Abortion and the Libertarian Party by Brent Deridder

OPINION by Brent DeRidder

I am a pro-life Libertarian:

"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."

Plank 1.5 of the Libertarian Party Platform is my favorite plank. The beauty of this plank is that it gives pro-life Libertarians and pro-choice Libertarians an equal voice within the LP while taking the radical position of removing government from the equation altogether. It leaves the work of this argument up to the individual and leaves each side to offer their own position. Further, the wording seems to encourage us to carefully consider the opposition and that is always a worthwhile endeavor.

Despite it's clarity and beauty, some misread this plank with bias. Pro-choice Libertarians often view 1.5 as pro-choice and, in a way, it is. It is not, however, pro-abortion. The plank leaves the discussion open but specifically states that the pro-life position is one that can be held by libertarians in good-faith. This means that, while the LP does not take a position directly for or against abortion, we recognize that it may be wrong. Pro-life Libertarians tend to make the same mistake and see 1.5 as something to oppose, which it is not. It essentially says that the argument is not settled on whole and that we should continue good-faith discussions.

As a pro-life, anti-legislation Libertarian, I believe that there is sufficient evidence elsewhere in the world that anti-abortion laws do significantly more harm than good. Therefore, the most effective way I can combat abortion is by offering education, strong arguments within civil discourse, and, most importantly, push for advancements in science and deregulation of adoption so that there are more viable alternatives to abortion.

While I understand that some pro-life minarchists argue that prohibition on murder and "equal" legislation is important, that idea is wrong. Prohibition isn't pragmatic. It creates problems. Legislation against something we believe is bad inevitably leads to loopholes that seem to condone it, impractical applications that oppress the innocent, and a black market where it is available in it's most dangerous form. It makes an already polarizing topic even more difficult and it creates a divide that works in opposition to otherwise convincing arguments

I believe that murder involves intent and I don't believe that in most instances of abortion that intent exists. As an Anarchist I believe that involuntary governance, or government, is illegitimate. However, if we accept the premise, momentarily, that government must and should exist, I believe such a government should consider things more carefully than suggested and I believe the individual should do the same.

I think that making decisions that I am morally opposed to like participating in wars of aggression, enforcing illegitimate laws, and abortion, in a world that teaches us, from a young age, that these things are acceptable or even desirable, should be handled with more careful consideration than right and wrong. Are these things wrong? Yes. Is the most effective strategy to combat them through legislation? No, for two reasons. First, in a war of morals, where both sides are evenly numbered, the use of force creates opposition, not compliance. The idea that abortion is acceptable exists and is widely held. Second, anti-abortion legislation is so poorly written and applied in so many places that I believe it to be proven ineffective. It causes the punishment of innocent victims of miscarriages and creates a dangerous black market that leads to more than death for mother and child. It also polarizes or outright stops discussions that might be otherwise fruitful for the pro-life argument.

So, the best way for the pro-life government and the pro-life individual to handle a fight against abortion is with empathy, education, strong logical arguments within civil discourse, and by supporting advances is science and the deregulation of adoption. This is one of the few beliefs that I have held as a Christian, a Republican, and a Libertarian.

Anything else, in my opinion, is stubborn self-aggrandizing posturing and does more harm than good.

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  • Jonathan Tees
    commented 2020-10-27 14:23:53 -0400
    I mean to say NOT that “murder” is right to say, but that “murder” NOT RIGHT to say. I wish I could edit this…hopefully others will see this amendment.
  • Jonathan Tees
    commented 2020-10-27 14:22:23 -0400
    Thanks for this, Christopher. I am a Christian anarchist and am deeply pro-life. Amy Coney Barrett was just sworn in as the new member of the SCOTUS. Roe v. Wade, in many Christian minds, needs to be overturned and now is the best chance. I don’t share this enthusiasm for the some of the reasons you adumbrate above. I have been holding some guilt for feeling this way, I must say. As a Christian pro-lifer, I grieve the killing of babies (I agree with you, “murder” is right to say). However, I much rather have a civil conversation with one who thinks abortion is moral. I’d rather hash it out side-by-side, rather than shove my beliefs down their throats. As you say, it only causes violence and harm to another, which only causes violence and harm, and on and on and on. Thanks for articulating this perspective here in this post.
  • Christopher Cash
    published this page in Issue Papers 2020-01-12 17:11:04 -0500