The NY abortion law . . . Ah, yes, another stick thrown on the fire of polarizing America even further . . . But in all seriousness, abortion has to be one of the most complicated issues in modern society, perhaps particularly for those of us, like me, who are Libertarian. As a Libertarian, I value individual freedom above all else. But when it comes to abortion whose freedom do I choose? The woman’s? Or the unborn baby’s? It’s a complex issue with no easy answers.
I haven’t been able to get this issue out of my head today so I figured I’d write about it to try to clear my brain a bit. I don’t know if anyone actually cares about my two cents on this matter but that’s not really relevant. I just need to get my own head straight.
Abortion is a topic that causes me great internal conflict, perhaps more so than any other issue. On the one hand, my gut instinct says “That’s wrong. That’s murder.” I’m sure that is largely influenced by how I was raised. On the other hand I have to think beyond just emotions & consider scenarios like rape, particularly of a minor, or cases where a pregnancy is known to be complicated by a terrible birth defect that might be fatal or cause the child to have incredibly poor quality of life. Because of those types of situations, it is my opinion that the best possible outcome is for abortion to be legal up to 20 weeks (or thereabouts) of pregnancy. This allows ample time for a woman to A. find out she’s pregnant & B. find out if there are any major birth defects. But it is also too soon in pregnancy for the baby to be viable outside of the womb. No matter the circumstances, I just can’t accept that terminating a pregnancy that is past the point of viability is anything other than murder. Some say it’s to save the life of the mother, but I can’t think of a single medical scenario in which the mother’s life would be saved by an abortion but NOT by an emergency C-section. So that argument doesn’t sit well with me.
Now, I know many of my more conservative friends & family may be thinking I’m a heathen for saying abortion should be legal at all. Trust me, I don’t LIKE abortion. I think as a society we should do everything in our power to educate women (& men- after all it takes two to tango) about birth control & generally try to PREVENT women from getting into situations in which they would even consider abortion in the first place. Obviously birth defects are beyond our control. But many, probably most, abortions are done because of social/emotional concerns & these are things over which we CAN control.
Of course some may say “Well, abortion should only be legal in cases of rape.” I can see the mindset behind that argument but I disagree because such a law might incentivize women to claim rape in cases of unwanted pregnancies even when they actually weren’t raped. Not to mention, even if they were truly raped, it’s not always possible to prove it.
Abortion is much like drugs & prostitution. I do not LIKE these things. I think they are UNWISE choices. But I don’t think they should be ILLEGAL. (Now as a drug user if you steal from others to get money for drugs or ignore your children because of using drugs, then that is a whole other story. But the drugs themselves needn’t be illegal. But that is a whole other blog post.) As a Libertarian, I see a difference between what is UNETHICAL/UNWISE & what should actually be ILLEGAL. So as much as I don’t like abortion & would much prefer that women who find themselves with unwanted pregnancies would give their babies up for adoption, I think the most logical answer is to make it legal- BUT only up to the point of viability. After that I just can’t see it as anything other than murder.
Of course it’s always possible that I’m just crazy. But this is the only logical conclusion I can see to this extremely sensitive subject. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. In fact, I expect most won’t. But this a middle ground that I think our society would do well to consider.