Civil Liberties

Rand Paul on Abortion

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Let's take a breather from the heated argument over Rand Paul's position on the Civil Rights Act and instead discuss something completely uncontroversial: Rand Paul's position on the Life at Conception Act. As Ari Armstrong notes on his Free Colorado blog, Paul's anti-abortion stance, unlike his father's, goes beyond overturning Roe v. Wade and letting the states decide the issue. The younger Paul, who describes himself as "100% pro life,"  says "abortion is taking the life of an innocent human being," "life begins at conception," and "it is the duty of our government to protect this life." Toward that end, he supports "any and all legislation that would end abortion or lead us in the direction of ending abortion," including "a Human Life Amendment and a Life at Conception Act as federal solutions to the abortion issue." A Human Life Amendment would declare all fetuses to be persons with a right to life guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. A Life at Conception Act would seek to accomplish the same goal by statute. Hence either measure, rather than denationalizing the issue and letting states decide how to regulate abortion, would make abortion murder under federal law and render unconstitutional any state laws allowing it.

If you agree with Paul that "abortion is taking the life of an innocent human being," this may all seem perfectly sensible to you. Indeed, it can be defended on libertarian grounds. (As I've argued, the belief that abortion is murder would seem to justify even stronger action, assuming the government continues to shirk its duty.) But for anyone who rejects Paul's premise, the legal regime he envisions clearly violates a woman's right to control her own body, as Armstrong argues:

The logical conclusion of abortion bans is that government agents should forcibly restrain women to prevent them from getting abortions. After all, if abortion is murder, as advocates of abortion bans routinely claim, then driving down the street to obtain an abortion is morally and legally equivalent to driving down the street with a loaded shotgun to blow your neighbor's head off. Police have every right to arrest and forcibly restrain threatening individuals. If abortion is murder, then a woman who declares her intent to get an abortion has threatened murder and must be strapped down if necessary to ensure delivery.

But a fertilized egg is not a person. A fertilized egg does not properly have the legal rights of a born infant. Abortion is not murder. Women have every right to take birth control drugs or obtain an abortion. Abortion bans place a woman's body under the control of the government and threaten to unleash a heavy-handed police state.

For the details of Armstrong's argument, see this 2008 paper (PDF). Since the disagreement about the moral status of the fetus will not be resolved in the foreseeable future, a federalist approach has the advantage of neutralizing the debate at the national level and allowing Americans to choose from a range of regulatory approaches. It is also more consistent with the (unamended) Constitution. But it is far from the ideal libertarian solution, which, depending on your view of abortion, is either prohibition or deregulation.

W. James Antle III profiled Rand Paul in the May issue of Reason. Last week Brian Doherty contemplated the significance of his primary victory.

Addendum: Libertarian Party Vice Chairman Joshua Koch cites Paul's support for a federal abortion ban, along with his opposition to gay marriage and his refusal to call for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, as grounds for running a candidate against him this fall, which he says the party is considering. "We're not going to let Rand determine what a Libertarian stands for," Koch, an erstwhile Paul supporter, told The Washington Post. "I'm here to say Rand does not have the Libertarian ideology."

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  1. yawn

  2. I never understood why physical dependence of a fetus (particularly a third trimester fetus) overrode the parental/societal responsibility that one is obliged to post-delivery.

    Why can one kill a fetus one second before the umbilical cord is cut (taking the pro-choice argument to the extreme) but you will go to jail for murder if you do it one second after? The physical dependency argument doesn’t seem logical, particularly since all human children are totally dependent at birth.

    Thus my support for criminalizing abortion at such a time as a fetus is most likely (80%?) to be viable outside of the womb.

    1. Physical dependence is used not because of moral or philosophical reasons, but because it’s cut and dry. There are three developmental bright lines: birth, fertilization and implantation. Most of the legal lines are chosen there because other lines are somewhat arbitrary.

      1. just because a stage in development is well-defined doesn’t mean it’s the best to use for whether the fetus/baby is a person yet.

        Yeah, viability is hard to set a specific pointin time to, but it’s still better than simply birth, vis-a-vis MP’s comment about the dramatic before-after birth disparity.

        Actually, it’s funny he should say this. That’s always been where I thought Objectivisists got it wrong.

    2. Thus my support for criminalizing abortion at such a time as a fetus is most likely (80%?) to be viable outside of the womb.

      Many pro-choicers would support a compromise like this. Make abortion legal up to 20 weeks or so, without all the hassles like waiting periods and assassination threats, and there would be virtually no demand for late-term abortions anyway.

      1. “Many pro-choicers would support a compromise like this”

        ehhhh…… I don’t know about that. The pro-choicers can be just as dogmatic as pro-lifers. I mean, pro-lifers are saying that killing a fetus is murdering a baby, and a lot of pro-choicers are ONLY saying that “you don’t have a right to control my body!” And that that is the actual motivation behind pro-lifers. And yes, there are pro-choicers who really believe that the pro-lifers just want to control women’s bodies. I’ve seen them say it.

        1. Those are just the noisiest pro-choicers. Most of mainstream pro-choice America is fine with restrictions on late-term abortions, as is borne out in survey after survey.

          Having said that, I’m not sure why a time when viability reaches 80% probability strikes you as more arbitrary than birth. So on the last day of the 6th month (say) it’s just excess tissue, but on the first day of the 7th month it’s murder?

          1. There is no perfect bright line. The validity of a bright line is based on how well it balances fetal vs. incubator rights.

            I just find it hard to grant rights to something that can’t survive at all outside of the womb. The interesting twist is that technology keeps moving the goalposts. So the debate regarding the most adequate bright line will never be over.

    3. This hairy issue of when life begins can in fact be entirely sidestepped. I don’t support the choice of abortion as I support the choice to clear out one’s uterus whenever one pleases for whatever reason. Noo human being – not even your own kid – has the right to use your internal organs without your consent.

      Some fetuses may die as a result of being removed from the uterus. Some fetuses may survive. Those that survive may be abandoned under existing safe haven laws.

      And that’s all there is to it.

  3. …and that’s all I needed to hear to know that Rand Paul is just another fucking statist. Not that I’m surprised, but it was faster than I expected.

    1. I’m expecting something about “obscenity” next.

      1. No, immigrants. Or homos.

        1. No immigrants or homos!

          1. Immigrant homos?

            Seriously, what Epi said. That took, what, all of 15 minutes? At least he’s being up front about it.

        2. Rule Numbuh One: No Pooftuhs.

    2. I’d like to hear Rand Paul’s stand on allowing his Libertarian opponent into the debates (assuming there are debates).

      1. This would actually be smart because it would put Rand right in the middle. He’d be the moderate centrist.

      2. It’s an interesting question — having more candidates saying similar things makes it seem more mainstream, psychologically. On the other hand, it makes him sound more like someone that belongs in a third party. Plus, it might split support.

    3. I’m sure he’ll be pissed to know he’s lost the anarcho-capitalists who never vote anyway.

      1. You’re so bitter, Aslan.

        1. He loved that cat. And the man was bused in an adult movie store! Give the man some space.

          1. “busted”

          2. Bang Bused?

    4. And that’s all we need to know that Episarch is a single-issue loon who should not be taken seriously.

  4. What is the federalist approach? Without some kind of constitutional amendment overturning Roe v. Wade, how different can abortion law be from state to state?

    1. Overturn RvW w/o having a federal law making abortion illegal.

    2. You don’t need a federal law. The 14th amendment requires equal protection of the laws, so if a state has a law against murder, it has to have a law against anyone murdering anyone (I.E., no exception for a mother murdering an unborn). It can’t pick and choose which people are bound or protected by the law.

      1. But first you would have to legally define abortion as murder. The opinion of politicians doesn’t matter.

        1. If Arizona defined killing an illegal immigrant as not-murder, then you can bet there would be a 14th amendment challenge lodged against them.

          Once the courts recognize personhood status of the unborn, states will have to treat killing them as murder.

          1. I stand sematically corrected.

            1. semantically

              1. Not really. You can overturn RoevWade without having the courts “recognize the personhood of the unborn.”

          2. If Arizona defined killing an illegal immigrant as not-murder, then you can bet there would be a 14th amendment challenge lodged against them.

            What remedy would the court prescribe.

            It can not demand the prosecution of those killing illegal immigrants, since they would be prosecuted for something that was not illegal at the time, an ex post facto law.

            Would the court mandate the immediate pardon of every person convicted of murder under the old statutes?

            1. Repealing the excepting parts and forcing courts to apply the law as it is now in the future.

              1. Repealing the excepting parts and forcing courts to apply the law as it is now in the future.

                and how would the Supreme Court force prosecutors to file charges, or juries to convict?

    3. What is the federalist approach? Without some kind of constitutional amendment overturning Roe v. Wade, how different can abortion law be from state to state?

      As different as states want it to be.

  5. The frightening thing is this could go well beyond just abortion. Things like IUDs and the morning after pill may be considered abortifacients if they’re determined to work after fertilization, but before implantation. Not to mention doing things like drinking, smoking, drinking caffeine, eating seafood or other pregnancy no-nos while pregnant will be legally actionable.

    1. Yeah it opens a really ugly can of worms. I think this should be a good enough reason to keep it legal. The consequences of abortion being outlawed would be far worse than the consequences of it being universally legal. Life as a legal human being beginning at birth is simple and easy to define and makes sense. Trying to define it otherwise gets you into all sorts of situations where the government will need to be involved in what should be entirely private matters. Should there be a murder investigation every time someone has a miscarriage, just in case there was foul play?

      1. Is there a murder investigation every time an already-born person dies?

        1. “Is there a murder investigation every time an already-born person dies?”

          When there is not a clear cause of death there sure is.

      2. “Life as a legal human being beginning at birth is simple and easy to define and makes sense.”

        To you, maybe. Other people think it’s insane and bizarre to think that the one’s human rights depend solely on one’s spatial relationship with the female reproductive organs.

        Viability, while less clear-cut than birth or conception (at least in part because technology makes it a moving target), is a third option. It’s also the first stage where “terminating the pregnancy” and “killing the fetus” are no longer synonymous.

        1. Even viability isn’t that clear cut. Since there’s a probability with viability at each stage of development. Is it 20 weeks, where it has a 1/5 chance of survival? Or 24, where it’s 50/50? Or 26 weeks, where it’s 90%?

    2. It’s interesting that none of these doomsday scenarios actually happened while abortion was illegal for 100 years in this country. Maybe — just maybe! — it’s possible that abortion laws can function without turning our society into a police state.

      1. Great idea! Bring back coat hangars, fake Doctors that kill their patients, and self-induced abortion. Nurse Ratched is on board and ready to go to work.

        1. Exactly. It’s clear that you can make a logically consistent argument in favor of banning abortions. However, prohibition didn’t work when it was in effect. And it seems pretty contrary to the idea of liberty of strapping someone down and forcing them to gestate and deliver a child they don’t want. I think the way it is right now is more or less ok. It’s legal but people can complain about it and make decisions about their own lives.

    3. You can’t eat seafood? I’ve never heard that. That would really, really suck.

      1. Mercury levels affect fetal development, I think.

    4. Things like IUDs and the morning after pill may be considered abortifacients if they’re determined to work after fertilization, but before implantation.

      And how would the state prove that the use of an IUD or a morning after pill caused an abortion?

      1. They wouldn’t; they’d just outlaw them altogether to rid them of the chance of it happening.

        1. They wouldn’t; they’d just outlaw them altogether to rid them of the chance of it happening.

          Just like Chicago outlaws handguns altogether to rid the chance of a murder happening?

          1. I’m not saying it would be efficacious; just my prediction that lawmakers would do that as a fix. I prefer the Castle Law for my body, heh. (Disclaimer: this was just a joke, not an actual policy recommendation).

  6. Seeing how Rand Pauls influence on abortion law, even if elected, is zip. This seems to be yet another distraction from the real challanges facing this country today. I mean we wouldn’t want to discuss anything relevant would we?

    1. Reason: Free Minds and Free Markets and Distractions

    2. This. Abortion is just a way to grandstand for the already-voting-for-you pool. Not a way to sway swing voters (I.e., the only voters who really count). I don’t understand our country’s fascination with revisiting settled issues (abortion being #1 on the list), especially when the candidate can’t do a fucking thing about it. You’d think with as much press and time that abortion gets with every fucking election, that it would actually be something pertinent. It’s akin to talking about, oh, Civil Rights Act or allowing women to vote or some other shit that happened before at least 1/2 of the American population was even fucking alive.

  7. as a pro-choice libertarian I certainly disagree with Rand Paul’s stated view,whether it really is his view or not. And I can understand The Libertarian Party of Kentucky wanting to make clear that Rand Paul is not a libertarian.

    But the LPK would get further if they ran a couple of active candidates for Congress who could contrast the libertarian view with the Rand Paul view, without helping a pro-government Democrat get into office where he can vote to save Obamacare.

    1. Although a Libertarian candidate might make Paul look positively mainstream, especially if said Libertarian can manage to turn himself blue during the campaign.

    2. libertarian in Kentucky should run a libertarian who only talks about abortion rights…and providing free abortions to the lower classes…this will split the democrat vote.

      1. Is collodal silver an abortifacient?

        1. No. Though some women take colloidal silver to aid in pregnancy development of the fetus. AFAIK, their are no definitive studies to confirm or deny this claim. I would classify it as “Pregnancy Category C”, meaning “We don’t know the exact effects of the drug on the fetus.” Which, incidentally, about ~80% of RX taken are classified in this category.

  8. Ah, and so starts the Weigeling of Rand Paul. Let’s destroy our “not pure enough” candidates.

    1. “They thought all along that they could call me a libertarian and hang that label around my neck like an albatross, but I’m not a libertarian.” – Rand Paul

      1. “Libertarian” is a dirty fucking word in both GOP primaries and general elections.

    2. How about just the racist, sexist fuckheads. Would anybody be left?

      1. Max I think you’re the kind of person who would enjoy reading Mein Kampf in the original german.

    3. Huh? He’s a republican who doesn’t claim to be a libertarian. And we aren’t destroying anything, just having another pointless discussion about abortion.

  9. I envision a day when all the politicians are in favor of smaller government…and then the different parties can argue about abortion, best uses for prisoners and fine tuning various aspects of IP law.

    Until then…abortion will be the least important issue when deciding which polticians to support.

    1. …and then the different parties can argue about war, the Second Amendment and fine tuning various aspects of the Federal Reserve.

      1. ya…those too…I overlooked Federal Reserve Issues, because if we get to the point where all politicians are for small government then the Fed will already have been eliminated much early in the proccess.

  10. If abortion is murder, then a woman who declares her intent to get an abortion…

    If abortion is all about the right to privacy, why would a woman publicly declare her intent?

    Addendum: The Libertarian Party cites Paul’s support for …along with his opposition to gay marriage…

    Misquote! The article actually says same-sex marriage.

    1. Where does it say “publicly”?

  11. Rand should definitely encourage a libertarian to be involved in the debates…we should have a money bomb for a 3rd candidate that is designed to split democrat votes. This is how real politics are done.

    1. Turning off the snark — this isn’t a bad idea. The Libertarian should definitely play up the issues on which he/she is to the left of the Dem — war on drugs, abortion, antiwar, same-sex marriage.
      THAT is the kind of conspiracy I can get behind, gabe.
      Take note, you Great Gods of the LP.

      1. Given that Rand is up by over 20 points, and that a Libertarian candidate *might* eek 3 or 4 percent come November, I doubt that the LP candidate will be a spoiler for the Dem in any case.

  12. “We’re not going to let Rand determine what a Libertarian stands for,” Koch, an erstwhile Paul supporter, told The Washington Post.

    Ha! We’ve been saying the same thing about the Libertarian Party for years!

  13. Say what you will about Rand Paul, but he takes his principles seriously.

    If you believe that life begins at conception, then its hard to argue for anything short of what he has here.

    I’m pretty much agnostic on the question of whether life begins at conception, myself, but:

    I do find it amusing that the pro-choicers by and large see just about every aspect of human life outside the uterus as being a proper subject of state control, but argue adamantly that absolutely no state control should be exercised inside the uterus.

    1. pro-choicers by and large see just about every aspect of human life outside the uterus as being a proper subject of state control
      WTF? You do know where you are, don’t you?

      1. He said “by and large”, and in that sense he is correct. The vast majority of pro-choicers are left liberals.

        1. Disagree. The vast majority of pro-choicers are mainstream, middle-of-the road people. The left liberals are just the loudest pro-choicers.

          1. If you include the people who don’t want to be bothered on the issue, and thus are effectively pro-choice, sure. The majority of people who actually advocate for pro-choice movement are liberal though.

    2. It’s sacred ground. Bloody, gooey, sacred ground.

    3. That doesn’t seem like an unreasonable distinction, if you are the sort to think that government should be involved in any aspect of your life.

    4. I do find it amusing that the pro-choicers by and large see just about every aspect of human life outside the uterus as being a proper subject of state control, but argue adamantly that absolutely no state control should be exercised inside the uterus.

      Even more so the backwards reasoning of both parties regarding gun ownership and control.

    5. I do find it amusing that the pro-choicers by and large see just about every aspect of human life outside the uterus as being a proper subject of state control, but argue adamantly that absolutely no state control should be exercised inside the uterus.

      I do share Dr. Paul’s opinion that life begins at conception. I find it ironic that those who argue most passionately for the procedure as method of birth control have been fortunate enough to escape the womb and argue for the procedure.

    6. Under ObamaCare it will be.

      Doctor: Sorry, but that uterine cancer treatment is too expensive to be wasted on you.

      Woman: Okay. Thanks.

    7. More like this — Make sure that unwanted child is born to someone who does not want the child, or even better, left to the state. Then leave the unwanted child in a ditch by the side of the road. Free to be neglected, starved, abused, neglected by the parents and the state. Nothing amusing about that story.

      Once a child is born, take care of it or suffer the consequences.

      1. Yes, the old “life, unworthy of life” argument. Better to be dead, right?

    8. “Say what you will about Rand Paul, but he takes his principles seriously.”

      Except federalism, local control and small government apparently. He can make an exception to those ideals when it comes to abortion, but can’t make exceptions when it comes to civil rights. Let’s just admit that Rand Paul is to his father what Bill Kristol is to Irving.

  14. Lets start a list of pro-choice small government types that have been elected to office of any kind and compare it to the pro-life list.

    1. pro-choice limited government supporters who have held public office include the late Sen. Barry Goldwater, forner Rep. Barry Goldwtater, Jr, former Rep. Ed Zschau, former Rep Tom Campbell and most perhaps all the Libertarian Party members who have been elected to state legislatures in Alaska, New Hampshire and Vermont, as well as several RLC members who have been elected to state legislature.s

      1. The list is to exhausting to parse through, but I’d say the 95% of the Republican Liberty Caucus is pro-life

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Liberty_Caucus

        The small government and pro-life demographics tend to line up.

        1. The small government and pro-life demographics tend to line up.

          Is there any reason why this would be so?

        2. And what percentage of the Republican party is pro-life? Not the best comparison.

          1. Zoltan and Michael
            I’m not saying pro-lifers are small government types. My point is, traditionally small gov. types have to run as strongly pro-life to get elected. Freedom does not have a kick-back scheme, so to get elected they have to appeal to values voters.

            In terms of abortion and larger government, I’d say they are part of the overall mores of urban media and education centers and tend to overtake their local political culture. It’s a package deal.

            We’re not miseducated liberals or uneducated conservatives, liberty is its own path.

            1. I don’t disagree with you; I disagree with the poor comparison as you’re choosing from a group that is pre-selected for pro-life views.

              1. Here’s another way to compare.

                Tax burden by state
                http://www.statemaster.com/gra…..per-capita

                Degree of pro-life sentiment by state.
                http://www.surveyusa.com/50Sta…..roLife.htm

  15. Abortion wasn’t made illegal in the US until 1873. You want to go back to the Confederacy? HUH?!

  16. There is no way to square anything cognizable as “libertarian” with a regime that enforces pregnancy from conception foward with the police power, and Rand Paul himself recognizes this, because he has explicitly (and contemptuously, insultingly) disavowed libertarianism and expressly adopted the identity of a ‘Right-winger.’

    Even a low-tax, low-regulation government that attempts an El Salvador/Red-Romania/Old-Nepal policy on abortion is simply not amenable to the “libertarian” category, whatever its policies on other “social” or “cultural” issues. Absent a ‘dead-letter’ non-enforcement approach, such a regime would be so intrusive, so coercive, and so invasive that the ‘felt’ presence of government would be much worse than the drug war, prohibition, the income tax, or any other big-government irritation.

    This isn’t 1950, and abortion is no longer primarily surgical. Cheap and readily available abortion pills are a current reality. If you think the war on pot is big-government badness, just wait until you see the war on RU-486: a drug war, with all the guns-and-money pathologies that come with it, plus a big ideological overlay.

    One core precept of Libertarianism is that nothing should justify unlimited government intrusion into the private life, and that goes even for something that can be denominated as “murder” from a theological/ethicist perspective. If libertarianism means anything, it must mean that authentic, tangible, operational freedom — that is, liberty from the coercion of the state — is our priority — as distinct from some abstracted notion of “freedom” in which “freedom” is whatever the majority says it is, and everything the government does protects the “freedom” that is defined, by majority whim, to be such. If every government intrusion can be redefined into the idiom of protecting some one or some thing’s “freedom” – zygotes, babies, low-skilled workers, primates, “public stakeholders,” etc., then libertarianism becomes meaningless.

    1. The law doesn’t enforce pregnancy — biology does.

      1. Huh? Abortion is as much a “biological” action as any human activity. We are intelligent, technological animals, with the capacity to manipulate our reproductive activity by mechanical means. Pregnancy and birth are no more or less “biological” than contraception or abortion for the human race.

        1. You’re playing with semantics here. Including the effects of human choice or human-made technology under the “biological” umbrella renders the word meaningless.

          My point was that in the absence of outside intervention, pregnancy will continue until birth. No outside enforcement is needed.

          1. You’re the semanticist. You speak of the mother as if she is naturally a passive vessel during pregnancy, like some chicken egg made of flesh. Her “interference” with her innards is not “outside” in any meaningful sense. By trying to render passive that which is not “naturally” or “biologically” passive — the pregnant woman — you can only be characterized as “interfering.” If you try to paste yourself as “preventing” interference by forcing the pregnancy to term against the woman’s will, you are just shamelessly gaming the language.

            1. Her “interference” with her innards is not “outside” in any meaningful sense.

              Hogwash. People interfere with their own bodily processes all the time, and this is a commonly used meaning of the word.

              And yes, to a large extent the would-be mother’s conscious being is passive with respect to the pregnancy, just as I am passive with respect to the digestion of those burritos I just ate. I’m not pondering the best rate of peristalsis for my intestines to perform in order to get those oligosaccharides broken down.

              And if I down some laxative to force my intestines to flush their contents out, that WOULD constitute interference with my digestion. Now that doesn’t contradict my self-ownership, and shouldn’t be illegal, since no one dies because of it, but let’s not pretend that it’s a natural phenomenon just because some human, who possesses genes that evolved naturally, made that chemical and I chose to ingest it.

          2. Not actually true. An estimated 30-50% of fertilized eggs never even successfully attach to the uterus. Of the eggs that do attach, an estimated 15-25% are miscarried. So in all probability, absent outside intervention, only a minority of pregnacies will continue until birth.

            1. Sorry, should have said “a minority of fertilized eggs,” not “a minority of pregnancies.”

            2. If that were true of pregnancies where abortion is considered, then abortion would be pointless, since the goal of abortion is to prevent pregnancy from coming to term.

              When abortion is considered, you’re in a situation where pregnancy is expected to continue unless something is done.

              1. or in the case of catastrophic birth defects, a later term miscarriage, etc.

            3. Not actually true. An estimated 30-50% of fertilized eggs never even successfully attach to the uterus. Of the eggs that do attach, an estimated 15-25% are miscarried. So in all probability, absent outside intervention, only a minority of pregnacies will continue until birth.

              How was this proven?

    2. My girlfriend gave me a Red-Romania once, after which I walked funny for more than a month.

      1. I’m guessing I should wait until I get off work to look this up on urbandictionary.

  17. I am Cosmo Overlord…I want your kids to shoot heroin and I want to provide a monthly quota of at least 100,000 abortions to minorities in Kentucky that don’t have the resources to fund their own abortions…if you believe in civil rights and abortions killing lots of black babies for FREEE! then vote for me for Libertarian Kentucky Senator! I am really in favor of womyns rights too. We need more womyn in the work force paying taxes instead of working in the underground breeder economy!

    I am Cosmotarian Overlord and I support this message!

    1. Cosmo, if the LPK runs someone, it will probably be someone more rational than you, perhaps on a platform of legalizing industrial hemp for the benefit of Kentucky farmers.

      Gatewood Galbraith has received as much as 15% of the vote running as an independent on such a platform.

      1. Gatewood is one of the few KY dems Ive ever voted for.

  18. Who is Joshua Koch to determine how a libertarian should think? There are libertarians who are pro-life. Now he wants to single out that segment of the movement. Doesn’t that position of determining how much of libertarian one should be, undermine libertarianism?

    1. There is no stopping the Kochoctopus.

  19. Here’s a simple solution to the dilemma faced by those who can acknowledge the unarguable fact human life begins at conception: Make the unborn fetus the property of the mother. Then we can dispense with the disingenuous ‘control of her body’ arguments, which ignore the body of the fetus and just grant mothers the right to kill their unborn property.

    1. What could go wrong with making human life the property of another?

      1. Plus, does that mean that if those property rights disappear at birth, that someone has stolen the woman’s baby?

        1. Maybe the dingo took your baby?

  20. One day, I won’t be let down. One day.

  21. The LP made a huge mistake making the platform explicitly pro-choice a few years ago. Previously it had simply stated that libertarians were divided on the issue. As Distinguished Gentleman above notes, it cuts off a gigantic swath (relative to the current size of the LP) of small-government supporters from the party.

    1. Actually no, the LP platform has been explicitly pro-choice from the time the party was founded.

      Any disputes of consequence on the abortion issue did not start until around 1987 with the nomination of Ron Paul and the influx of Paulite Republicans and Ron Paul newsletter subscribers into the Party. People, I might add that pretty much disappearred post-election.

      After that there was some dispute, with even some pro-choice people suggesting softening the plank to see if they could coax those people back. Can’t say I know how that’s turned out. I left the party in ’92, the crazy just got to thick (mostly militia and “I don’t have to have no driver’s license” folks though, not pro-lifers.

    2. Tulpa, you are historically incorrect. For many years the Libertarian Party platform was clearly pro-choice, stating that a woman has a right to control her own body. This is the only plank in the platform that has widespread support outside the LP.

      Then to mollify pro-life libertarians, many who joined after Ron Paul’s 1988 campaign, they changed it to “while recognizing honest libertarians disagree on the issue…we oppose any government involvement…” (a paraphrase, quote marks only to delineate beginning and ending of paraphrase)

      1. I don’t know about anywhere else, but here in Central Florida the general attitude that the pro-choice side took in 88 was, “the plank’s in the platform and it’s not going to change, but we’ll STFU about it if you will.”

        For the most part the Paulites etc went along with that. It was during the ‘tween election lull that the pro-lifers and those that wanted to mollify them got busy as I recall.

        The fact is that RP seemd to have wanted the LP nomination so badly (for whatever reason) that he was mostly silent on the issue during the campaign.

        Most LPers I know were a little surprised to hear the depth of his opposition after the campaign was over.

  22. That’s less troubling than our mountain of debt so, f*ck it, i’m still voting for him.

  23. …it is the duty of our government to protect this life.

    For me, this has far less to do with abortion than it has to do with empowering government. This ‘duty’ sounds suspiciously like the WOD. Maybe people are getting worried about funding drying up, and need a new ‘crusade’.

    The anti-abortion crowd will continue to fail until, like the leftist-union alliance, they can figure out a way to make it profitable for a large group of people to support. Mark my words, if the SEIU could organize the new anti-abortion ‘birth centers’ and procure 20 Billion in federal pork, they’d be anti-abortion in 24 hours.

    1. “For me, this has far less to do with abortion than it has to do with empowering government. This ‘duty’ sounds suspiciously like the WOD.”

      The duty to protect the lives of citizens sounds like the War on Drugs? Sounds like the night watchman state to me.

      Until you can convince people about whether and when the unborn have human rights, you can’t actually win an argument on what to do about it.

      1. That’s my point. It’s not like there’s some small minority of opinion regarding unborn humans. Large segments of our populace disagree with each other, and also about specifics – even among those supposedly on the same side.

        How anyone can think that state intervention will not exacerbate that problem is a mystery to me. My point is that the continued ‘controversy’ – all dependent on the control of others – seems to be a great way to spike donations and gather votes.

        Are people here really arguing that the state knows whats best about your reproductive choices? I for one have had enough of other people’s opinions of how I should run my life.

  24. If a month-old embryo is a human being with the same rights and responsibilities and legal status as an adult human, then shouldn’t the pregnant woman have the right to make it go live somewhere else? Isn’t that week-old embryo the ultimate welfare parasite, proclaiming some “right” to live *inside another person*?

    1. A mother doesn’t have the right to send her 3-year-old somewhere else either. Yet that doesn’t mean that killing 3-year-olds should be legal.

    2. You’ve heard of these people called “children”, right? They don’t have the same rights and responsibilities as adult humans, yet it’s still considered murder to kill them. Weird, huh?

  25. As I’ve argued, the belief that abortion is murder would seem to justify even stronger action, assuming the government continues to shirk its duty.

    If you’re talking about killing abortionists and those who support them, in this situation you are not correct. Doing that would not prevent any abortions, since the problem is not one abortionist but rather the legal regime — so unless overthrowing the entire government is justified and likely to succeed, it’s better not to get violent.

    What you suggested in your previous column was akin to saying that any WW2-era Polish person who did not grab a shotgun and fight the Auschwitz guards must not really have had a problem with exterminating Jews (and not a few Polish priests along with them) deep down.

  26. Any “solution” to abortion that isn’t providing information on pregnancy prevention to everyone over 12 and making contraceptives and prophylactics as readily available as possible will just be an excuse for more government control. Rand Paul is illustrating this nicely for all of us.

    1. Re: Kat,

      It takes no sage to understand that penis + vagina = baby.

      1. Understand? Yes.

        Put into practice based on that understanding? No.

        1. Having some trouble with the ladies Tulpa?

          Wait a minute…

          Yup, there’s yer problem right there: those aren’t ladies.

        2. Remember Tulpa, the hole that makes babies is on the front side.

      2. It takes some hormones too, there champ. Let’s not be stupid now.

  27. Abortion is the shiny thing statists of all stripes know they can use to distract from any meaningful debate about the proper scope of government in citizens’ lives. Please be smart enough to look away.

  28. As I pointed out in the other thread, Sullum is wrong about the Life at Conception Act.

    Murder would still be a state crime and the state can define exceptions, just like they do now. The LaC Act doesnt make murder a federal crime.

    1. Sure it does. What do you think the whole thing is about?

      1. Oops. Disregard.

  29. What exactly is the pro-lifer endgame here?

    (i) If it returns to the states, adult women of means cross state lines as needed, and only minors and the most busted-out poor (and perhaps a handful of prisoners) in anti-abortion jurisdictions are caught in the prohibition’s net.

    (ii) if, by miracle, an abortion ban goes national, it’s war: covert providers, Misoprostol gangs, jury nullification, botched procedures, miscarriage investigations, SWAT — total war.

    And how big of a welcome are 1 Million-plus newborns of the most messed-up, dispossessed, low-skilled, and unwilling mothers going to get in a country that is already bulge-eyed spitting mad about “anchor babies” and “welfare moms”?

    Is this what sells in JesusLand? Total social upheaval? Total Armageddon?

    1. Abortion was illegal once. There wasn’t Armageddon.

      1. There wasn’t a massive welfare state either.

      2. Slavery was legal once. There wasn’t Armageddon. A civil war, maybe, but not Armageddon.

        Of course, Michael Bay wasn’t even born yet.

        1. Yea, I probably wouldn’t mention slavery in an abortion thread. Especially when someone earlier suggested making the unborn life legal property of the mother.

    2. Even though I’m “pro-choice,” the argument that outlawing abortion wouldn’t actually stop abortions from happening and therefore we shouldn’t outlaw abortions seems incredibly stupid to me.

      It’s sort of like arguing that outlawing murder doesn’t stop murder from happening, therefore we shouldn’t outlaw murder.

      1. A far better argument is simply to show that abortion is not murder, because the fetus does not have rights, because it is not a person.

        1. Except for the pesky fact that every other age group of human being has rights be definition. You actually have to come up with a convincing argumnet that a fetus is not person, because simply stating that as a premise is intellectually weak.

          1. Its a simple progression. You don’t have the same rights at 10 years old that you do at 18 or at 21 or at 30 or at 77.

            1. Uh no, that’s dumb.

          2. I didn’t state it as a premise. I already wrote my reasoning downthread. A fetus is not a separate entity from the mother.

      2. It’s sort of like arguing that outlawing murder doesn’t stop murder from happening, therefore we shouldn’t outlaw murder.

        No it isn’t. Half the population doesn’t support murder. In fact, I’m not sure if you’d find anyone willing to support the legalization of murder(not self-defense killing, etc.)

        Never mind the fact that murder is the removal of the right to life of one human by another – and if anyone is tempted to try and argue that abortion is just that – I’d love to hear the argument on why the abortive mother shouldn’t be prosecuted for that murder, since, by any stretch she is an accomplice.

        That’s why most of the anti-abortion attacks are against abortion doctors and not the mothers. It just doesn’t play well with the public.

        And if it is banned, how will the restriction be enforced, in order to preserve life? SWAT teams?

        1. Self-defense is murder. Since the states aren’t banning it, we need a Federal law to do the job. Every life is sacred.

        2. You’re missing the point. The analogy has nothing to do with how close abortion is to murder. The same argument can be used for anything, since outlawing something almost always never gets rid of that thing.

  30. What makes a person a person?

    1. 1. A person must be a singular entity.

      2. A person must have the inherent capability to understand the basic concept of respecting other individuals. In other words, they must be capable of reaching a level of intelligence high enough to understand this concept.

      In my opinion a fetus is not a singular entity.

      1. Under that definition, neither is an infant, or humans with major brain abnormalities. Try again.

        1. So? What use are they to society? Particularly if there are too many of them, and especially if they are not the desirable race. If the spawn makes it out of the uterus and is not a drain on resources, fine. Survival of the fittest, I always say!

          1. A fetus is like a symbiote. Once the cord is cut it becomes a parasite.;)

        2. A baby can be raised by wolves, a fetus cannot.

        3. Both of those examples are capable of REACHING a level of intelligence high enough to respect rights. Are you saying that all people with mental abnormalities can’t understand the difference between right and wrong?

  31. I support Ron Paul’s federalism take on the issue. As a resident of Texas, though, I know I will be living in a state with anti-abortion laws if that happens. Good thing my boyfriend has a strong punching arm.

    1. It is nice that you can think ahead far enough to plan to force a miscarriage, but didn’t anyone tell you,
      pregnancies are preventable.

      1. Didn’t anyone tell you about jokes? I hope you don’t seriously think that several punches to the uterus is my primary form of birth pregnancy control.

        1. Actually I didn’t even think it was on your list of pregnancy controls at all, until you said “primary”.

    2. Thats not Ron Pauls take though. He supports a federal amendment that says the fetus is a person, which I assume would make abortion illegal in the whole country. You can google it. I think its called “the human life amendment”. Im pretty sure he’s a co-sponsor.

  32. Sorry, but if Rand Paul is “100% pro-life,” then he’s an idiot.

    1. Well I think sticking to your opinion that abortion is murder makes far more sense than saying, “let’s not let the federal government decide, let’s let the state government decide!” Tyranny by the majority is still tyranny by the majority, regardless of how small the population is.

      1. While I agree with your last sentence, the beauty of federalism is that the tyranny only affects local populations, and that’s better than nationwide tyranny.

        1. Better does not equal right.

  33. The libertarian position is supposed to be self responsibility. So use a damn condem or abstain. And if there is a mistake, arrange for an adoption in nine months. There are enough parents who will pay your full ride to the end to have a newborn.

    Or do libertarians believe that no one should have responsibility for their actions? Sounds to me like the defense of abortion is just a great way for libertarian guys to duck responsibility while showing how sensitive they are to liberal women. Great plan there guys!

    1. “Sounds to me like the defense of abortion is just a great way for libertarian guys to duck responsibility while showing how sensitive they are to liberal women. Great plan there guys!”

      So libertarians are pro-choice in order to get babes? Interesting theory…

  34. I am always humored by “right to lifers” who vociferously opposed abortion but have no problem taking the life innocent bystanders in the quest for Osama Bin Ladin.

    If we define murder as “taking the life of an innocent human being”
    then we would be forced to put our own military on trial.

    For example our military has a policy of when and when not to fire on innocent civilians in the pursuit of terrorists. I think when the number of innocent men , women and children is UNDER 30, it is justified in firing into a crowd to take out one terrorist.

  35. Another million pregnant Mexican women will shortly be dropping their anchor babies on American soil, but they will not have to swim the Rio Grande, getting a short term visa is all that is needed. The worst scenario would be if other third world women had the same idea, as tourists they could flood the nation with a hundred million babies crying for a welfare check. It would force taxpayers to support countless children that were not their own.

  36. When considering abortion remember as all health professionals know that the being inside the woman is separate from her being. She is just housing the child. So abortion is giving the woman the right to murder the child she is housing – the bodies are separate; the fetus dependent but is not the same as the woman. So, yes
    we have to deal with the fact that women and men are saying it is right to murder another human being just because there is no where else to house the child.

  37. Perhaps one important thing to note is that many pro-lifers are against any human being murdered for the cause of those more powerful

  38. I assume Mr. Paul also professes to know the precise “instant” that life ENDS. So which is it Rand… the last breath.. the last heartbeat.??. the last brainwave? And even after these stop, are we morally bound by your God Almighty to keep the physically and mentally dead alive by any artificial means available? And what about organs that are transplant??ed and live on for years in the bodies of others? Do we now declare people dead incrimenta?lly? And what about cryogenics? In short, please tell us all precisely when is someone well and truly “DEAD.”

    Your God is supposedly “the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.” But it’s funny how it these transition?al “instants” …these threshholds your speak of so forcefully keep changing over the years. Such conclusion??s should be the province of science.. not religious zealots and the politician??s –like you– who pander to them.”

  39. Abortion is a murder act. That is the Truth. But abortion is a big issue.

    Check out these links :
    http://www.Truthmedia.8k.com/M…..ity38.html

    http://Truthmedia.8k.com/Abortion.html

    These links will get you up to speed…if you can handle the Truth.

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