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Is Abortion Liberal?

May 16th, 2009 by Matt

A submission to The Christian Libertarian Blog Carnival.

Laws permitting abortion on demand are often deemed to be liberal. Political liberals are frequently ardent defenders of such laws. My contention is that support for abortion on the grounds of liberality is mistaken. I argue for this position in a two part series:

Is Abortion Liberal? Part 1

Is Abortion Liberal? Part 2

RELATED POSTS:
Sentience Part 1
Sentience Part 2
Viability
Abortion and Child Abuse
Abortion and Brain Death: A Response to Farrar
Abortion and Capital Punishment: No Contradiction
During, Sherwin & Hutchison on Backstreet Abortion
Imposing Your Beliefs onto Others: A Defence
Boonin’s Defense of the Sentience Criterion: A Critique Part I
Boonin’s Defense of the Sentience Criterion: A Critique Part II

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22 responses so far ↓

  • Hi Mand M,
    Francis Schaefer is a great Libertarian Christian who argued against legal abortion.
    Check out his book ‘A Christian Manifesto’.
    Please remember PC of Not PC does not speck for all Libertarians or all members of the Libz party but for the atheist cult of Ayn Rands Objectivism and there is a huge difference.
    Objectivists make such absurd claims that a fetus is not a human being.
    Myself, Tim Wikiriwhi am a Christian Libertarian and member of the Libz and personally oppose abortion as evil and a type of murder yet cannot see how it can be banned in a fee society because my beliefs are based upon my personal religion…just as PCs sub-human fetus is based upon his Atheism.
    We are at a stand off.
    In a Libertarian society that sovereignty of the woman will be upheld but As a Libertarian Christian I can fight to stop the State performing abortions which will seriously reduce the body count and stop Taxpayers like myself from being forced to finance infanticide.

    And in my book even if we as libertarians must accept the sad fact that cannot impose our Christian values upon others and save all the children, we know we are free to speak out against abortion and to promote the Gospel of grace which is the only real solution.
    This is not an age ‘of the kingdom’ where Jewish law is to be enforced!
    If men don’t want their children aborted they had better pick a mate who holds godly values!
    It is a age of the gospel of grace and freedom from pharisaic laws…an age of Libertarian self reliance living peacefully with all men.
    Finally I know God will be the final judge and all the abortionist will be called to his court.
    I have written a lot of Christian Libertarian stuff in arguments against PC, Dawkins Darwin and Rand over the years. PC has banned me from his blog!
    Real man of free speech. Ha ha!
    He is a friend though we hate each others religious bollocks!
    Tim Wikiriwhi.
    Dispensational King James Bible believing Libertarian Christian.

    Recent blog post: The site … does not match member ID7586

  • Tim, you said:

    “[I] personally oppose abortion as evil and a type of murder yet cannot see how it can be banned in a fee society because my beliefs are based upon my personal religion.”

    From one libertarian Christian to another, that is absolute bollocks.

    abortion is either right or wrong – whether it should be banned or not has as much to do with your beliefs as does the price of fish.

  • Tim, you said:

    “[I] personally oppose abortion as evil and a type of murder yet cannot see how it can be banned in a fee society because my beliefs are based upon my personal religion.”

    From one libertarian Christian to another, that is absolute bollocks.

    abortion is either right or wrong – whether it should be banned or not has as much to do with your beliefs as does the price of fish.

    Recent blog post: Gimme a Break…

  • Hi MandM,
    Excellent article thanks Matt, well argued.
    …however the links don’t work.

    Recent blog post: 500th Post

  • Thanks for pointing that out Andy, I have fixed them.

    Recent blog post: Tuesday Night: The Moral Cosmological Argument

  • Tim Wikiriwhi, you wrote: “[I] personally oppose abortion as evil and a type of murder yet cannot see how it can be banned in a fee society because my beliefs are based upon my personal religion…just as PCs sub-human fetus is based upon his Atheism.
    We are at a stand off.”
    If abortion is homicide, the killing of a human being with moral status, then it offends the harm principle and the state should legislate against it. This is a fact claim, like Andy says it is either right or wrong; the fact of homicide is not a religious claim.

    Further, the fact that you might take that view because of your religion does not detract from the facts. Further, why is your set of beliefs any less valid in policy decision making than PC’s atheism? Why can an atheist assert his views onto society but a theist cannot? If each are just sets of views the holder has good grounds for thinking are correct then why can’t the holder bring them into public life? Who gets to decide that the correct view is atheism? The majority? Isn’t that kinda collectivist?

    You also wrote:“In a Libertarian society that sovereignty of the woman will be upheld…

    Why? I too an fairly libertarian but nothing I have read in Rand or Mises or anywhere else says that women’s sovereignty enables them to get away with killing people. The harm principle applies to all. While a woman, like a man, is free to do whatever she pleases with her body, no matter how stupid, her bodily sovereignty is limited at the point her choices cause harm to another person.

    The question again returns to the assumption made by many libertarians, particularly objectivists, that the fetus is not a person. However, assuming that something is the case is not evidence and neither is it sound argument.

    Have some faith in your convictions and stand against the sloppy reasoning being advanced by many in libertarian circles. 🙂

    Recent blog post: Bullying Update

  • Andy,
    You cannot give social/political rights to the unborn. Until birth they are not citizens, not part of the social contract which is between local Men, not Man and God or any other combination. God himself recognizes men in the womb, and as Christians we recognize Gods sovereignty but we do not live in his kingdom and so the unborn are not protected by our social conventions of Law.
    The unborn are not part of our society any more than folk in Timbuktu. They pay no taxes nor contribute to the maintenance of our society nor are they legally protected whilst abroad.
    It is not the purpose of Law or the duty of our government to investigate all murders, at all times, and places.
    Our Laws don’t carry that sort of universal authority and it is silly to try and make them so.
    Political life is a limited membership and begins at registration of birth. This is when the State gets involved.
    Many die before or at birth and will never have entered the political arena.

    The nature of the social democratic beast is to keep writing new laws and to accrue more power to itself, especially when on moral crusades. Anti abortion laws are the start of an entirly new body of tyrannical law deemed necessary to protect unborn children from their mothers.
    You have opened Pandoras box!
    Having thrown out the sovereignty of woman over her own body as a fundamental obstacle to your legislative bent, and assuming you hold the usual anti abortion stance Why should your arbitrary declaration of conception be the demarcation point on humanity?
    If you give rights to the unborn, Does Onanism or using contraceptives constitute forms of abortion?…do viable human sperm and ova have rights as Potential Humans?
    Is it just to deny the woman so many of her basic rights for the sake of the so-called rights of her unborn children?
    Should smoking drinking pregnant women be criminalized?
    Is it ok to put Pregnant woman in Jail…are you not jailing an innocent for the sake of the guilty?
    Should every miscarriage be investigated as a possible murder or motherly manslaughter?
    Is abortion necessarily evil in all cases?
    Who judges?
    Do you include handicapped unborns as having rights with the healthy?
    What about a woman’s right to abort severely handicapped unborn?
    Is a Mother being uncaring when she chooses such a course of action when faced with this terrible situation?
    Is it being Humane to ban such abortions, or the results of rape and incest?
    Would you grant consent for any abortions at all and if so why?

    The reality is Human Government and Law cannot solve all our woes, nor save all the children.
    It can be a very oppressive tool in the hands of a religious lynch mob.
    The Principle of Individual sovereignty is a corollary of the principle of equality before the Law and so cannot be overridden without destroying the principle of Legal equality.
    Men and Woman are different but equal.
    Men are Sovereign over their bodies as are woman over theirs.
    Men control childbirth by carefully protecting their seed and carefully choosing a wife.
    That is his self responsibility, and duty to God.
    He has total control over himself and his seed.
    A Woman’s control over her own pregnancy is self evident and total.
    God has made the life and death of the unborn child the prerogative/ moral responsibility of the woman not the Man.
    No Law of man can change the nature of things!
    God could have made woman lay eggs sharing the burden of responsibility of incubation between both parents as is common in the bird kingdom. This would put gestation outside the woman’s body and so would not present us with the same set of dilemmas as we face.
    But God did not so choose, and there is little we can do about it!
    Denying the principle of Individual sovereignty over our own bodies is the beginning of the end of Christian liberty. Passing Bad laws that transgress these fundamentals of justice is unforgivable.

    Do all innocent children go to heaven? The irony is that most of these aborted children have been saved from hell as they were […]

  • Tim

    I find your arguments unpersuasive.

    1. First, you caricature my position as opposing abortion because I “personally find repugnant due to our personal religion…” but that’s false I oppose it because I believe its homicide, this is the same reason I oppose killing infants or killing adults actions no libertarian seems to have a problem outlawing.

    2. I agree that we should not advocate for the “legal suppression of unbelievers” and that “The state can never become an extension of our means of practicing our faith! “ I agree unfortunately I never argued for that, what I argued was that the state should suppress homicide wether practised by a believer or unbeliever.

    3. You suggest that abortion “cannot be banned in a free society without serious encroachments upon the rights of Woman over their own bodies” but that is precisely what I disputed in my post, simply repeating a conclusion I have argued against is not a response. As I noted, on libertarian grounds a women has a right to do what she likes with her own body. She does not have a right to destroy other people’s bodies without their consent. A fetus is not part of a women’s body, its another person. Hence laws against abortion do not restrict a women’s rights.

    4. You claim “It is only when abortion is Legal can a Christian woman claim any virtue by abstaining from it by choice. If it is Illegal then it is no virtue to abstain from it” this argument however applies to any action including infanticide and killing adults. If killing new born babies is illegal then parity of reasoning would suggest that there is no virtue in refraining from it. Does it follow infanticide should be allowed?
    5. You state “This is how the CCS Missionaries eradicated Cannibalism here back in the 1800s …By appealing to Christ and Moses, not by passing laws and then executing a persecution. We are agents of Gods grace not a Taleban that throws stones at harlots and infidels. “ Two things, first I am not advocating stoning infidels or harlots I simply said homicide should be illegal. Second, while what you say about cannibalism is true, I am not talking about eating a dead body, I am talking about homicide killing a human being, and when missionaries have encountered cultures where homicide was permitted they have done more than preach. India is an example, in India the religious cultural mores of some permitted them to burn a mans wife when he died, missionaries did not just preach against this they made it illegal. To say “I think people should be free to choose to kill another’s wife” is absurd and it’s not less absurd when it’s a person’s child as opposed to another’s wife

    Recent blog post: Tooley, Plantinga and the Deontological Argument from Evil Part I

  • Tim

    I find your arguments unpersuasive.

    1. First, you caricature my position as opposing abortion because I personally find repugnant due to our personal religion… but that’s false I oppose it because I believe its homicide, this is the same reason I oppose killing infants or killing adults actions no libertarian seems to have a problem outlawing.

    2. I agree that we should not advocate for the legal suppression of unbelievers and that The state can never become an extension of our means of practicing our faith!“ I agree unfortunately I never argued for that, what I argued was that the state should suppress homicide whether practised by a believer or unbeliever.

    3. You suggest that abortion “cannot be banned in a free society without serious encroachments upon the rights of Woman over their own bodies” but that is precisely what I disputed in my post, simply repeating a conclusion I have argued against is not a response. As I noted, on libertarian grounds a women has a right to do what she likes with her own body. She does not have a right to destroy other people’s bodies without their consent. A fetus is not part of a women’s body, its another person. Hence laws against abortion do not restrict a women’s rights.

    4. You claim “It is only when abortion is Legal can a Christian woman claim any virtue by abstaining from it by choice. If it is Illegal then it is no virtue to abstain from it” this argument however applies to any action including infanticide and killing adults. If killing new born babies is illegal then parity of reasoning would suggest that there is no virtue in refraining from it. Does it follow infanticide should be allowed?

    5. You state “This is how the CCS Missionaries eradicated Cannibalism here back in the 1800s …By appealing to Christ and Moses, not by passing laws and then executing a persecution. We are agents of Gods grace not a Taleban that throws stones at harlots and infidels. “ Two things, first I am not advocating stoning infidels or harlots I simply said homicide should be illegal. Second, while what you say about cannibalism is true, I am not talking about eating a dead body, I am talking about homicide killing a human being, and when missionaries have encountered cultures where homicide was permitted they have done more than preach. India is an example, in India the religious cultural mores of some permitted them to burn a mans wife when he died, missionaries did not just preach against this they made it illegal. To say “I think people should be free to choose to kill another’s wife” is absurd and it’s not less absurd when it’s a person’s child as opposed to another’s wife.

    Recent blog post: Tooley, Plantinga and the Deontological Argument from Evil Part I

  • I agree unborn children cannot be part of a social contract as they are incapable of entering into valid contracts. The problem is the same is true of new born infants, young children, mentally impaired adults; none of them can enter into valid contracts either. Yet oddly libertarians don’t claim people are free to kill infants, or mentally impaired adults if they choose, so this seems like special pleading here.

    2 The unborn are not part of our society any more than folk in Timbuktu. They pay no taxes nor contribute to the maintenance of our society nor are they legally protected whilst abroad. Yes, and new born infants do not pay taxes, do not contribute to the maintenance of our society and are not protected when abroad. Hence, by this reasoning, parents should be allowed to kill new born infants if they choose to. But libertarians don’t support this because they recognise this is homicide.

    3. Political life is a limited membership and begins at registration of birth. This is when the State gets involved. Many die before or at birth and will never have entered the political arena. I see a person has rights when the state registers them, that seems a very odd position for a libertarian to take. Suppose the state has a convention of not registering people until a year after birth, what if they choose not to register ethnic minorities?

    4. Having thrown out the sovereignty of woman over her own body as a fundamental obstacle to your legislative bent, and assuming you hold the usual anti abortion stance Why should your arbitrary declaration of conception be the demarcation point on humanity? If you give rights to the unborn, Does Onanism or using contraceptives constitute forms of abortion?…do viable human sperm and ova have rights as Potential Humans?
    Is it just to deny the woman so many of her basic rights for the sake of the so-called rights of her unborn children?
    This assumes that (i) attributing humanity to the unborn is arbitrary and (ii) that laws against abortion contradict the sovereignty of a women over her own body. I actually address both these claims in my post and argued against them. Hence the point is irrelevant.

    5 Should smoking drinking pregnant women be criminalized? actually you face this question regardless of your stance on abortion. Because smoking while pregnant effects children after they are born. Suppose I put poison onto my neighbour’s water supply ground and three years latter a two year old dies from cancer as a result. I am guilty of homicide despite the fact that the performed the action before the child came into existence. Hence, even if one grants that fetus are not humans until, if a women smokes before birth and as a result the child that is born is harmed then that still is assault. So I fail to see any difficulty here that’s not also a difficulty for the pro abortionist.

    Do you include handicapped unborns as having rights with the healthy? What about a woman’s right to abort severely handicapped unborn? Is a Mother being uncaring when she chooses such a course of action when faced with this terrible situation? Interesting, so disabled people have less rights than healthy people. Tell me Tim do you think that women should be able to kill disabled new born infants or disabled adults? Why not, it wouldn’t be because this is homicide would it?

    6 The reality is Human Government and Law cannot solve all our woes, nor save all the children.
    It can be a very oppressive tool in the hands of a religious lynch mob.
    agreed on both points, but no one is saying that we should have a religious lynch mob (or a secular lynch mob which history suggests is much worse) nor are we saying the state should […]

  • Tim

    1 You cannot give social/political rights to the unborn. Until birth they are not citizens, not part of the social contract which is between local Men, not Man and God or any other combination. I agree unborn children cannot be part of a social contract as they are incapable of entering into valid contracts. The problem is the same is true of new born infants, young children, mentally impaired adults; none of them can enter into valid contracts either. Yet oddly libertarians don’t claim people are free to kill infants, or mentally impaired adults if they choose, so this seems like special pleading here.

    2 The unborn are not part of our society any more than folk in Timbuktu. They pay no taxes nor contribute to the maintenance of our society nor are they legally protected whilst abroad. Yes, and new born infants do not pay taxes, do not contribute to the maintenance of our society and are not protected when abroad. Hence, by this reasoning, parents should be allowed to kill new born infants if they choose to. But libertarians don’t support this because they recognise this is homicide.

    3. Political life is a limited membership and begins at registration of birth. This is when the State gets involved. Many die before or at birth and will never have entered the political arena. I see a person has rights when the state registers them, that seems a very odd position for a libertarian to take. Suppose the state has a convention of not registering people until a year after birth, what if they choose not to register ethnic minorities?

    4. Having thrown out the sovereignty of woman over her own body as a fundamental obstacle to your legislative bent, and assuming you hold the usual anti abortion stance Why should your arbitrary declaration of conception be the demarcation point on humanity? If you give rights to the unborn, Does Onanism or using contraceptives constitute forms of abortion?…do viable human sperm and ova have rights as Potential Humans?
    Is it just to deny the woman so many of her basic rights for the sake of the so-called rights of her unborn children?
    This assumes that (i) attributing humanity to the unborn is arbitrary and (ii) that laws against abortion contradict the sovereignty of a women over her own body. I actually address both these claims in my post and argued against them. Hence the point is irrelevant.

    5 Should smoking drinking pregnant women be criminalized? actually you face this question regardless of your stance on abortion. Because smoking while pregnant effects children after they are born. Suppose I put poison onto my neighbour’s water supply ground and three years latter a two year old dies from cancer as a result. I am guilty of homicide despite the fact that the performed the action before the child came into existence. Hence, even if one grants that fetus are not humans until, if a women smokes before birth and as a result the child that is born is harmed then that still is assault. So I fail to see any difficulty here that’s not also a difficulty for the pro abortionist.

    Do you include handicapped unborns as having rights with the healthy? What about a woman’s right to abort severely handicapped unborn? Is a Mother being uncaring when she chooses such a course of action when faced with this terrible situation? Interesting, so disabled people have less rights than healthy people. Tell me Tim do you think that women should be able to kill disabled new born infants or disabled adults? Why not, it wouldn’t be because this is homicide would it?

    6 The reality is Human Government and Law cannot solve all our woes, nor save all the children.
    It can be a very oppressive tool in the hands of a religious lynch mob.
    agreed on both points, but no one is saying that we should have a religious lynch mob (or a secular lynch mob which history suggests is much worse) nor are we saying the state should […]

  • What a can of worms we are playing with here!
    I am sad you think it is plausible to criminalize pregnant woman who smoke and drink.
    This is a frightening legislative avenue!
    This is socialism not Libertarianism.
    Do you not blink at the fact that your logic turns motherhood into a dangerous liability, and literally enslaves her to her child until they leave home?
    Should it then be illegal to sell smokes and alcohol to pregnant woman? (Why dont you just say ban the lot?)
    What about those who hapless moderns who cook themselves rubbish food buying themselves videos instead of veges …yet further criminal offences I suspect?
    What about the morning after pill?
    How will you stop woman keeping their pregnancies secret and having home abortions?
    We all know such clandestine industry flourishes under prohibition and all the ghastly medical misadventure that entails!
    Will you demand an amendment to the Hippocratic oath?
    Will you compel all pregnant woman to register their pregnancies so that the state can police its laws?
    Will you introduce random pregnancy testing like random breath tests for alcohol offending?

    I dont expect answers here.

    I am thoroughly convinced the side effects of your legislative medicine are ten times worse than the disease which it cannot cure but only make much more horrific like drug prohibition.
    The problem is too delicate for such a blunt tool.
    I have written a reply to many of your other points but will refrain from posting it, unless you indicate you are keen for this discussion to continue.
    I fear overstepping my welcome.
    Thank you for a very interesting and challenging conversation.

    Tim Wikiriwhi

  • Tim, You seem to miss my point entirely, You suggested that if one accepts that a fetus is human then it follows that it should be illegal to smoke while pregnant, this is because smoking while pregnant harms fetuses. I pointed out that an analogous argument applies to infants, smoking while pregnant harms new born infants, hence if your argument were sound it would follow that one cant oppose infanticide without making smoking while pregnant illegal.

    Now you and the Libertarian party oppose infanticide (as I think you should.So my response to your post is simple, if your argument is sound then everything you say in the above comment applies to your own position, in which case I suggest you answer those questions yourself. On the other hand if you believe you can consistently oppose infanticide without falling down the slippery slope you paint above I can oppose feticide without doing so.

    Recent blog post: Video of Matthew Flannagan on Apologetics: Answering Objections to the Christian Faith

  • Yes I am sorry Matt, your scenario is another classic that I have never thought through in that form.
    My mind jumped onto another relevant point that socialist meddlers, whom deny the Libertarian principle of Private property, fresh from their legislative victory over of banning smoking in the workplace, Cafes, bars and Pubs, now busy themselves pontificating about smoking around infants at home and if they should succeed in generating more new socialist Laws in regard to infants and mothers, how that would be shortly followed by more of the same law in regard to our related subject of Smoking Pregnant woman. It could also happen the other way around as they share the same anti Individual-sovereignty rationale which both the principles of private property and Personal sovereignty over our own bodies are overturned as constitutional safeguards.
    You have a much weaker view of the importance of the principle of Individual sovereignty and as such you expand the jurisdiction of the state beyond its just limits. Your quote of John Stuat Mill is no safeguard to human freedom as harm to others is such an ambiguous notion.
    I have spasms thinking about life under the Nico-Nazi socialism being incrementally imposed the end of which must be the utter prohibition of smoking on private property on the basis of "freedom from harm".
    You share the same collectivist moral grounds when you argue that fetuses like non-smokers are people, and as such no behavior by others is tolerable that might bring them harm and so ought to be legislated against.
    Without the protection of a Libertarian constitution, this subtle Socialist quazi-right of ‘freedom from harm’ is assumed as justification for Nanny State legislation that is currently overriding any consideration of our most basic rights and liberties in the very same manor as their Quazi-rights of Indigenous peoples allows parliament to make racist laws.
    Racists want a Constitution that gives legal favoritism to Maori.
    You are prepared to have a constitution that is inclusive and prejudiced towards the rights of unborn children over the rights of their mothers.
    Today The State sponsors the mass killings and we both are appalled by this, and both seek legal remedy, yet in different directions. I seek to reduce the roll of government, you seek to increase it.
    The Libertarians seek to halt this situation without substituting one set oppressive laws for another.
    You would make it a crime for a junky woman to choose to abort her deformed baby for its own sake.
    You would force doctors to attempt to save absolutely every dysfunctional baby in the womb.
    Tell me who do you expect to carry the burden for the tragic consequences of your Regime?
    Social welfare and the taxpayer?
    Is it really the place of Human Government to make criminals of such people, or those who help loved ones die to with dignity?
    You put too much responsibility in the hands of politicians.
    I am as against suicide as I am abortion and hope myself to heroically bare out to the end, yet when the hour comes and the pain is overwhelming, who can blame or deny others the right of rejecting euthanasia for themselves? By this same terror I will not make a criminal of a woman for aborting a deformed baby.
    By its fruit your prohibition is found to be simply more socialism and any and it’s portent for increasing human misery makes it unconscionable.
    Tim Wikiriwhi.

    Recent blog post: The site … does not match member ID7586

    Recent blog post: The site … does not match member ID7586

  • Regarding your scenario Matt, I see no case for the state to prosecute a Law for the sake of a child poisoned before birth (say by Melamine ingested by an unaware mother) ,just as I see no case for banning smoking or drinking on behalf of the unborn child or infants. It is wicked to be so callous a parent, yet there is no just basis for Law from this angle.
    But Fret not! There is some legitimate legal protection and recourse to the Law in many situations upon the grounds of the unaware Mother of a poisoned unborn child and her right to make claims of wrongdoing, loss and injury, just as when a pregnant woman is assaulted and her baby dies, the prosecution has a case of extremely serious violence against the woman, both for her physical harm and personal loss which demands the requisite level of justice.
    In this way though without civil rights, the unborne are legally protected to an enormous degree by the same sort of legal concepts that protect our most cherished possessions. It is in this way that the welfare of other sentient beings can also be legally protected without giving them rights but that is a digression.
    A constitution is supposed to be the vanguard of Justice keeping meddlesome busybodies in check, not give them a free hand.
    Your position hangs on the notion that abortion is harmful / deadly towards a human being and say it is a clear case of homicide no different to all other homicides but this is not so.
    Granted there is a separate Human life in the womb, yet the legal prohibitions against all the other types of homicide actually prop up the rights of citizens and don’t involve the suppression of any whereas the Anti abortionist seek to pit the Civil rights of the woman in conflict with the Natural rights that in their view unborn babies possess. Not only this but you come out squarely in favour of the unborn baby saying superior considerations override all ‘selfish’ considerations a pregnant woman might have.
    You seek the creation of Civil rights for the unborn of such magnitude to take precedence over the current civil rights of woman.
    It is the heart of socialism to say rights of individuals are in conflict and that the duty of the state is to make legal compromises to mitigate the consequent evils as they see them.
    How different a notion of Government that is from the Libertarian who admit no conflict whatsoever between valid rights and that the Stat must be constitutionally barred from intervening in private matters and from making legal compromises with our rights!

    Nothing you have said has moved me from my Libertarian position to believe absolute anti abortion Laws would be good for anyone, even the aborted. (Would you like to be one of hundreds of thousands born to unfit mothers who wish you were dead?)
    You have problems with enforcement.
    You open the door to a whole raft of New oppressions.
    You would increase the duties of state and blow costs all the way to hell.
    You would fill our land not with churches but state orphanages.
    You reduce the rights of parents to make their own life decisions.
    We Don’t Live in a godly world and never will, this side of Human Government.
    The Law of the land is not the law of God.
    The state is not Gods inquisitor.
    You ask too much from society and thereby open the door to religious fanaticism at law.
    I will never abort any child of mine, nor will I frivolously condone it in others but will preach against it, thus as long as I have the freedom, No anti-abortion laws are needed on my behalf except constitutional prohibitions against the State performing them.
    That absolves us as Taxpayers as the source of a governments power from all responsibility without adding unjust burdens upon us that your laws would impose.
    I’m a libertarian Christian dedicated to having such a constitution as quickly as possible.
    Preach the Gospel, Not legalism!
    Tim Wikiriwhi

    Recent blog post: The site … does not match member ID7586

  • Tim, you are an inconsistent libertarian. Do you completely disregard Mill's harm principle? You say,

    "Would you like to be one of hundreds of thousands born to unfit mothers who wish you were dead?"

    However it is absolutely, categorically NOT up to any of us (survivors of abortion) to make this call.

    Instead we must ask the unborn child for her opinion on this. Oh wait, we can't ask them… So we apply reason, and err on the side of caution.

    Tim, you accuse Matt of seeking to increase the role of the government. You could not be more incorrect. Both Matt and I consider that the government has stepped outside its role. But you must agree with us that it is a Biblical principle that murder is wrong. And also that it is the State's responsibility to punish wrong and uphold good.

    Put yourself in the position of an unborn child facing an abortion Tim. Watch this video, and then tell me that you're ok with abortion.

    Recent blog post: Around the Blogs

  • "Who gets to decide that the correct view is atheism? The majority? Isn't that kinda collectivist?"

    No…it is kinda Democracy. What is the alternative to a majority making these decisions through elected officials? Some sort of elite ruling moral class? Like the Taliban? OK – that's a little emotive. But seriously. What would you suggest?

  • Andy,
    Tell me how Mills principle of harm would have saved Socrates or even Jesus?
    Only the Principle of the right to free speech would have been capible of doing that!
    Both were condemned on the principle that they were mischievous and bringing harm.
    And maybe they were!
    You cannot delegate to government an authority you don’t have yourself as a natural right, and none of us has the natural right to interfere with the pregnancy of others! That is not a law you have the right to delegate/ pass.
    Tim Wikiriwhi

    Recent blog post: The site … does not match member ID7586

  • Another possible liberal argument for abortion is the right to do what you want with your labour, including withdrawing it (eg from growing a baby). Ultimately, that's not a very satisfying argument either, and doesn't particularly capture the experience of being pregnant – but then I think liberalism as an ethical tool is of limited use in the abortion debate.

    Classical liberalism wasn't really formulated with women's lives in mind. Even those such as Mills who thought about the role of women within liberalism didn't really imagine women would have autonomy on a similar basis to men – or they assumed that, if women did have autonomy, they would still choose the path of marriage and children (ie would gain their subsistence through their husbands, rather than direct workforce participation, for example).

    In the formative days of liberalism, men had an unquestioned right to call the shots in their own homes, including decisions around the sexual activity and reproductive lives of their wives, so there was no need to invoke the rules of the liberal state to adjudicate on issues of women's reproduction. Neither women nor unborn children had full legal personhood – but they weren't thought to 'need' it, because they had husbands/fathers to make the decisions for them, and these decisions belonged firmly in the private sphere beyond the concern of the state.

    Later versions of liberalism have transferred to women almost all of the legal rights enjoyed by men, but the legal person imagined by classical liberalism was male, and was never going to be faced with sharing his body with another person for 9 months. Looking to liberalism for guidance on the abortion issue is fraught, because it involves trying to take an historically private (and male-controlled) domain and subject it to public rules. I think this may be asking liberalism to do more than it's historically set up to do.

  • "…the legal person imagined by classical liberalism was male, and was never going to be faced with sharing his body with another person for 9 months."

    Here you touch on a very important point. The only harm to a woman from a successful pregnancy is that she has to "share her body" for 9 months. The harm to an infant from aborting is death.

    So I am happy to admit that the mother does suffer something from the pregnancy – but what she suffers is:

    1) Far less than the child would suffer if she aborted it.

    2) Her own choice. She chose to put herself in a position where she might get pregnant (apart from the very rare case of a pregnancy from rape of course). No pregnancy should be a complete surprise!

    If she has got herself pregnant, then putting up with 9 months of pregnancy is still only her accepting the consequences of her own actions.

    If we say the woman can kill her child to avoid taking personal responsibility for her own actions, how on earth is that liberal? What happened to personal responsibility? What happened to the harm principle?

    Classical liberalism is still completely relevant on this issue.

    Recent blog post: Mrs Dennis is a right social moderate

  • Hi Anna, My argument is not intended to be a defense of Millian liberalism which i consider to be flawed.My point is that many who do support abortion do so on Millian grounds ( stating that women have rights to do whatever they like with their bodies for example) and my suggestion is that these grounds do not support the conclusions they think it does.

    Recent blog post: David Bain 111 Call "I Shot the Prick" – Court Decision Online

  • the legal person imagined by classical liberalism was male, and was never going to be faced with sharing his body with another person for 9 months.

    Thinking about this some more its not clear that this is as unique a situation as you suggest. Male Siamese twins for example frequently share their bodies with others now suppose it was true that there was an operation that conjoined twins could take which meant they would be separated, and the waiting list was nine months. I don’t think anyone would argue that one twin had a right to kill the other.

    Recent blog post: David Bain 111 Call "I Shot the Prick" – Court Decision Online