â€œAre we prepared to select out the imperfect among us?," asked Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) while stumping for Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli during a campaign event at Liberty University in Lynchburg according to the Associated Press. Specifically, Paul appeared concerned about the implications of new genetic testing:
â€œIn your lifetime, much of your potential â€" or lack thereof â€" can be known simply by swabbing the inside of your cheek."
Presumably if someone has a cheek to swab, they are well past the point of being able to be aborted. Setting that aside, the critical question should be: who decides who gets to be born? Parents or politicians?
As I earlier noted in a column on sex selection, I think Australian bioethicist Julian Savulescu is right when he reminds us, "The Nazis sought to interfere directly in people's reproductive decisions (by forcing them to be sterilized) to promote social ideals, particularly around racial superiority. Not offering selection for nondisease genes would indirectly interfere (by denying choice) to promote social ideals such as equality or 'population welfare.' There is no relevant difference between direct and indirect eugenics. The lesson we learned from eugenics is that society should be loath to interfere (directly and indirectly) in reproductive decisionmaking."
Fortunately, there is a real libertarian running for governor in Virginia, Robert Sarvis. With regard to abortion Sarvis' campaign website observes:
I believe abortion is a politically intractable issue because we are divided not just on the political issue but on the metaphysical issue. Given that, I find it counterproductive to try to settle the matter through the coercive power of the state. Trying to do so has ruined our political discourse and radicalized our political parties.
As Governor of Virginia (and of all Virginians, including those on both sides of the issue), I will ask those on both sides of the issue to spend the next four years using moral suasion in their private lives to change others' opinions.
For more background see Reason TV's debate among libertarians on the issue of abortion below: