Reason Podcast

Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Libertarians Calmly Discuss Abortion

A conversation between Reason editors about Georgia's "heartbeat law," the future of Roe v. Wade, and how to be less shouty even when you disagree.

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The debate over the "heartbeat bill" signed into law in Georgia last week has been both hyperbolic and vitriolic. Of course, stakes are high in the debate over the legality of abortion and the potential for reconsideration of the Supreme Court precedent set in Roe v. Wade (1973).

But at Reason, we believe calm, rational discussion is possible even between people who strongly disagree. So Editor in Chief Katherine Mangu-Ward sat down with Managing Editor Stephanie Slade, who is pro-life, and Associate Editor Liz Nolan Brown, who is pro-choice, to talk about the present state of abortion politics and the ways in which reasonable libertarians can disagree on this issue.

Further reading:

Stephanie Slade on Why I Am a Pro-Life Libertarian and Why Is the ACLU Targeting Catholic Hospitals?

Elizabeth Nolan Brown on how A Post-Roe World Would Pave the Way for a New Black Market in Abortion Pills and Doctors Call for Decriminalization of Self-Induced Abortion.

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Audio production by Ian Keyser.

 

 

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95 responses to “Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Libertarians Calmly Discuss Abortion

  1. Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Libertarians Calmly Discuss Abortion

    ENB and KMW are NOT Libertarians. I Cannot remember about Stephanie Slade’s positions.

      1. Nice opposition piece troll.

        Your points of retort are so compelling.

      2. Fun fact: the democratic Party never got to the same number of House seats as the GOap held before election 2018.

        Plus the GOP gained 6 seats in the Senate.

        I cannot wait for the same Red Wave in 2020. At that rate, Trump will be reelected by a Reagan landslide, the Gop will hold a Super majority in the Senate and the GOP will gain a majority in the House again.

      3. Captain “Red Wave” has spoken!

        I have to object to that comment on the grounds that it is an accurate burn (rather than satire).

        1. Poor Private “Blue Wave” is still butthurt about Election 2016.

  2. Sounds boring. Political discussion needs to be like a Jerry Springer show.

    1. Yes. This needs to be on video, with hair-pulling and chair-throwing. Get them boozed up first, too, like on a Real Housewives reunion.

      1. with hair-pulling and chair-throwing.

        I’d like to think that Reason cocktail parties are like that.

        1. Mostly just when they run out of fruit sushi

    2. No, political discussion needs to be like the original Crossfirewhere Pat Buchanan laughs at Tom Braden who, in a fit of senile dementia, stammers about fighting in the Spanish Civil War.

  3. “Pro-life libertarian” is an oxymoron. Legally restricting access to abortion care is the equivalent of establishing a theocracy. And you can’t be a libertarian if you literally want to turn the country into The Handmaid’s Tale.

    “Supreme Court precedent set in Roe v. Wade (1973)”

    Actually, the most brilliant minds in legal academia regard Roe as not merely a precedent, but a SUPER-PRECEDENT. That’s how ironclad its Constitutional reasoning is.

    1. Some have even referred to it as a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-precedent.

    2. “Legally restricting access to abortion care is the equivalent of establishing a theocracy.”

      Not necessarily. From a purely scientific, biological perspective, and embryo or fetus is a genetically distinct organism of species homo sapiens from the moment of conception. It is not at any time just part of the mother’s body.

      1. You are absolutely correct from both scientific and logical perspectives.

        The person you replied to, like all on the pro abortion side, want…need to argue it as a theological issue. They have already lost the scientific and logical argument.

        1. What I found interesting was the pro-life theocrats seeking to extend their dominion into some types of contraceptives, despite all scientific studies. Understand, it wasn’t that the scientists and god-merchants had different definitions of life; a religion has every right to define life however they see fit. But in this case the theocrats gave a definition on the onset of life, the studies showed those contraceptives weren’t abortion by that definition, but the god-merchants still insisted it was, science be damned.

          You’d think they’d welcome proof of countless fewer “dead babies” by their own metric, but their reaction was exactly opposite. Now obviously – in the deepest sense – this is about controlling women’s sexuality – a manic obsession hardwired into the DNA of almost every tribal religion, but I think there’s another factor as well:

          For your average philistine, could there be any easier piety than anti-abortion? It requires no sacrifice, no hard choice, no difficult decisions. All you have is wanton hussies and cherubic proto-babies; piety-wise, it’s the perfect commodity product for pre-packaged righteousness. And this explains the strange reaction to the contraception studies. If you have a successive market, you look to expand it, McDonalds wasn’t satisfied just selling burgers, they expanded to breakfast sandwiches. Of course the anti-abortion people would want a piece of the contraception action, whatever the science says…..

          1. Keep it simple stupid.

            If it walks like a duck.

            Don’t want babies, don’t fuck.

            1. “Don’t want babies, don’t fuck.”

              What an authoritarian asshole thing to say! Like sex for pleasure is some horrible sin!

              “Don’t want tooth cavities, don’t eat any sugar”… I want to boss you around, ’cause tooth-decay organisms have souls, and tooth brushes and tooth paste kill them… I will decide for you! No toothpaste for YOU! Is this what is next, oh-so-supposedly-logical authoritarian asshole?

            2. Rob Misek lays it out pretty clearly, huh? For all his gaslighting about “scientific and logical argument” above, in the end he’s just another religious-type obsessed with managing what’s between women’s legs. Here’s another indication all this has zero to do with principled beliefs or scientific argument : The Alabama law imposes no restrictions or penalties on fertilized eggs in a fertility clinic. By the evangelical hypocrisy bullshit, every one of those eggs is little Billy or Sally, but somehow that “principle” doesn’t apply when there isn’t a women attached to punish.

    3. One can, contrary to your solipsism, have objections to abortion that are not rooted in any sort of religion.

      Now carry on with your straw men and histrionics.

  4. Huh, just looked at a Pew Study on abortion laws around the globe. America’s pretty damned permissive on abortion.

    1. Until any pregnant person can get an 8th month abortion within a 5 minute walk from home, we’re not “permissive” enough.

      #LibertariansForThirdTrimesterAbortion
      #StandWithPP

      1. Let’s compromise and make it a 10th month abortion but within a 5 minute e-scooter ride.

      2. And don’t forget — for “free”!

        1. Paid for by a tax on tithes, Bibles and churches.

  5. Rabbit season!

    Duck Season!

    1. Elmer Season!

  6. From S. Slade’s article:

    for the consistent libertarian who looks at an ultrasound and sees a baby, a person, a fully human life, it’s extraordinarily hard to avoid the conclusion that abortion is an act of violence

    +100

    1. I can but speak for me and the missus. When we saw our daughter in the ultra-sound she was a child; and ours. As far as we’re concerned that’s a living organism.

      She also doesn’t fully subscribe that the choice entirely belongs to the woman. If in a relationship the man absolutely has a say in her view.

  7. I don’t know. I consider myself fairly pro-life and would like to see abortions minimized or eliminated. I’m just not willing to use the power of the government to do it, forcing my personal views on others at the point of the government’s gun.

    An abortion one minute after conception is almost certainly not murder, but one minute before birth is. For my moment of apophasis, let’s not discuss the notion of babies surviving an botched abortion to be left to die by doctors.

    The real question is how far backward from the one-minute-before-birth does it still retain the murder aspect? Or, from the other direction, when does it attain that status?

    Republicans who say the moment of conception seem wrong to me, and the Democrats (like gov of Virginia) who seem to think 20 minutes after birth is ok seem way more wrong. I would use the force of government to prevent the latter, the former not so much.

    1. And now I realize I was responding to OBL and need not have.

    2. I’m just not willing to use the power of the government to do it, forcing my personal views on others at the point of the government’s gun.

      When you think about it, every law is an imposition of someone’s beliefs upon others at the point of the government’s gun.

    3. I view viability as the line. After viability, unless there’s a serious medical issue (and allowing any mental health claim to count like NY is way over that line. Serious is mother will die, fetus has fatal or severe defect.. that’s about it) the only option should be deliver, incubate, and forfeit. But there’s no room for people like us with nuanced views and reasonable compromise. One side wants it banned period, the other wants “it will stress me out” to be a valid reason for abortion right up to and probably immediately after birth like is now legal in NY. The “fact check” articles are so ridiculous in how they dance around admitting that’s true, weasel words and appeal to rarity everywhere.

      1. Viability seems reasonable, until we get to where artificially inseminated eggs can be grown from zygote to infant in an artificial womb. Then viability essentially begins at conception, if viability means “able to survive outside the mother’s womb, with a shit-ton of expensive medical technology.”

        1. And in that case “abortion” would simply be the removal of the embryo to be gestated in an artificial womb before being put up for adoption (or even given back to the biological parents, depending on the circumstances leading to the decision to have the abortion)

        2. Viability is simply defined as the ability to continue living.

          The idea that viability is the point at which a fetus might leave the womb and survive with constant care is a fabrication from the abortion industry.

          If you knowingly harm the baby in any way, you are a criminal who should be punished.

  8. I will have to listen to it later. But I would hope they at least agree it shouldn’t be taxpayer funded

  9. Pro-Life Judenliebhaber and Pro-Oven Fascists Calmly Discuss Death Camps

    A conversation between Reason editors about the Third Reich’s “final solution,” the future of Auschwitz, and how to be less shouty even when you disagree.

    This is how it reads to me. Only an abortion fanatic could think there’s reasonable space for negotiation on killing people.

    1. The non-shouty part is (a) for the benefit of the audience, (b) for the debaters’ own health, and (c) because if Jesus could dine with tax-collectors, the rest of us can dine with other categories of wrongdoer.

      1. Yeah, but Jesus never had to suffer through Thanksgiving with wrongthinking relatives.

        1. Jesus had an endless supply of wine.

  10. ” Only an abortion fanatic could think there’s reasonable space for negotiation on killing people.”

    They don’t believe that they what they are killing qualifies as people.

    1. Well yes, THAT is what makes abortion a TOTALLY dicey issue!!! Is a clump of 2 cells a person? A clump of cells of count = 2 trillion (who knows how many?) 2 days away from being born as a normal, healthy baby? God ain’t told me; has He-She-It told YOU?

      Well anyway, here’s something to think about, an analogy if ye will…

      Abortion is like this:
      You’re drunk off of your bleeding ass, driving down the road and shit, minding your own business and shit. Maybe you shouldn’t have dropped that acid, either, but the cops haven’t caught you, and, innocent till proven guilty, right? So you keep on driving… Your drunken ass is bleeding and shit, by the way, ‘cause you’ve got some wicked hemorrhoids, and shit!
      Then some space aliens swoop in on your car, and abduct you, and shit. They start anally probing you. For some strange reason, the little green men have a conscience attack, they start worrying about fucking up your health, and shit, what with your giant bleeding hemorrhoids. So they cease and desist, yank their probes out of your ass, and probe your nose instead, and shit. They don’t even bother to clean the bloody shit off of the probes, and shit!
      But then a mucus vampire circles around you and swoops in like a vulture!

      See, a mucus vampire, well, they’ve got some sort of magical nose for this kind of thing, and somehow he catches on to what’s going down, and he wants to suck your mucus, and shit. So he shows up, to get in on the action.
      But when the mucus vampire sees all your blood and shit mixed up with your mucus and shit, he gets all disgusted and shit. The blood, he can handle… Some of his best friends are blood vampires. He’s a tolerant and broad-minded vampire, and shit, you know. But REAL shit, in his mucus??! Now THAT is TOO MUCH shit, and shit!
      So he says, “Dudes, getting blood and shit into your mucus and shit, that’s like getting chocolate into your peanut butter and jelly and shit! That’s like getting your stupid and your evil all mixed up into your philosophy! This is some seriously fucked up bloody-snot shit! I’m outta here!” And the mucus vampire is SOOO sickened, he barfs all over you! Then he wraps his cloak around him like Batman folding up his bat-wings around himself, turns into a bat-shit crazy bat, and shit, and flies away, all disgusted.
      The little green men, being kinda autistic, take everything literally. They are also HORNY little green men, already excited by anally and nasally probing you, and, upon hearing the mucus vampire talking about “…seriously fucked up bloody-snot shit…”, get all carried away, and shoot their little-green-men jism all over your bloody-snot shit!

      Now if we sit back and think about this, your shit bacteria get all fucked up, ‘cause they were expecting a decent burial in your toilet, and they don’t get one. Your nasal bacteria and viruses were expecting to LIVE, or, at least, a traditional, honorable drying-out session in your booger rag, and they don’t get that, either. Your little green men sperm cells get REALLY screwed over, ‘cause they were expecting at least SOME long odds (but a real fighting chance) at some little green woman’s egg cell. Your red blood cells don’t matter, ‘cause they have no cell nucleus, let alone a nervous system, or any kind of independent life. Your white blood cells? Well, yes, they have a nucleus, and their own genes. But they’re WHITE, dammit! You cracker muthafuckers!!! WHITE means you’re a RACIST, and WHO CARES about the rights of racist honkeys?!?!
      Ergo, we must conclude, this whole thing is an abortion all around! Since abortions are, by definition, abortions, they need to be outlawed!

      1. ” Is a clump of 2 cells a person?”

        In the case of pregnancy, it’s a genetically distinct organism of species homo sapiens. Everything else in your comment is bullshit smokescreen.

        1. “…a genetically distinct organism of species homo sapiens.”

          So do you think that the punishment for killing a clump of 2 cells should be the same as the punishment for killing an adult human (in cold blood, illegally, not in war or in court-sanctioned capital punishment)?

          Getting all geeky-scientific here does NOT help ONE iota, for the really important questions, smug smart guy!

  11. Does this mean that Slade gets to post some of the abortion links, or just ENB?

  12. Thank you for an exemplary discussion, ladies.

  13. DNA fingerprinting science wasn’t developed until 1989, 16 years after rvw.

    Should the case be argued today they could not conclude that the baby is the mother’s body.

    1. OK, are cancerous tumors Mom’s body, or not?

      Is Mom’s body part of Mom’s body, or not? Do certain parts of Mom’s body belong to the voters, the politicians, and to Government Almighty? Up for whatever the voters say it is? Is there a DNA fingerprinting test for this? Does DNA have fingers? WHERE are the fingers of DNA?

      1. A cancerous tumor is all mom’s DNA. An embryo/fetus is a distinct organism. Even pre-DNA testing, it is anti-science to conclude otherwise.

        1. Even if cancer was a distinct organism like a tapeworm, tapeworms do not have an inalienable right to life secured by the Constitution.

  14. Did I miss the transcript?

  15. I’m just gonna say what everyone is thinking.

    Stephanie is a cutie.

  16. It’s a simple question of property rights. The uterus belongs to the woman and the fetus has no rights to its use. It survives solely on the good will of the mother.

    1. That argument would seem to apply well past birth.

      1. How would a born person use a uterus?

        1. After birth, the parents have an obligation to clothe, feed and shelter the child. If not, they go to jail. Of course, that’s only in the immediate short term, as you are always free to give it up for adoption/drop it off at the fire department.

          Saying, “Sorry little man, I don’t have to share my property with you” to your newborn infant and then leaving it to die of exposure in a field doesn’t exactly cut it these days. That was big in ancient times though.

          1. Anyone can tale care of a baby but only the woman can carry it to term.

            1. Exactly.

              How does that justify murder?

              1. How do you rationalize being an illogical authoritarian asshole?

              2. I just “murdered” homo-sapeon DNA all over the floor. Wanna give me the electric chair too?

    2. A new human life exists when a woman knowingly participated in the only activity in nature that creates it. Long before the woman becomes aware of it.

      That was her only choice.

      Abortion is a subsequent choice to murder the baby.

      1. Ever heard of rape?

        1. Rape is very much a distinct and special case, because the mother did not consent to (or assume the risk of) pregnancy.

          In every other case, the mother willingly consented.

          1. You do know contraception isn’t 100% effective? She’s on the pill, using a diaphragm and the guy uses two condoms but she gets pregnant. That’s willful consent?

        2. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

          The baby is innocent.

          If someone else commits a crime should we sentence you?

          1. You ARE sentencing the woman for the crime if you force her to carry the fetus to term against her will.

            1. Yes she is absolutely to be held accountable for her actions creating life. A nine month sentence.

              If you know contraception isn’t 100% effective, so did she.

              1. Rob Misek wants to rape women and then blame them for NOT wanting to be His enslaved baby factory. Let this be known!

                I hope the “Alien” (think Sci-Fi movies) forcibly lays some eggs in you, so that you might learn what this is all about, at times…

              2. Are you going to claim responsibility for my “own” my finger too and jail me when I clip my nails? You cannot claim a “piece” of someone as public debate without violating the very essence of individuality. Until you figure out how to separate the two – you’ll just have to keep your own OPINION about others “pieces” to yourself.

    3. It’s a simple question of property rights.

      It is indeed.

      If I force you, against your will, onto my property, and make it impossible for you to leave for at least 9 months without dying, I don’t get to murder you because my previous actions inconvenience me now.

      This applies to all individuals and all property. The fact that, in this type of case, the property the individual was forced onto is a uterus is irrelevant.

      1. So if a woman is forced into sex you’re ok with her murdering a baby?

        1. In the case of rape, it is significant that the mother did not consent to the baby inhabiting her body.

          However, the baby is still an innocent third party, not the aggressor.

          1. So you want the government to agress and force the woman to carry the fetus.

            1. Nope, just to make harming the baby illegal.

              You want to murder the baby for Christ’s sake.

    4. EXACTLY — “It’s a simple question of property rights. The uterus belongs to the woman and the fetus has no rights to its use. It survives solely on the good will of the mother.”

      And what could possibly be more PERSONAL or a violation of individuality than trying to dictate a persons body through some excuse of claiming a “piece” of an adult person as public domain.

  17. But at Reason, we believe calm, rational discussion is possible even between people who strongly disagree.

    That point needs to be made repeatedly over a long period of time. As far as I can tell, online political discourse is now much more emotional, irrational, reality-detached and fouled by personal insult and attack than any time in at least the last 15 years or so.

    Reason, keep making that point.

  18. Listened to it last night. There didn’t seemed to be much added by the fact that the individuals involved had different end goals. Just a trio of people talking intelligently about current events around Abortion.

    I wish the contributors had at least elected to try to frame their perspective of what the legislation (or limits to the legislation) should be. Very few people actually stake out the “I have total control as long as the umbilical cord is uncut” vs. the” I can keep them in shackles if they are ever determined to be a threat to their unborn child”. The exercise of finding the boundaries tends to show how the overall compromise in culture equalizes.

  19. WTF? Are we back int eh 1980’s Libertarian Party? When did the purges stop? I never got the memo that we’re allowed to come to our own reasoned opinions now.

  20. How do you rationalize a nine month sentence for someone knowingly acting irresponsibly equating with the death penalty for an innocent person?

    1. Killing a fertilized egg cell or a clump of 2, 4, 8, or 16 cells is killing an innocent person? Killing them by evicting them from YOUR womb = murder? What planet did you say that you are from?

      1. Fewer cells for sure but they aren’t advocating for murder as you are. I suggest that gives them a greater right to life than you.

        When abortion is illegal maybe you will get the death penalty. That’s what I’m voting for.

        Yes killing a baby is murder everywhere.

        1. OK, so, then, the incubators (LIVING HUMAN WOMEN, ASSHOLE, NOT JUST INCUBATORS!!!) of clumps of 2, 4, 8, or 16 cells, must OBEY the wishes of Rob Misek, or a horrible sin-crime has been committed!!! Even if these “incubators” have been forcibly raped!!! Can you NOT see just HOW MUCH of an authoritarian asshole you are?!?!?

          1. The baby is innocent you murdering cunt.

            1. “The baby” = clumps of 2, 4, 8, or 16 cells… THE Rob Misek Has Spoken!!!

              HOW MUCH punishment are you willing to dish out, to those who DARE to DISOBEY you, and “murder” clumps of 2, 4, 8, or 16 cells?

              Inquiring minds want to KNOW, dammit!!!

              1. Eye for an eye bitch.

  21. Even if states pass laws that make abortion illegal (as preformed by a doctor or a butcher) abortions will still happen. I don’t mean abortions in the back alleys. The states will not be able to ban the abortion pill, RU-486 or Mifepristone which is available over the counter.

  22. Murder is murder.

    If some drugs only serve to murder of course they will be restricted.

    Rusty coat hangers serve several purposes.

  23. I’d like to thank the ladies for conducting a 44:47 minute-long conversation without ever once interrupting each other, a task that seems quite out of reach for some of the contributing males on Reason’s podcasts.

    1. And they never came to a conclusion.

  24. Roe v Wade 21-weeks. Chances of major mental retardation at 27-week birth is 80%. Survival rate at 21-weeks 0%. The Supreme Court was wise on this ruling (Actually, very conservative leaning). If a homo-sapien has 0% survival rate under what wild imaginative “propaganda science” does one claim public ownership of said adult person by excusing a 0% survival rate “piece” of a full grown living adult and functional person as public domain?!?! Believe what you want but keep your beliefs to yourself and your family. What right is there to be pimping out OTHER PEOPLES pregnancy (body) through public debate?

    1. Keep it simple stupid.

      Don’t want to be responsible for a new human, don’t fuck.

      1. The only “simple” premise you have there is — “EVERYONE must do what I want them to do or I’ll PURPOSELY punish them by taking away their available individual and PERSONAL choices!!”

        So, Right…. Lets keep it simple. If you don’t want to see other people get abortions? CLOSE YOUR FREAK-EN EYES! Exactly what business/authority is it of yours anyways? Did you knock up all these people. Are they your family? No…. You just want your personal preference/believes SHOVED onto peoples personal lives. They call that a dictatorship!

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