Friday, 20 August 2010

Does opinion on abortion discriminate libertarians

Abortion is a topic that polarises people. And while there is significant variation I suspect that there is an association between conservatives and opposition to abortion on one hand and liberalism and permissibility of abortion on the other.

The state needs to make a decision about whether abortion should be addressed in law. It can make it an issue and actively oppose it, or it can decline to rule on it and thus abortion becomes theoretically permissible to a pregnant woman with access to a consenting abortionist. Refusal to legislate does not intrinsically imply that abortion is considered morally neutral; it may be considered by legislators as either amoral, or immoral but legally inconsequential.

The state could take an active position for abortion by funding it, increasing access, or by coercing and forcing pregnant women to abort against their will. I am not going to discuss these latter possibilities here other than mention that most people on any side of the debate should consider positions statist.

So the question is: since forbidding abortion requires the hand of the state to actively ban it, and/ or police it; and permitting abortion is possible with no action from the state; is opposition to allowing abortion statist? And is allowing each woman to choose her preferred pregnancy option libertarian?

No.

One could argue that those who favour women choosing are less libertarian as it coincides with their underlying preference (as per my recent post). But that is not the main problem with this issue.

The problem with this argument is that it is framed this way by people who think abortion is acceptable—morally neutral behaviour. However opposition to abortion (regardless of whether the position is correct) is based not on the desire to control what other people do with their own person and property, nor the desire to for the government to have that control. Opposition is based on the view that there is another person involved; a person that the mother does not have the right of life over. The libertarian position allows people to do what the wish with their own property (and varyingly their own person) so long that such activity does not directly negatively affect another. It is a principle of negative rights.

If the fetus is not a person, then the pro-abortion position is consistent with libertarianism. But even it that is the case, the anti-abortion position is hardly statist if the anti-abortionists do not know this. This is because their stance is not based on controlling individuals but protecting them, and protecting them from the ultimate infringement of rights—unjustifiable death. Their position is not at odds with libertarianism it is consistent with it. And if the anti-abortionists are correct about the personhood of the fetus then their libertarian fight against abortion may be one of the most important.

Until the status of the fetus is agreed to by both sides of the debate, opposition to abortion cannot be considered anti-libertarian.

2 comments:

  1. Good post.

    Personhood. It's the only answer to the abortionist.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That is primarily the problem with the debate. It is a political debate that is based off of a philosophical dilemma. Again arguing from America, when you add that this is a nation that does not base its laws off of favoring one philosophy over another, you have an even bigger problem.

    ReplyDelete

Labels

abortion (8) absurdity (1) abuse (1) accountability (2) accusation (1) adultery (1) advice (1) afterlife (6) aid (3) alcohol (1) alphabet (1) analogy (5) analysis (1) anatomy (1) angels (1) animals (10) apologetics (41) apostasy (4) archaeology (22) architecture (1) Ark (1) Assyriology (11) astronomy (5) atheism (14) audio (1) authority (4) authorship (10) aviation (1) Babel (1) beauty (1) behaviour (4) bias (6) Bible (38) biography (4) biology (5) bitterness (1) blasphemy (2) blogging (12) blood (2) books (2) brain (1) browser (1) bureaucracy (3) business (5) calendar (5) cannibalism (2) capitalism (3) carnivory (2) cartography (1) censorship (1) census (2) character (2) charities (1) children (14) Christmas (4) Christology (8) chronology (46) church (4) civility (2) clarity (5) Classics (2) climate change (39) coercion (1) community (2) conscience (1) contentment (1) context (2) conversion (3) copyright (5) covenant (1) coveting (1) creation (1) creationism (36) criminals (8) critique (2) crucifixion (12) Crusades (1) culture (4) currency (1) death (5) debate (2) deception (2) definition (15) deluge (9) demons (3) depravity (6) design (9) determinism (24) discernment (4) disciple (1) discipline (2) discrepancies (2) divinity (1) divorce (1) doctrine (4) duty (3) Easter (7) ecology (3) economics (28) education (10) efficiency (2) Egyptology (9) elect (2) emotion (2) enemy (1) energy (6) environment (4) epistles (2) eschatology (6) ethics (36) ethnicity (5) Eucharist (1) eulogy (1) evangelism (2) evil (8) evolution (13) examination (1) exegesis (21) Exodus (1) faith (22) faithfulness (1) fame (1) family (4) fatherhood (2) feminism (1) food (3) foreknowledge (4) forgiveness (4) formatting (2) fraud (1) freewill (29) fruitfulness (1) gematria (4) gender (5) genealogy (10) genetics (5) geography (3) geology (2) globalism (2) glory (6) goodness (3) gospel (3) government (18) grace (9) gratitude (2) Greek (4) happiness (2) healing (1) health (7) heaven (1) Hebrew (4) hell (2) hermeneutics (4) history (21) hoax (5) holiday (5) holiness (4) Holy Spirit (3) honour (1) housing (1) humour (34) hypocrisy (1) ice-age (2) idolatry (4) ignorance (1) image (1) inbox (2) inerrancy (16) information (10) infrastructure (2) insight (2) inspiration (1) integrity (1) intelligence (3) interests (1) internet (3) interpretation (74) interview (1) Islam (4) judgment (19) justice (23) karma (1) kingdom of God (12) knowledge (15) language (3) lapsology (6) law (17) leadership (2) libertarianism (12) life (2) linguistics (13) literacy (2) literature (17) logic (27) love (3) lyrics (9) manuscripts (11) marriage (17) martyrdom (2) mathematics (10) matter (4) measurement (1) media (2) medicine (10) memes (1) mercy (3) Messiah (5) miracles (4) mission (1) monotheism (2) moon (1) murder (5) nativity (7) natural disaster (1) naval (1) numeracy (1) oceanography (1) offence (1) orthodoxy (3) orthopraxy (4) paganism (2) palaeontology (4) paleography (1) parable (1) parenting (2) Passover (1) patience (1) peer review (1) peeves (1) perfectionism (2) persecution (2) perseverance (1) pharaohs (5) philanthropy (1) philosophy (32) photography (2) physics (18) physiology (1) plants (3) poetry (2) poison (1) policing (1) politics (30) poverty (9) prayer (2) pride (2) priest (3) priesthood (2) prison (2) privacy (1) productivity (2) progress (1) property (1) prophecy (6) proverb (1) providence (1) quiz (8) quotes (419) rebellion (1) redemption (1) reformation (1) religion (2) repentance (1) requests (1) research (1) resentment (1) resurrection (4) revelation (1) review (4) revival (1) revolution (1) rewards (2) rhetoric (2) sacrifice (4) salt (1) salvation (26) science (43) sermon (1) sexuality (16) sin (15) sincerity (1) slander (1) slavery (5) socialism (4) sodomy (1) software (4) solar (1) song (2) sovereignty (15) space (1) sport (1) standards (6) statistics (13) stewardship (5) sublime (1) submission (5) subsistence (1) suffering (5) sun (1) survey (1) symbolism (1) tax (3) technology (12) temple (1) testimony (5) theft (2) trade (3) traffic (1) tragedy (1) translation (15) transport (1) Trinity (2) truth (25) typing (1) typography (1) vegetarianism (2) vice (1) video (10) warfare (7) water (2) wealth (9) weird (6) willpower (4) wisdom (4) work (10) worldview (3)