Would you call yourself a Libertarian? Or if you don’t like that label: Are you in favor of Small Government? Freedom? Liberty? Constitutionalism?
If you answered “Yes” to any of the above, great! You should be Pro-Life!
I know often the Abortion debate is framed as religious fundamentalists vs. secular humanists, and that any self-respecting Libertarian wants to steer clear of imposing religious views through government. I also know many Libertarians lean more secular humanists regarding social issues like gay marriage (which many of you think shouldn’t be an issue because marriage shouldn’t be the government’s business) and smoking weed (which many of you also think shouldn’t matter as long as it’s not hurting anyone else). However, I want to make the case that Abortion is different, and that even Atheist or Agnostic Libertarians with no ‘ Because God Says So!’ arguments can and should be staunchly Pro-Life!
Let’s use only simple logic, not religious conviction, to see the absolute truth of this. If abortion is legal at any point during pregnancy, there should be major problems to Libertarians, because, it means we’re giving the Government ultimate God-like authority over our lives and freedoms to arbitrary Government policymakers. An egregious notion that should completely conflict with the sons and daughters of Liberty. Allow me to explain.
If we allow lawmakers to say abortion is legal up to a certain point, regardless of whether it’s 10 weeks, 20 weeks, or passing through the birth canal; we’re essentially saying that the Government gets to decide when someone is a human, the Government decides when someone deserves their Constitutional rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, and that we are submitting to the Government’s ultimate authority over our lives and freedom.
For example, many Pro-Choice people want to draw a line at 20 weeks, where abortion is legal beforehand, and illegal afterwards (with certain exceptions). They have various arguments to support their chosen 20-week point like: A) The baby can’t feel pain beforehand. (This is obviously a fallible argument since there’s no way to tell precisely when someone can feel pain, and how bad it is, or if it’s the same for every fetus, or how much pain is okay, or if there could be exceptions if you figured out how to make it painless, etc…) or B) The baby can’t survive without the mother beforehand so it isn’t ‘viable’ (Also highly fallible since all babies are helpless and can’t survive on their own even when they’re outside of the womb for years. And more importantly, survivability of the fetus is subject to technology advancement. For instance, surviving at 20 weeks used to be unheard of, but with modern medical care, it’s very possible. What if we continue to advance to the point that babies can survive at 10 weeks? Do we keep moving the goal posts?)
However, even if you throw out the pain or viability arguments, there’s still a grim reality staring us all in the face the few ever discuss. Imagine for a moment the line is 20 weeks, and we’re all okay with this morally and have accepted the arguments A and B above at face value. In fact, it’s not even controversial for anyone to abort up to 20 weeks (I said use your imagination!).
Now let’s imagine a woman named Susan is 19 weeks pregnant, and according to her doctor, her 20th week starts Thursday. She suddenly decides she doesn’t want to be a mom, so she schedules a last minute appointment with an abortion clinic for 3PM Wednesday. Unfortunately her abortionist, Carl, is in a fender-bender on the way to the abortion clinic and misses the appointment waiting on police and his insurance agent. Carl doesn’t know about the urgency and thinks ‘I’ll just do it tomorrow; my office will reschedule Susan’s appointment’. Susan expresses the urgency of the situation to the office staff and begs them for Carl’s cell phone number, to which they grudgingly give in. Carl’s now at dinner with his family when he notices a strange number has called him five times. On the sixth call, he answers to hear an exasperated and breathless Susan on the other line. She begs him to give her the procedure tonight, because by tomorrow it will be illegal and too late. After repeated begging, Carl finally gives in and tells her to meet him at the clinic at 10:00. However, the procedure is slow to get started due to Carl’s staff being unable to come after hours and Carl having to open the office and do all the remedial tasks he hasn’t done in years to get Susan and his supplies and equipment ready and setup. It’s now past 11:30PM. To their great relief, the procedure is completed and the body of the fetus is disposed of at 11:59PM. Had it been one minute later, both Carl and Susan could have been arrested for murder. Men dressed in black with guns drawn could have handcuffed them and taken them into custody where they could have lost their freedom forever. What a difference that one minute made!
That’s my point. If a line of acceptable abortion is drawn anywhere, then by legal definition, the line is crossed in a single moment of time. It matters not where we place that moment, it exists if legal abortion exists. That means, we’re allowing the government to say, what you did one minute ago was perfectly okay, but if you do it this minute, murder.
No Libertarian should be okay giving the government that much power. No Libertarian should be okay with saying, “Yes Government, you can decide when I’m alive and not alive.”, or “Yes Government, you can decide if the same activity I’m doing today is as within my rights as popping a pimple but tomorrow is a felony based on arbitrary standards.” Do these sound like things that should be okay with a free people? A free people whose utmost respect is rooted in the inalienable rights of all humans to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Should matters of life and death and freedom and bondage be determined arbitrarily by jack-booted thugs with measuring sticks drawing lines around you, where if you stray by 1 millimeter, it’s all over?
You see, murder is murder. There’s no “kinda murder” where you knowingly, purposefully, take the life of another. Everyone agrees if you were to purposefully cut the head off a 1 day old newborn baby (or hire someone to do it for you), the full weight of murder can and should come down on you.
If abortion exists, an arbitrary line exists, established by the Government, between life and death, freedom and bondage, surgery and murder. This is extra-Constitutional, god-like power, willingly given to your government.
Libertarians should always disapprove of the Government wielding such power arbitrarily. Which thus also means, Libertarians should always be Pro-Life, regardless of their religious and moral viewpoints.
Women should have choices. Women should have the choice to take measures to not become pregnant, or to not keep their child if they become pregnant when they didn’t want to.
The Government should not have the choice to draw an arbitrary line for all of us between surgery and murder.