The Libertarian Case Against Abortion

I describe myself as a libertarian, but also a conservative. What I stress about these beliefs, and the potential perception that these two descriptions contradict each other, particularly in terms of abortion, is my personal interpretation and definition of these ideologies that I subscribe to.

As a libertarian, which would be my primary ideology, I believe in the rights of individuals to live their own life how they please, free of governmental interference, as long as they respect the inherent natural rights of other individuals. As a conservative, I recognize the societal importance of traditional values, respect and the attitudes that made the western world great. This does not mean I believe in the enforcement of these values, only that I strongly consider them a net positive to communities and nations. I think that a strong moral compass is an indispensable part of a good person, but not that laws regarding these moralities should be passed.

In light of this version of conservatism to which I belong, I can assure that my belief that abortion should be illegal is founded in no religious disposition, nor is it inspired by a moral righteousness. Therefore, based on my own stated beliefs and the principles by which I stand, my argument against abortion must be based not on legislating morality, but on the protection of the rights of an individual, which in my own mind is the only legitimate premise for the lawful restriction of an activity. My argument, therefore, relies on each of the following concurrent points: 1. That both an embryo and a fetus is a human individual. 2. That these individuals possess the same natural rights as those afforded to the born population. Followed by either of the following two: 3. That the right to property of the mother in this situation is superseded by the right to life of the baby. 4. That this situation does not represent a violation of the woman’s right to property in that a partial inferred permission has been provided by the mother.

I will explain each of these points in the following paragraphs, and detail why abortion should be illegal in almost every case. The Personhood of an Embryo There is no doubt in my mind that a baby at any stage of development is a human. It contains all 46 chromosomes, every strand of DNA and the beginnings of everything it may become. At the very earliest stage, it is a one-celled new and distinct organism and begins cell differentiation into an embryo, which constitutes a human being because its cells form a stable body, in which the unique parts work together in order to further their own development into a more mature being. This further affirms that from conception, these human cells contain all the information of a human, and actively, independently attempt progress towards birth. This means that the embryo has the same nature, and is the same kind of entity from fertilization onward; there is only a difference in the degree of maturation, not in kind, between any of the stages from an embryo, to a fetus, infant and so on. Therefore, the status of personhood being provided to all from birth, the stages from fertilization onwards constitute a person too.

Fetal Rights A fetus being a person, which is a non-subjective fact, it is a relatively small step to make that therefore these fetuses should have their natural rights as people affirmed by our legal systems. Having established that a fetus is human, any distinction in the application of human rights to them is inexcusable discrimination, these rights being denied to them because of a specific trait or status: their position inside the womb; their unconsciousness and their relative biological immaturity. An obvious comparative is the Holocaust, millions slaughtered and denied integral human rights because of a trait, except, the prevalence of abortion is worse.

Not only in terms of the numbers, but in the fact that they have absolutely no physical control over the trait for which they are being persecuted, that they have no idea about persecution or that are being persecuted against until they are murdered, and that they have no physical or strong societal defense. Fetuses have rights, primarily the right to life, and it is an abomination that they have not been legally granted them in many countries. The Right to Life over The Right To Property Having established that a fetus is an autonomous, individual human being, it is self-evidently not part of the mother’s body. It is, however, on her property, and forcing her to accept this transgression may be considered a violation of her rights. This is not true.

All rights are corollaries of the right to life. To quote Ayn Rand for a more eloquent explanation than I myself can provide, “A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)”

Whilst this does not at all imply the supremacy of the right to life over other rights, we can infer this by elaborating on these principles. If a corollary, or consequence of the right of life, itself endangers another’s right to life (In this case it is the mother’s right to property endangering her child’s right to life), by definition this threat to the child’s life must be principally backed by the mothers right to life in order for the termination to be justified, the right to property being a secondary consequence, not the primary cause. To clarify, based on the principles of libertarianism and natural rights, the mother can only decide to have her baby killed if it legitimately threatens her life, in other words, self-defense.

Anything other than this is not only morally, but factually and non-subjectively wrong. By following these consequential questions and their answers, you can clearly see why abortion is an exact equivalent to killing a human, seeing as that is what it is, and the only circumstance that prevents it from being murder, just like outside the womb, is if it is in self-defense. A Note on the Mother’s Permission The argument above however can be completely avoided by the fact that, through her partial creation of the baby, and also the creation of the baby’s reliance on herself and her property, the mother, knowing that intercourse can cause reproduction, must accept responsibility for her own child and it’s livelihood.

So, definitively, factually, the extremely large majority of abortions are murders of the most innocent and defenseless and should be lawfully recognized as such. Anti-abortion stances and legislation make as much sense and are as important as being anti-murder, simply because the two are obvious equivalents. The myths on the left of ‘reproductive rights’ and the false interpretations by libertarians of property rights need to be exposed, in order for abortion to be unequivocally condemned and outlawed for the murder that it is.

Jacob Sadler is a conservative-libertarian student and owner of the Instagram and Twitter accounts individual liberty. I love to write about the importance of freedom, socially and economically.

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