below seem radical and unattainable. However, they need to be discussed and considered. I am horrified at how government at all levels has been growing. If elected as your congressman, I will work to turn this trend around. Remember, I would only be one out of 435 representatives. It will be hard to achieve victory for my views, but at the very least these alternative views must be heard.

When you vote, remember that voting for the lesser of two evils still means voting for evil. You don’t have to vote for a Democrat or a Republican. You can see what those establishment parties have done to our nation. Instead, vote for a candidate who will not buckle under to special interests and partisan pressures. Voting for Libertarian Ted Brown will be a message that you want a big change in the way they do business in Washington, D. C.



My views on these issues are available below:

  The "War" on Terror and the War in Iraq
Taxes and Government Spending
Crime and the War on Drugs
Education
Guns
Foreign Policy
Personal Liberties
Justice System Reform
Death Penalty
Health Care
Immigration
Campaign Finance Reform
Government's "War" on Young People
Gold Line Light Rail
Welfare Reform
Gay Marriage
Abortion


The Issues:
THE “WAR" ON TERROR AND THE WAR IN IRAQ

I believe that all murderers must be brought to justice. The al-Qaeda terrorists are murderers, not soldiers; common criminals, not an invading army. Osama bin Laden is head of a massive criminal conspiracy. I reject the notion that our nation is "at war."

The reason President Bush and his fellow politicians use the term “war" is because “War is the health of the state." (Randolph Bourne, 1918) War has always been an excuse for government to grow larger and take away more of our rights. The U. S. response to the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks proves this.

The public turned to government for protection, when in reality, the attacks show just how incompetent the government already is. Taxpayers have spent billions on intelligence gathering over the years. For what? So a ragtag band of fanatics can waltz in and kill thousands of people! We should be firing the officials who failed, not giving them more power.

It is sensible to send U. S. troops to look for terrorists abroad, considering the limitations of law enforcement both here and in those countries. But the U. S. should not have invaded Iraq, and our troops should not be there now. I was also opposed to the Gulf War in 1991 and haven't changed by mind about U. S. involvement in that part of the world.

There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator. But there are dozens of evil dictators around the world – all of whom remain in power – and most of whom have received U. S. aid over the years. It’s possible that Hussein wanted to build weapons of mass destruction, but so far there is no evidence he succeeded. Even if he had, the odds of him attacking the U. S. were non-existent. He was a threat to his neighbors in the Middle East, not to us. George Bush’s war was a war of aggression, and I opposed it all along the way. International approval has nothing to do with it. I don’t care if the United Nations approves of our actions or not. The actions were wrong in any event.

Now we have an occupying army in place. It’s worth noting that we’ve had such an army in Bosnia for the last 10 years, Korea for the last 55 years, and Germany and Japan for the last 63 years. Those soldiers should come home, and so should the soldiers in Iraq. We need to find the best way to accomplish this safely and quickly. Senator John McCain thinks the troops should remain in Iraq for 100 years, but he is so absolutely wrong that it is frightening.

On the home front, the size of government has grown by leaps and bounds in the name of “homeland security." Even the name sounds like something from Nazi Germany. Why not “national security," or “internal security?" There was no need to create a Department of Homeland Security. Federal law enforcement was already too overreaching. Now it’s become even more centralized and threatening to our liberties. There was no need to create the Transportation Security Administration to take over airport security. This was just a power grab by public employee unions to sign up 40,000 new members. Other nations have been moving towards privatizing airport security in recent years. Only the U. S. has gone in the other direction.

Finally, new laws have been passed to supposedly help fight terrorism, but in reality they are damaging our constitutional rights. The best example is the USA PATRIOT Act, passed in October 2001. The incumbent, Congressman David Dreier, was a co-sponsor of this bill, which passed overwhelmingly. It was reported that no member of Congress had even read the entire 300 page bill before it passed. The Congressional leadership refused to allow it, and pushed it through. It included a wish list of many enforcement tools that the U. S. Department of Justice had sought over the years, but had been rejected for good reason. I will move to repeal the USA PATRIOT Act.

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TAXES AND GOVERNMENT SPENDING

"The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax." - Albert Einstein


Democratic and Republican politicians are always quite willing to raise taxes. Sure, Republicans cut tax rates sometimes, but taxes at all levels are at historic high levels. Half of what we earn goes to taxes at the federal, state, and local levels. The income tax is the biggest government intrusion into the lives of the American people. It forces every worker to be a bookkeeper, to open his records to the government, to explain his expenses, and to fear conviction for a harmless accounting error. Compliance wastes hundreds of billions of dollars. The income tax discourages savings and creates an enormous drag on the U.S. economy. It is incompatible with a free society.

We must get rid of hundreds of federal programs, but we can't remove them one at a time, because each program has beneficiaries and supporters who will fight to keep their place at the public trough. We can overcome their resistance only by combining all the spending cuts into a single package that includes the largest tax cut in American history -- the total repeal of the federal income tax. Most people will save far more in taxes (an average of $5000 per taxpayer, per year), than they lose in government subsidies

There are proposals to replace the income tax with a flat tax or a national sales tax. I will work to repeal the income tax, abolish the IRS, and replace them with nothing. Even without the personal income tax, the federal government would still collect the same total amount that they did 10 years ago – and the government was much too large even then. The Constitution allows only a limited role for the federal government, such as national defense, the post office and patents and copyrights. By reducing the federal government to it proper level, we could not only do away with the income tax, but the estate tax, capital gains tax and Social Security tax as well.

Libertarians ask, "Would you give up all your favorite government programs -- such as farm subsidies, public housing projects, Amtrak and hundreds more -- in order to be free of the income tax forever?" Only Libertarians believe that your money belongs to you, not to politicians in Washington or Sacramento.

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CRIME AND THE WAR ON DRUGS

"Just as bootleggers were forced out of business in 1933 when Prohibition was repealed, making the sale of liquor legal (thus eliminating racketeering), the legalization of drugs would put drug dealers out of business. An added plus: There would be far less crowding in our prisons due to drug-related crimes. It's something to consider." - Abigail Van Buren, "Dear Abby," 5/3/94


Before there were drug laws in America, we did not have the drug problems we have today. And prior to the government's declaration of war on drugs in the 1960's, there were no muggers on the street trying to support a $100-a-day habit, no pushers on high school campuses trying to hook children on drugs, no gangs fighting over drug territories, no drive-by shootings, no crack babies, no overdose problems. Except for the 14 years during alcohol prohibition (which also didn't work), nothing like this had ever been seen in America. It took the War on Drugs to make it happen.

Libertarians recognize that if government officials can’t even keep drugs out of prisons, they sure aren’t going to keep drugs out of the country. We must end the insane War on Drugs. This will take the criminal profit out of the illicit drug trade and bring some peace to our cities again. 700,000 people are arrested for marijuana offenses alone each year, more than for murder, rape, robbery and other violent crimes combined. 60% of federal prisoners and over 40% of state prisoners are in for non-violent drug offenses. Currently an LSD user spends more time in jail than a murderer or a rapist. We need to jail violent criminals, not peaceful drug users.

Democrats and Republicans keep fighting this losing war because it makes them look tough on crime, and it gives them more power over our lives. The true result is that 18 year old kids are being given ten or twenty year minimum sentences, and sick and terminally ill people are being denied the marijuana that relieves their pain.

Libertarians were some of the strongest backers of Proposition 215, the medical marijuana initiative. We recognize that adults must be allowed must to put any substances in their bodies that they choose. Libertarians will treat people like adults, not like errant children. I will work to repeal all of America's drug laws, starting with those against marijuana.

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EDUCATION

“Innovators and creative geniuses cannot be reared in school. They are precisely the men who defy what the school has taught them." - Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973)

The government education system has failed. Kids are not learning what they need to know to compete in a global economy. There is no Constitutional authority for the federal government to be involved in education. More money from Washington has been matched by lower SAT scores, declining standards, more dangerous schools and at least two generations of Americans who lack basic education in history, geography, the Constitution, mathematics, science or literature. On the state level, school bureaucrats demand more tax dollars, although by state law (Prop. 98) they already get a minimum of 40% of the state budget.

There is no true connection between the amount spent on education and how much students learn. Under the new $115 billion state budget, the average state education spending will go up to almost $10,000 per student per year. That's $300,000 for a classroom of 30 kids. If the teacher earns $45,000, that leaves $255,000 -- per classroom, per year! Where is this money going? Some districts don't even have books for each student! The money is obviously lining the pockets of administrators and other bureaucrats. Education spending should be cut, not raised.

Parents and kids have very few choices in protesting ineffective educational methods. If they wish to use private schools, they must still pay taxes for government schools. Libertarians supported the voucher initiative as a good first step to giving parents a choice. However, this could lead to government control of private schools. The best alternative would be tuition tax credits for parents (or anyone else) who send a child to private school. This will force public schools to compete and will enable parents to educate their kids their way. Competition will almost certainly lead to the eventual demise of government schooling.

We need the complete separation of school and state in order to guarantee decent education for future generations.

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GUNS

"Arms in the hands of the citizen may be used at individual discretion for the defense of the country, for private self-defense, or for the overthrow of tyranny." - President John Adams


Libertarians strongly defend the 2nd Amendment and support the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. The right to own a gun is an American tradition. We would never have won our independence from Great Britain had our colonists not been armed and able to fight the King's army. Guns by themselves are not dangerous. If someone uses a gun to commit a crime, he should be punished. But disarming law-abiding citizens does nothing to reduce crime.

Those who support gun control should recognize that the cities with the strictest gun control laws (like Washington, D. C.) also have the highest murder rates involving guns. Criminals will always be able to get guns. Peaceful citizens need to protect themselves. I will work to repeal all existing gun control laws, and will oppose any attempts to limit the gun ownership of law-abiding Americans.

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FOREIGN POLICY

"Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none." - President Thomas Jefferson


Libertarians favor a policy of non-intervention in the affairs of other nations. We believe in free trade. If goods don't cross borders, troops will. U.S. troops should be here to protect this country. Instead, there are U. S. troops stationed in 130 different countries around the globe -- in Europe, Japan, Korea and the Middle East. Libertarians would bring all the troops home and advise other countries to pay for their own defense. We should not participate in any U.N. "peacekeeping" missions. Indeed, the U.S. should withdraw from the U.N. completely, and also get out of alliances like NATO.

Even before the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks, people in the Middle East and elsewhere burned the American flag and chanted, “Death to the Great Satan!" America should not be “the Great Satan." Our nation should be the beacon of freedom and liberty in the world, like we were for the first 150 years of our independence. Instead, our government has a reputation for propping up dictators, and giving billions of dollars of foreign aid that ends up in the rulers’ Swiss bank accounts.

I will work to end all foreign aid payments, and all U.S. contributions to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and similar agencies. President Millard Fillmore said it best when he sent Commodore Perry to open up Japan to western trade in 1853: "Our true mission is not to propagate our opinions or impose upon other countries our form of government by artifice or force, but to teach by example and show by our success, moderation and justice the blessings of self-government and the advantages of free institutions."

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PERSONAL LIBERTIES

"I went to the store the other day to buy a bolt for our front door, for as I told the storekeeper, the governor was coming here. 'Aye,' said he, and the Legislature, too.' Then I will take two bolts, said I." - Henry David Thoreau, 1859


The government at all levels butts into our personal business far too much. Libertarians believe in treating people like adults and leaving people alone as long as they aren't violating the rights of others. Libertarians would repeal all laws that create "crimes" without victims, such as prostitution, pornography and gambling. I oppose "Big Brother" safety laws like those requiring seat belts and motorcycle helmets. I believe that adults should be able to take any substance into their bodies they wish, without legal restriction. This would include illegal drugs, prescription drugs and any vitamins, herbs, or other alternative medicines.

I strongly support an individual’s right to privacy. I strongly oppose any national identification card. There are proposals to require such a card, with biometric data, fingerprints, Social Security number, personal medical data and other personal information. You would have to show the card in order to get a job, obtain health care or function in society. People should be left alone, and should be free to go through life anonymously, if they so choose, as long as they aren’t bothering anyone.

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JUSTICE SYSTEM REFORM

There are thousands of unconstitutional federal laws and regulations. Most of us have violated a few of them without even knowing it. There are 60,000 armed federal agents prepared to enforce them all. We have every reason to fear the federal government. Drug laws, firearms laws, gambling laws, securities laws, "money laundering" laws, tax laws, environmental regulations, "paperwork violations" and similar "crimes" without victims take up a large part of federal law enforcement. There are absurdly long mandatory sentences for these non-offenses, while it's difficult to even lock up a violent criminal.

Civil asset forfeiture has become one of the most unjust weapons of government at all levels. If a piece of property (land, car, boat) is suspected of having been used for criminal activity, it is seized by government agents. They don't even have to arrest you, let alone convict you of a crime, in order to steal your property. The property is presumed to be guilty, unless proven innocent. You have to go to court to try to prove a negative -- after your assets have been seized and you can't afford an attorney. Police agencies have been corrupted by this process, since they get to keep the proceeds from the theft of your property. I will work to immediately abolish asset forfeiture as an option for law enforcement. Only fines levied by the court against those convicted of a crime are legitimate.

If you are arrested and brought to trial, the court system is stacked against you. It has always been a tradition of common law that the jury can judge the law as well as the facts of a case. Now judges illegally tell jurors that they must follow the law as the judge gives it. In reality, jurors can find a defendant "not guilty" for any reason they choose, such as the law is unjust or misapplied. Defense attorneys are not even allowed to suggest this in court.

I will introduce a law to require judges to tell jurors that they can judge the law as well as the facts of a case; and to permit defense attorneys to defend their clients by saying that the law is wrong. I support the end of jury tampering by both prosecution and defense by seating the first twelve jurors who don't know the parties involved and have no financial stake in the outcome of the case. I am opposed to mandatory minimum sentences. I support giving jurors the right to set the sentence in all cases -- up to a maximum allowed by law. Now they can decide between life and death in a capital case. Why can't they choose between 6 months and 10 years in jail for a lesser offense?

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DEATH PENALTY

I don't trust government officials enough to allow them to kill people. It is clear that many innocent people have been sentenced to death (especially in the Deep South). It is a fundamental human rights violation to execute an innocent person. That's why I would err on the side of caution and say that premeditated murderers should face life in prison without possibility of parole instead.

There are several good reasons for this:
(1) Any errors could be corrected later.
(2) The criminal can work in prison to pay restitution to his victim's family (and for the cost of imprisonment).
(3) The cost would be less. The current cost of separate "death row" facilities and of unending legal appeals is far greater than keeping the murderer in the general prison population.
(4) Society is protected by the violent criminal being kept away from the rest of us.

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HEALTH CARE

“If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free."
- P. J. O’Rourke, author

Today 51% of all health care dollars in America are spent by government. This has run up the prices of doctor visits, hospital stays and health insurance -- far outpacing the rate of general inflation. Government has failed utterly to make health care more accessible or affordable. But politicians see this failure as an excuse to impose even more government on us. Indeed, there has even been a proposal to require a privacy-busting health ID card that would have all of our medical information on it.

Libertarians recognize that government health care doesn't work. We must get government out from between you and your doctor. Getting government out of health care will give us more choices, better care and lower prices. The Libertarian alternative is called "Project Healthy Choice," a free market solution for providing health care. The proposal includes Medical Savings Accounts (similar to IRA's); tax deductible health care expenses; deregulation of the health care industry; replacement of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) with private sector drug certification; and the privatization of Medicare and MediCal.

The new prescription drug benefit from Medicare patients is the largest entitlement program since Medicare itself was passed in 1965. It is totally unnecessary, complicated, and will benefit drug companies more than individuals. It will work to repeal this terrible new law.

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IMMIGRATION

Californians have become increasingly concerned about the economic impact and potential security problems involving undocumented immigrants. We need to be sure that there’s no knee jerk reaction on this issue, and that the rights of both citizens and immigrants are protected.

People all over the world want to come to the United States to escape political repression, economic stagnation, and other kinds of persecution. This has been the case for almost 400 years, since the first colonists arrived. One of my great-grandfathers was a Lithuanian Jew who fled anti-Semitism in Czarist Russia in 1890. Another great-grandfather fled forced military service in Germany in 1904.

Current immigration laws are completely arbitrary. There are legal immigration quotas for each country. Those numbers could be changed with the stroke of a pen. Current immigration procedures favor the better educated and connected. A Mexican doctor from Vera Cruz would go to the U. S. Embassy and apply for legal immigration. A poor field hand from rural Mexico wouldn’t know about that; he would just hitch a ride to the border and try to cross. It should be easy for people to come here to work, and to go back and forth across the border as needed. We need immigrants to pick crops and work in other important jobs that American citizens don't seem to want.

The main problem with free and open immigration into this country is that there are far too many taxpayer-funded services that the immigrants can take advantage of. This includes health care, welfare programs, education, etc. Libertarians would deny services to immigrants – but also to citizens. We believe in very limited government. So if immigrants want to come here and work, and not expect anything from the taxpayers, the restrictions should be removed.

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CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM

I am opposed to the so-called Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) and will work to repeal it. Libertarians recognize that the right to contribute to the candidate of your choice and for candidates to spend freely to get elected is a free-speech issue and is protected by the 1st Amendment. Why do so many "special interest groups" contribute so much money to political candidates? Because politicians have so many goodies to give away. The size and scope of government at all levels has grown so much that government intrudes in virtually every aspect of our lives. That means there are a lot of people who want their share of the pie.

There are two main groups who contribute to campaigns. The first group wants money directly out of the Treasury. A good example is dairy farmers. They contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars to politicians but get millions in subsidies. A pretty good investment! The second group wants to protect themselves from government policies and regulation. They contribute to politicians in the way business owners used to give protection money to the Mafia. A few years ago it was reported that Gallo Wines gave $300,000 to Senator Bob Dole. But there are no wineries in Kansas. It turns out Gallo was worried about government labeling requirements on champagne. They turned to the most powerful senator at the time to help them in their fight with government bureaucrats.

If there was no money available for subsidies, if government regulations were ended, and if the federal and state governments were reduced to the level envisioned by our Founding Fathers, there would be no need to limit contributions. It would be very hard for politicians to find anyone to contribute to them at all. Additionally, any bills to limit contributions are an "Incumbent Protection Act." Incumbents already have name recognition and access to more contributors. Challengers, especially those of us who have views in opposition to the powers that be, find it difficult to raise money as it is. Challengers need to be able to raise money without limitation in order to get their message across.

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GOVERNMENT'S "WAR" ON YOUNG PEOPLE

Government at all levels treats younger Americans as second-class citizens unworthy of their rights. Libertarians recognize that the Constitution is for everyone. While young people certainly should obey their parents, no one has appointed the government to be a substitute parent. The most obvious attack on young people is the alcohol drinking age of 21. 18 year olds can get married, enter into contracts, serve in the military, vote, and even serve as Governor of California, but are not allowed to drink alcohol. There is no legal basis for this. I would reduce the drinking age to 18.

The next most vicious violation is curfew laws. Cities assume that teenagers are criminals for merely being on the streets after 10 p.m. It is up to parents to set a curfew, not the government. I would repeal all daytime and night time curfew laws.

The government education system is devastating for young people. Silly “zero tolerance" policies teach kids that they have no civil rights. “Zero tolerance" mean “zero thinking" on the part of government school administrators. High school graduates of today have learned less than 8th graders of 50 years ago. Colleges report that a majority of incoming students need remedial courses in English and math, information they should have learned in high school. The government schools are not serving our young people. We need to break the education monopoly and promote educational choice.

Economic regulations hurt young people as well. Under the guise of protecting teens, various laws prevent them from finding entry-level employment. Child labor laws are too strict. Ability, not age, should be the main factor in finding a job. It's up to parents to decide if their child is mature enough to work, and for how many hours. Minimum wage laws prevent employers from hiring inexperienced young people for training purposes. Wages should be set by the free market, not by government officials.

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GOLD LINE LIGHT RAIL

The Gold Line is a boondoggle and should not be extended from Pasadena to Montclair. While light rail may be a good idea in theory, it's a bad deal for taxpayers.

Not only will the Gold Line cost at least $1 billion to build, it will not have nearly enough ridership to pay for itself. Indeed, no rail line in the entire country has enough ridership to pay for itself. Every time someone rides the train, it costs taxpayers money.

The best way to help traffic congestion is to deregulate transit. More private bus lines, van pools and independent car pools (called jitneys) are needed. Taxi service should be deregulated so that there isn't a monopoly on that service in each city. Entrepreneurs should find it easy to go into the transportation business. This will lower costs and make transportation more convenient for commuters.

Local politicians -- from Congressman David Dreier down to city council members -- have all lined up in favor of the Gold Line extension. This is because politicians love to build monuments to themselves. Congressman Dreier even got federal funding for Gold Line construction. This is not the way to go. I will work to cut any federal funds for the Gold Line -- and hopefully ground will never be broken.

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WELFARE REFORM

America's social welfare system has been an abject failure. Since the "War on Poverty" begain in 1965, taxpayers have spent more that $5.3 TRILLION trying to ease the plight of the poor. What has resulted is more poverty. The system is unfair to everyone: to taxpayers who are footing the bill and getting no results; to churches and private charities who helped people in the past but are increasingly pushed aside; and especially to the poor themselves, who are trapped in a system that destroys opportunities for themselves and their children.

Welfare cannot be reformed. It must be ended. In its place we must promote opportunity, work and individual responsibility. The Libertarian Party alternative:

  • End welfare. This includes SSI, AFDC, food stamps, subsidized housing and 345 other such programs. Individuals who can't fully support themselves through the job market must, once again, learn to rely on supportive family, church, community or private charities to bridge the gap.
  • Establish a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for contributions to private charity. Private charities are the preferable way to help people, since government bureaucrats have a vested interest in keeping people on welfare.
  • Tear down barriers to entrepreneurship and economic growth. Government policies stop people from starting their own businesses or employing more people. Taxes are high, regulations are burdensome, and zoning and occupational licensing laws are discriminatory.
  • Reform education. The worst schools are in poverty-stricken neighborhoods. We need to give parents and kids a choice and this means breaking up the public education monopoly.
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GAY MARRIAGE

I believe that any adults who choose to get married should be permitted to do so, notwithstanding their sexual orientation. Marriage is a civil contract which can also be a religious sacrament. From a legal point of view, I am only concerned with the civil contract. If one state allows gay marriage, then under the Constitution, all states would have to recognize it, just like any other contract. As for the religious sacrament, it should remain the option of any church to marry or not marry anyone they wish in a religious ceremony.

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ABORTION

We have no way of knowing if life begins at conception, at birth, or at some undetermined time in between. For that reason, abortion has to be an ethical and moral question, not a political one. I believe that a woman has the right to choose an abortion if she wishes. I would prefer that she choose to give the child up for adoption, but that is not my choice to make. There is no constitutional authority for the federal government to be involved in abortions in any way. I will vote against any laws dealing with abortion for that reason. I will also vote against any taxpayer funding of abortions, since such funding is not a proper function of government. If a woman wants an abortion, she should pay for it, or find a group who will foot the bill.
 
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Ted Brown
Libertarian for Congress
P. O. Box 70594
Pasadena, CA 91117
Phone: (626) 286-6124

FAX: (626) 286-6143

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