In the Declaration of Independence, the Founders said “We hold these truths to be self-evident….” Some of the hardest issues to explain are the ones that to us are “self-evident.” Some things are so obvious, where do we even begin to get back to the basic roots and explain them? That’s kind of how I feel about abortion.
In my mind abortion is so obviously wrong that I often don’t even know what to say other than the same stuff I’ve said before and what a million others have said before.
Far too often I hear abortion talked about in religious terms. Far too often abortion is seen as an issue of the “religious right” and those evil Christians trying to push their personal religious beliefs onto everyone else. I have never seen abortion in this way and I don’t know why such a view is so popular. I have always seen abortion as simple murder. Yes, for me personally it’s my Christian morals that tell me murder is wrong. But one does not need to be a Christian to believe murder is wrong. Likewise, one does not need to be a Christian to believe abortion is murder and therefore wrong.
Libertarians ought to Oppose Abortion
I’m probably as close to being libertarian as one can get without actually calling myself a libertarian. And I’ve come to believe libertarians ought to oppose abortion too. The arguments libertarians use to oppose some things could easily apply to abortion.
For example, libertarians are the ones who most often talk about natural rights of individuals. Yet all other rights are founded upon the basic right to life.
The great libertarian philosopher Frederic Bastiat said,
We hold from God the gift which includes all others. This gift is life—physical, intellectual, and moral life. But life cannot maintain itself alone. The Creator of life has entrusted us with the responsibility of preserving, developing, and perfecting it. In order that we may accomplish this, He has provided us with a collection of marvelous faculties. And He has put us in the midst of a variety of natural resources. By the application of our faculties to these natural resources we convert them into products, and use them. This process is necessary in order that life may run its appointed course. Life, faculties, production—in other words, individuality, liberty, property—this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it.
Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place. – The Law (bolding is mine).
What good is life if it is destroyed? What good are rights if the life to use them is destroyed?
Even the extreme philosophy of Ayn Rand ought to oppose abortion. She constantly talked about how one person should not be sacrificed for the happiness or benefit of another. What is abortion if not a sacrifice of one person for the sake of another?
I can imagine a refutation claiming that keeping the child is sacrificing the parents for the sake of the child. But that’s a ridiculous assertion. It was the parent’s who brought the child into the world. The child did not choose it.
I’m not denying the right of the parents to choose; they could have chosen not to have sex. They could have chosen to use birth control. If they used birth control that failed, then that’s the risk they took. They could have chosen to put a limit on their lustful desires.
There was a whole series of choices leading to the pregnancy. The only person involved that has no choice is the resulting child. He is not to blame for the actions of the parents; he should not be killed or sacrificed for their choices.
People also have a “right” to choose murder and yet none of us believe they should be allowed to.
[Usual Tiresome Disclaimer: There are tangents that people normally go off on such as rape, the mother’s life is in danger, etc, etc, etc. I am talking about abortion on demand. Even if the case could be made that this whole issue is in a “gray area” we need to be sure we’re as far from the line as possible. Like any morals, the idea is not to see how close to the line we can live without crossing over. It is to see the line and keep as far from it as possible. With this issue, the baby doesn’t deserve the death penalty because of the mistakes or evil decisions of adults.
Another tangent people hide behind is the “condemnation” of a pregnant woman with no help. The problem with this is that there are many MANY places for pregnant women to go for help (check your local yellow pages for pregnancy help centers). Our love of people is what makes us oppose abortion. It also drives us to help pregnant women.]
Abortion is an attempt to escape consequences
Since the sexual revolution and “free love,” people want the fun of sex without the consequences. This, I believe, is one of the desires behind the support for abortion on demand. Here again, this goes against libertarian thinking.
Libertarian philosophy believes that people ought to receive the consequences of their actions. If they do well they should get the reward that comes of their work. If they make bad decisions they should suffer the consequences. As libertarian Dan Mitchell once said, “Capitalism without bankruptcy is like religion without hell.” Attempting to escape consequences simply leads to more bad decisions.
So seeing abortion as a desire for all the benefits with none of the consequences ought to make libertarians pause and reconsider their position. It goes against their own philosophy of life. Consequences are necessary in this world and help guide us.
The Economic Side
One of the reasons libertarians support the free market is because it allows each individual to become a wealth producer. They see people as potential capital. Libertarians often reject slavery and robbery because the best society for creating wealth is a free society. The free market unleashes the potential of an entire population, not just a few at the top.
But what happens when we murder 115,000 people every day? Who had the cure for cancer but was aborted? Who was the next great leader and defender of freedom but was aborted? Who was the genius of the next great invention to propel our economy forward but was aborted?
Libertarians would be horrified at so many adult deaths and they would probably point to examples like these. Why is it any different than a child in a womb? What have we lost as a country due to such behavior?
The Right to Life is first; all others don’t matter without it
Just as a tree dies if you kill the root, so killing the right to life will kill all other rights. Without that one, the others won’t survive. We all have rights we hold dear. If you wish to keep those, than keep the root that sustains them all.
“The worshippers of Moloch were not gross or primitive. They were members of a mature and polished civilization, abounding in refinements and luxuries; they were probably far more civilized than the Romans. And Moloch was not a myth; or at any rate his meal was not a myth. These highly civilized people really met together to invoke the blessing of heaven on their empire by throwing hundreds of their infants into a large furnace.”
– G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man, speaking of the ancient city of Carthage
For more blog posts about abortion I recommend these: