Challenging the Libertarian Stance on Abortion:
It seems that the general narrative of a person that is a Libertarian
is also pro-choice. While there is some dissension in the ranks on that
issue, it seems that most are pro-choice. A core belief of
Libertarianism is ultimate free will, as long as it doesn’t harm or
infringe upon the rights of others. But is having an abortion harming
another and robbing them of their right to life?
I want to challenge that frame of mind with my own thoughts and
opinions. And I will admit, I still am struggling with this issue and
still try to reconcile with both sides.
Everyone focuses so
much of the debate on when life begins. Based off that, the person makes
their stance for pro-life or pro-choice. Some say you must look at it
at a biological stand point. That once the egg and sperm merge and start
to duplicate, you have a separate form of life. Others take the
spiritual or moral ground that a soul is not inside of a person until
the child leaves the mother.
Regardless of all those debates,
whether its life at conception, before three months its ok but not
after, or you can abort up into the baby is born. I think everyone
agrees once the baby is born, it is a human.
Based upon that, consider this:
IF the abortion had NOT been performed, wouldn’t the child or embryo or
fetus be a full-fledged human being? You go into the clinic and decide
to abort, the child never exists. However, if you back out and go
through with the pregnancy, a person is on this earth(excluding the
cases of miscarriage).
The Libertarian Party’s “Statement of
Principles” [LP.org] it says that: “We hold that all individuals have the
right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives.”
having an abortion, are you not robbing a person of life before they
even have a chance to grasp it? If you let a person eat an apple, but
then you pump it out of their stomach, they still are robbed of its
sustenance. Did you still steal the apple from them? Even though they
technically ate it?
I think that most Libertarians believe that
animal cruelty, abuse and neglect is wrong and should be against the
law. But a dog is not a person, it has no rights, it is the property of
the owner in the eyes of the law. Is it within government’s power to
dictate what you can do with your own property? What of stray or wild
animals with no owner? If you abuse them, you are not harming anyone’s
property. Where do you draw the line?
The “Statement of Principles” goes on to say: ‘the right to live in
whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere
with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.”
Is an unwanted child in the womb a person forcibly interfering with the
rights of the mother? Is the right of a mother to have complete control
over her body override the right of an embryo to the chance at life?
Ayn Rand, the Libertarian Philosopher, seems to think so [Ayn Rand on abortion]:
“An embryo has no rights. Rights do not pertain to a potential, only to
an actual being. A child cannot acquire any rights until it is born.
The living take precedence over the not-yet-living (or the unborn).”
This point of view makes sense. She assumes that life starts at birth
and advocates that the rights of someone indisputably “alive” should not
be trumped by an unborn human. She does on to make it clear that
according to Libertarian philosophy, every person has a right to dictate
their own bodies. This fact is undisputed. But when the right to your
body destroys the body of another, whether you believe alive or soon to
be alive, is a fact that needs to be carefully examined.
She goes on to say:
“Never mind the vicious nonsense of claiming that an embryo has a
“right to life.” A piece of protoplasm has no rights—and no life in the
human sense of the term. One may argue about the later stages of a
pregnancy, but the essential issue concerns only the first three
Let’s say you get a bacterial infection. Apart from
the first bacterial cells that entered your body to make you sick in the
first place, all the bacteria after that formed inside your body. On a
cellular, biological standpoint, is this not the same as getting
pregnant? Apart from the sperm entering the female in the first place,
the egg and the duplication beyond that all formed in her body. Do we
not have the right to take antibiotics and destroy the bacteria making
us sick? Isn’t the fetus essential a growth that ultimately ends up
being a vessel that a human spirit can inhabit?
As you can
tell, I can see it from both sides of the debate. I think it comes down
to it though, the LP’s statement, specifically on abortion, is correct:
”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
Regardless of the right of a
woman to dictate her body, personally I believe it is a sad act of
desperation. In my humblest opinion, if you do not want the child, at
least see it through to give that future person a chance a life.
Give your child up for adoption, because who knows, he or she may be
the next Dave Thomas, Steve Jobs, Faith Hill or Ray Liotta(All adopted
-The Slavic Libertarian
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