In an era of deeply polarized politics between the two major parties, the issue of abortion has remained deeply controversial. While conservatives generally stand on the side of the right to life, most liberals tend to advocate for the right for a woman to choose. While this issue continues to divide many people along party lines, it has had considerably less hold with Libertarians. While the Democrats and Republicans have waged ideological and legislative conflicts on this issue, Libertarians have found a way to remain neutral on the matter.
Not a Government Issue
For those generally unfamiliar with the doctrine behind Libertarian thinking, the idea is that thinking feeling adults have the right and ability to reason and govern their own behavior. Consequently, they believe that the government should very little say in how we each live our lives on a daily basis. Additionally, Libertarians try to examine everything objectively and scientifically, rather than falling victim to party platform lines and emotional clouding. Though not all Libertarians agree personally on the issue of abortion, they are more or less unanimously opposed to government regulation of the issue. As it has on many other critical political issues, the Libertarian Party has largely remained neutral on abortion. Like other such concerns, most Libertarians believe that the government has no place in legislating abortion.
Agree to Disagree
In Libertarian thought, many controversial or polarizing issues are seen in a more practical manner. Recognizing that some issues may never be agreed upon, even among their party members, Libertarians wish to establish neutrality on certain matters that cannot bring consensus. Though the Libertarian Party platform states a neutral and permissive stance on abortion, those within the party obviously still hold their own personal views. According to a poll of 19,600 participants on Beinglibertarian.com, 42% considered themselves to be personally pro-choice and 58% identified as pro-life.
Though this may be the case, Libertarians, as a party, have resolved to follow their own views on abortion without changing government policy. What looks like a deeply polarized and gridlocked debate compared to the state of bi-partisan politics in Washington is what actually brings Libertarians together on this and numerous other issues. Rather than clashing antlers over issues where each side has a deep and unshakable opinion, Libertarians are prone to consider how they can peacefully and respectfully disagree. In an era where Democratic and Republican political platforms seem to be carved in stone, many politicians refuse to consider ideas coming from across the aisle. As a result, few lawmakers in our time actually thoughtfully study their work or consider the individual merits of many policies and bills that are proposed on capitol hill. With such a diverse split of opinions among a group of Libertarians, it is easy to understand why they are able retain a neutral no government stance on abortion and many similar issues. One of the core defining principles of the Libertarian party has always been to minimize an individual’s regulation by government and to do our best to coexist. Libertarians operate on a sort of laissez faire social code, believing that adults have the means and right to make their own decisions.
Outlawing Things Does Not Prevent Them
Legality Ensures Safety
One of the core refrains of the Libertarian doctrine is the idea that outlawing things does not keep them from happening. Libertarians look at the results of the war on drugs and reason that it has been ineffective and even detrimental to our safety and the economy. The idea is that the decades long struggle has only emboldened and empowered illegal drug organizations and cause more violence than it has thwarted. Further, people certainly will and have continued to take drugs regardless of any laws or enforcement measures. Consequently, Libertarians reason that there is little benefit that can come from violent drug conflicts and seizure of drugs.
To apply this general conviction to an issue like abortion, Libertarians have also done their due diligence to conceptualize the debate in a pragmatic and practical manner. Regardless of personal view, Libertarians mostly agree collectively that Abortion is not something the government should regulate or preside over.
Those Libertarians identifying with the pro-choice issue do so citing principles of personal freedom and pursuit of happiness. Generally speaking, Libertarians don’t believe that the government should have any role or right in legislating based on ideas of morality. Libertarians of this bent further believe that not every abortion is the same. That is to say that a baby should not be brought into the world unconditionally, especially in cases of sexual assault, incest or other situations that would be deeply burdensome to both the mother and child.
Though some Libertarians hold personal views that oppose abortion, most are not about to impose their beliefs on others. In most cases, those in the Libertarian sphere of influence who identify as pro-life conversely oppose regulation of any sort on the practice. Though many Libertarians are staunchly opposed to abortion, they believe that they or any government do not have the right to make such a decision for everyone. Even these pro-life Libertarians believe that banning abortion would be a massive civic overreach that could set dangerous precedent for future cases.
A More Evolved Perspective
Though the Libertarian Party may have some controversial ideas and some pie in the sky ambitions, it cannot be denied that they have made careful consideration on the abortion issue. While Democrats and Republicans dig in their heels on the issue, intending to impose their views in legislation, Libertarians largely examined the issue in practical and dispassionate terms. With deeply divided issues like abortion, it becomes apparent eventually that neither major party will ever change or enlighten their perspectives on the issue. By agreeing to disagree on abortion, Libertarians agree that abortion, regardless of personal belief and practice, is a complex issue of morality that cannot rightfully be dictated by the government based on the opposition of only some of the people.
- Libertarian Party on Abortion – OnTheIssues
- 2018 Platform – LP.oprg
- Misconceptions of the Libertarian View of Abortion – Being Libertarian
- Being Libertarian Facebook Page – Being Libertarian
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