A question of life

Posted on May 26, 2010 by

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In my continuing discussion of the Libertarian Party platform, today I will be discussing section 1.4, Abortion.  The views expressed in this blog are my own, and should not be taken as official Libertarian Party views.

“1.4    Abortion

Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.”

This is perhaps the most contentious section of the party platform.  I’ve taken a considerable amount of time to decide what to write about this, and I hope that the wait was worth it.

As is true in society, so is true in the Libertarian Party.  There are people on both sides of this argument.  While the official party platform is that government should not be involved in the abortion discussion, there are those that disagree.  On one side you have the ‘Pro-Choice Libertarians’, who believe that government should not be involved in any aspects of individual rights, including abortion.  Their slogan is ‘Pro-Choice on Everything’, and they believe that should include abortion.  On the other side, there are the ‘Libertarians for Life‘, who believe that the non-aggression statement that Libertarians make when joining the party also applies to the unborn.  Making a statement to not initiate violence, they argue, applies to the born and unborn child alike.  I will attempt to summarize as best I can both sides.

Pro-Choice Libertarians

  • A fetus is not a human being until it is born, and therefore does not have rights until it is born, or the mother confers rights upon it.
  • The rights of the mother to evict trespassers usurps the fetus’ rights, if any.
  • Government is the problem, not the solution, and as such the government has no right to decide what a woman can do to her body.
  • People should have the freedom to decide this issue on their own, without government interference.

Libertarians for Life

  • Human offspring are human beings from inception.
  • Abortion is homicide.
  • The right to controls one body does not override the obligation not to initiate aggression. There is never a right to kill an innocent person.
  • Parent’s have no right to evict their newborn child from their crib or home and let them die, and therefore have no right to evict them from their womb to let them die.
  • No government has the right to ‘de-person’  anyone, born or preborn.

As you can see, even within the Libertarian Party, there are many arguments for and against on this issue.  My personal belief is that the party platform as is correctly states it, that government should have no involvement in the process.  I will also say I am personally against abortion.  But I don’t feel that my personal beliefs should be imposed on anyone else.  Guess that’s why I’m a Libertarian!

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