PRO-CHOICE LIBERTARIANS’ MISSION STATEMENT
Pro-Choice Libertarians network bases our views on the libertarian non-aggression principle, from which flow principles of individual liberty, self-ownership, self-determination and limited government. (See our detailed statement “Libertarian Principles versus Abortion Prohibition”.)
We therefore oppose government interference with women’s reproductive liberty, especially government restrictions on – or prohibition of – abortion. While many libertarians describe themselves as “pro-life” on the abortion issue, most do not want government regulating or prohibiting abortion. We welcome such individuals to our group.
1. We emphasize that women have full human rights to control their own bodies, rights which a fetus is not capable of having. We also emphasize the negative consequences of abortion prohibition.
2. We oppose both government regulation of, and government funding for, all health services, including abortion. We also oppose forced abortion and forcing individuals and groups to pay for, advertise or perform abortions. However, we prioritize ending government regulations and laws that restrict women’s right to contraception and abortion.
3. In regard to the libertarian movement, we emphasize individual rights. States and localities have no more right to limit individual rights and liberties than the federal government.
4. We do support “constitutionalist” arguments for liberty that comply with individual liberty. Therefore we support Supreme Court arguments in the Roe vs. Wade abortion decision
5. We oppose the false dichotomy assumed by too many, that people are either “pro-choice” (and pro-abortion) or “pro-life” (and for outlawing abortion). A great majority of libertarians, even those calling themselves “pro-life”, do not want the government involved in the issue. While this is a defacto pro-choice position, it is not necessarily a pro-abortion position. Additionally, the proper term for those who want to regulate or outlaw abortion is “abortion prohibitionist.” We encourage libertarians to use these terms properly.
6. We hold that active abortion prohibitionists, especially those who have been members or activists in the Republican Party, are divisive and destructive forces in the libertarian movement and party.
STRATEGY RE: THE REPUBLICAN PARTY
1. We hold that the Republican party has engaged in forty years of cynical manipulation of the abortion issue. Republican Party propaganda has promoted sensationalized and inaccurate facts about abortion. The party uses guilt, shame and fear to manipulate Christian conservatives, vulnerable women and those males who oppose women’s sexual and personal freedom. Republicans have used the issue to organize and mobilize support for the party and to hold their manufactured constituency’s vote captive. Republicans call themselves “pro-life” but their abortion prohibitionism threatens the lives and liberties of millions of women.
2. We denounce Republican Party-passed state and federal laws and regulations that have closed abortion clinics, restricted access to abortion and raised the price of abortion. Republicans cynically criticize late term abortions, many of which their policies actually have caused. Republican administrations even have forced women to carry to term dead fetuses and investigated and prosecuted women for legal attempts to self-abort – even for natural miscarriages.
3. We will note that Republican Party demonization of abortion providers and condoning of harassment and trespass protest strategies inevitably have led to physical attacks against clinics and even murder of abortion providers.
4. Pro-Choice Libertarians holds that the Libertarian Party must remain clearly separated from the Republican Party from which many members – and many high profile candidates – continue to come. We oppose “libertarian-republican pivots”, i.e., individuals pivoting back and forth as candidates between the Republican and Libertarian parties.
STRATEGY RE: THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY
1. We strongly object to the removal of the national Libertarian Party’s abortion platform or the deletion of any language regarding keeping the government out of the issue. The platform currently reads: “Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.”
2. We believe the current plank panders far too much to vocal abortion prohibitionists – libertarian and non-libertarian – who flood Libertarian Party social media and surveys with their arguments and demands. Prohibitionist sentiments are not representative of the great majority of libertarians or party members. We object to the fact that three quarters of the abortion plank’s wording mollifies abortion prohibitionists while ignoring this decade’s dozens of new state abortion restrictions on when, where and how women can have abortions.
3. Given the onslaught of new laws and regulations, the Libertarian Party must mention our opposition to such acts, as past party platforms did until 2008. We will be proposing specific language as an alternative.
4. We call for all state and local parties to include similarly strong language in their platforms. We also call for the 10 largest states and the Libertarian National Committee to make sure they do not allow abortion prohibitionists to be disproportionately appointed to their platform committees. Polls show two-thirds of Americans support the Supreme Court’s Roe vs Wade decision.
5. We will encourage libertarians and the Libertarian Party to be active in social and mainstream media efforts to oppose and/or repeal increasingly outrageous state and federal laws and regulations restricting reproductive rights and abortion.
6. Although we believe there always will be a need for some abortion procedures, we encourage pro-life individuals to promote voluntary means of dealing with the problem of unplanned or unwanted pregnancies. However, we do request such individuals inform other libertarians if they believe that abortion is murder and should be treated as such under law.
7. We think libertarians should be aware of the motivations of those opposing the abortion plank.
A. Four groups of libertarians oppose the abortion plank because it discourages abortion prohibitionists from joining:
- Anti-abortionists and abortion prohibitionists. Both groups are offended by the concept of abortion and even by the word “pro-choice”. The more fanatical prohibitionists’ goals are to remove the abortion plank – as well as the “Omissions” plank – and then bring in hordes of conservative activists who currently boycott the party. They then can make the Libertarian Party a firmly anti-abortion party like the Constitution Party. Some even may want to merge the two parties.
- Opportunists. There have always been libertarian opportunists seeking more members and candidates from the Republican Party. They think they can become more politically credible and inviting by watering down libertarian positions. Calling themselves moderates, they effectively gutted the whole Libertarian Party platform in 2008.
- “Pivot libertarians”. These libertarians want individuals to be able to pivot back and forth as candidates between the Republican and Libertarian parties, as is opportune. In the past two Republican Party members who became Libertarian presidential candidates, Ron Paul and Bob Barr, attempted unsuccessfully to remove the Libertarian Party’s abortion plank. Today some libertarians hope that abortion prohibitionists like Rand Paul and Justin Amash will seek the 2020 Libertarian Party presidential nomination and successfully remove the plank, even if they intend to return to the Republican Party. Even in lower level races, some “libertarians” want the freedom to run as Republicans if necessary and don’t want “other” Republicans attacking them on the Libertarian Party’s abortion issue.
- Special interest factions. These quasi-libertarians are hostile to one or more long-time libertarian positions, especially those against military intervention, taxation, prosecution of “victimless crimes”, immigration restrictions and bans on gay and lesbian marriage.
B. Two groups of libertarians do so out of ignorance or frustration:
- New libertarians. Those with Republican backgrounds may have accepted Republican party propaganda against abortion, especially those still loyal to anti-abortionists Ron and Rand Paul. We hope to convince them of their clouded judgement on this issue and the irrationality and ugliness of abortion prohibitionism
- “Fed up” libertarians. Some party members seek to remove or change the abortion plank because they are tired of arguments over abortion. However, we warn them that doing so will have several consequences they will not like. Organized and lengthy floor protests after removal will get national publicity; removing it will be perceived by media and the public as a hard shift to the right. Doing so will drive away many pro-choice members and potential members. And it will encourage barely libertarian abortion prohibitionists and conservatives to join with the intention of making the nation’s largest third party an anti-abortion party. These conservatives also will target other libertarian positions with which they disagree.
STRATEGY RE: MEDIA AND PUBLIC
In our media and public efforts, and in any statements to governments, Pro-Choice Libertarians will focus on tactics like:
1. Using phrase “abortion prohibitionist” to describe those who want to outlaw abortion and reminding others that most “pro-life” libertarians want to keep the government out of the abortion issue.
2. The Republican Party cynical and hypocritical manipulation of the abortion issue and the fact its most fanatical members even are against contraception and applaud violence against abortion clinics and doctors.
3. Psycho-social-political analysis of why men and women become abortion prohibitionists.
4. Listings of unintended – and even intended – consequences of regulating and prohibiting abortion. Provide examples insufficiently covered in media.
5. The role of restricting abortion access in increasing access to and cost of abortion, leading to far more later term abortions.
6. That outlawing abortion only will increase the size of government. Increases in birth rates for poor women and working families will lead to demands for more generous welfare benefits, government-mandated or paid childcare, stricter enforcement of child support laws and increases in the need for foster homes. Increases in sex discrimination because of employers’ concerns about unplanned pregnancies and illegal and injurious abortions will result in women demanding stricter anti-discrimination laws and women filing more sex discrimination lawsuits.
7. The waste of local, state and federal funds used to create, enforce and legally defend in court such unconstitutional laws and regulations.