There are few topics that cause such commotion within Libertarian circles as abortion, and here I seek to address both sides in hopes, not to solve a dispute, but to open a line of honest, heat-felt, dialogue between both sides. To begin, it should be noted that every piece of the Libertarian platform is based on the non-aggression principle: aggression or force against another person, or group of people is immoral except in the case of self-defense. The other basis for our stances is that government should not interfere in the lives of its citizens except to oversee the settling of disputes, a.k.a. aggressions.
In speaking with people about the Libertarian Party, one sticking point that many people have is the idea that all Libertarians are pro-choice. This is simply not the case. Now, as with any group, there are people who will say that a “true” Libertarian is pro-choice, but I do not believe this to be true. Those people typically do not believe life begins at conception. What I've heard most from them is that life begins at the point where the fetus can survive outside of the womb. That being the case, life wouldn't begin until organs are formed and functioning. They often cite science as their backup. By defining life in this manner, pro-choice Libertarians do not see abortion as an aggression against another human, but rather the avoidance of an unintended consequence of the act of sex.
For those who believe the union of a sperm and an egg is the point at which life begins, I ask you to reconsider the Libertarian Party, because, by your definition of life, yours is a Libertarian view as well. When defining life as beginning at conception, it is believed that the embryo is a human being who can be aggressed against, and abortion is an aggression that results in the taking of life of another human being, and therefore falls squarely within the limited purview of government intervention. Many of the people who share this view are religious members of our party and will cite the Bible (or their corresponding book of faith) as saying “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.” –Jeremiah 1:5. If this, or something similar, is your viewpoint, then no amount of science as referenced by pro-choice counterparts can change what you believe to be true.
Specifically, within the Libertarian Party of Texas, we have swarms of people on both sides of this issue, so I don’t expect us to come to an agreement anytime soon, and I don’t want to. Such a sensitive topic deserves earnest discussion, and I only hope that we can open this dialogue and the door to our party, inviting in differing views even when the arguments aren’t always fun.
Author: Anastasia Wilford, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cross published @ www.libertarianwomen.com