Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul began his speech in Ames, Iowa on Saturday by railing against abortion.

"There is something that precedes liberty, and that is life," the Texas congressman said. "I believe in a very limited role for the government, but the prime reason that government exists in a free society is to protect liberty and also to protect life, and I mean all life."

Paul, a libertarian, has gained an enthusiastic following for his strong views on limited government, free market economics and isolationist foreign policy, but has remained less vocal about social issues than most other Republicans.

The speech came ahead of the Ames Straw Poll, an early indicator of a candidate's appeal and organizational strength.

"You cannot have relative value for life," Paul continued. "We cannot play God and make those decisions. All life is precious."

"If we are to defend liberty and allow people to spend money as they want, to go to the church they want and run their lives as they please, you have to understand where that liberty, and where that life comes from. It does not come from the government, it comes from our creator."

He then transitioned into more familiar territory, attacking the PATRIOT Act, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Federal Reserve.

Paul came in second place in the Ames Straw Poll, with 4,671 votes. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann came in first place with 4,823 votes.

Watch video of Ron Paul's speech in Ames, Iowa below: