Pro-Choice Libertarians Letter to the 2002 Platform Committee
Randal A. Anderson III
Ron L. Boozell
Richard N. Freedman
Jeremy Robert Furbish
|John E. Jasen
John A. Johnson
Vincent J. May
W. Rick Nichol
John L Robinson
Mary Lou Seymour
Larry E. Shashy
Mark B. Wilson
Diane C. Wilson
abortion issue, Robert Murphy proposed a stronger statement of the
position. But other members were happy to leave the plank as it
One women even quoted from the Pro-Choice Libertarians leaflet
the LP do just that. See above...
...At each convention the delegates vote on whether to “retain” each plank of the Platform. A majority of those voting decides whether or not to retain the plank. Abortion prohibitionists were ecstatic to note that the Women’s Rights plank passed by only 53%. However, at least one Platform Committee member, helped by several friends, encouraged delegates to vote “none of the above” on the whole platform as a way of showing support for the Platform Committee’s proposal to re-write the platform. Considering that 73% was the highest percentage garnered by any plank, it is likely that this effort cut down the Women’s Rights plank’s vote total by at least ten points. See www.dehnbase.org/lpus/library/conv/vote-plat.html for all totals. So don’t believe any abortion prohibitionist who tries to tell you that delegates almost dumped the plank!
Libertarians are well
aware that the “protection
of our nation’s children” is an excuse used by politicians to increase
their political power. The Drug War, the virtual nationalization of our
country’s school systems, welfare systems, Medicaid, anti-obscenity
Internet controls – all of these political crusades depend wholly or in
part on the sentimental rhetoric of child protection.
The abortion issue is no different. To grant the legal premise that two individual persons with equal rights can exist in the same body lays the foundation for unprecedented government power. There is no ambiguity here. The Libertarian principles of non-initiation of force and property rights - when applied to adult fertile women – direct us to oppose laws which would interfere with women’s freedom of action and support laws which protect women’s rights to do what they choose with their bodies.
Women’s Rights and Abortion (additional language proposal)
We recognize that
different moral codes and
have many different opinions about human intervention in the natural
of human reproduction, ranging from a total ban on any form of
-with sometimes severe physical or social punishments for deviations
orthodoxy - to a willing acceptance of any and all scientific and
techniques and advancements. We therefore make no judgements about
violations of sexual taboos, birth control, genetic manipulation,
or other forms of reproductive intervention are morally right or wrong.
We are concerned only with the consequences of an important legal
to the freedom of women.
If an embryo developing inside a pregnant woman is presumed by the law to be a separate person, then the consequences for women's freedom is potential disaster. Such a presumption lays the legal foundation for laws that could subject fertile women to such things as monthly pregnancy testing, strict diet control, involuntary medical treatment, and criminal and civil liability for fetal injury caused by ignorance, accident, negligence, or the purposeful termination of pregnancy, all in the name of protecting the unborn child.
Regarding abortion, we hold that the law must presume that women are competent to make decisions concerning their own reproduction, and that the potential child inside a pregnant woman is not a separate person, but a part of the woman, and, absent some prior contract with the father, her property to do with as she will, until the moment at birth when the umbilical cord is cut and she is no longer providing it with nourishment. We further urge the repeal and prohibition of any and all laws that would restrict a woman's right to determine her own course of nutrition and treatment during pregnancy, to terminate her pregnancy either chemically or surgically, or to transfer her embryo for medical research. Women who are pregnant must be free to judge for themselves whether or not to carry a pregnancy full term, since only they are competent to judge whether or not they and their children will be loved or unloved, cared for or abandoned, free agents or resources for the State.
that the suppression of
rights to life, liberty and property was tied for centuries to the fact
that women had no dependable control over their reproductive cycles. It
was only with the technological development of dependable birth control
in the mid-twentieth century that women could truly act on their claims
to equal political rights with men. As Libertarians, we cannot stand in
the way of reproductive freedom, even if that freedom means that some
will decide to end the potential life within them. We should encourage
education programs to aid women in determining the best course for