By Tom Rhodes, 2/9/2015
Life and Death, the rationale for the LPF Platform being silent on abortion.
The idea and scientific reality of being alive is a binary, black and white, issue. Something is either alive or dead not in between. You can be dying, but you're not dead yet. Politics not science has changed the definition of life. It was assumed that if a cell is taking in nutrients, expelling waste, respirating, and when mature enough or as a result of some stimulus divides, that cell is alive not dead. Multicellular organisms are alive if as a whole they are doing the same. A multicellular organism dies, some of its organs and tissues may be alive for a while longer before that organ or tissue no longer takes in nutrients, resparates, expels waste, and responds to stimuli, hence organ donation is possible from a cadaver, but the multicellular organism as a life is dead.
Scientifically not theologically, for living multicellular organisms that are not asexual, life begins once an egg is fertilized. At that point there exists a new life with distinct DNA from its mother. The fertilized egg exhibits all the markers of life, takes in nutrients, respirates, expels waste, and responds to stimuli. At that early stage of life, the stimuli it responds to are chemical, it has not yet developed the sensory organs to detect light, pressure, sound, etc. that it will have when fully developed. But it is not dead, and meets, what were before Roe v. Wade, the scientific criteria to be called alive.
The DNA of a fertilized egg, has the plans and directions for that life to develop. It may or may not survive to die of old age; it may not develop to be able to sustain itself; it can die from any of a million different things that can interrupt it's life. But until and unless it stops taking in nutrients, expelling waste, respirating, and responding to stimuli, it is alive and not dead, regardless of where in its life cycle from fertilized egg to death.
Scientifically to determine species is easy, look at the DNA. If it’s a person, it will have human DNA, if it’s a dog it with have canine DNA consistent with the specific breed, etc. etc. etc. The scientific fact is that the life of a human starts at conception, goes through many stages and ends at death. Once an human egg is fertilized, it is a distinct person who is not dead, rather alive, until it dies of natural or artificial circumstances.
The only reason there is discussion and argument over abortion is because some people not only want to have the "right" to kill other people they don’t want to feel guilty over such murder. Murder by definition means to kill another person deliberately and not in self-defense or with any other extenuating circumstance. Some people want to base the legality and feelings about murder on the value of that other living human based on that person not reaching some arbitrary stage of its natural life cycle. It’s barbaric to allow parents to murder their offspring regardless of what the current stage of their child’s life cycle.
The emotional impact of murdering another human is terrible. The idea is to lessen this emotional impact of abortion by declaring that a less developed person is not yet a life thus does not deserves the same protections as others. This is why the very definition of life and what it means to be alive has been changed. Not based on science but on emotional and political impact. Think about the rationale for the vast majority of abortions, "This life will be inconvenient and may not live in optimal circumstances so she should be killed before she costs me any more problems."
Libertarians are fond of the NAP, unless it’s inconvenient. Many libertarians are anti-abortion, but they tend to be not quite as loud as the pro-abortion crowd. They fall prey to the fallacious argument that a woman should be allowed to do with her body whatever she wants. Thinking a woman should be allowed to abort her pregnancy because it is her body. This position ignores the caveat that freedom to act as you please stops when it infringes upon the rights of another. It also ignores the elephant in the room. The new human has not committed any act of aggression against anybody, in fact she exists as the result of voluntary acts of another. The idea of abortion is the idea that you should not have to be accountable for the consequences risks you voluntarily take. Sex has many risks, including, STD’s, emotional trauma and the start of new life. Just like you can take a risk and drive too fast, you are not exempt from the consequences of that action; like not being able to make a curve and crashing. Life isn’t risk free, sex is an action with known consequences, just because you may not like the results doesn’t grant you the right to aggress against another.
What about rape? Answer is obvious but not palatable to many. Rape is a sexual assault. Like any assault it is a violation of the NAP, and as it should be, a violation of the law. Being assaulted, does that give you the right to murder you child? The rapist, not the child, is the aggressor and the one who should be held accountable; as in massive child support for life, to the mother or adoptive parents. Imagine half your earnings given to your victim for 22 years, plus the cost of medical services required as a result of your assault. That punishment would severely curtail rapists more than a couple years of being housed and fed in jail. The idea that because of one crime, murdering an innocent is legal and moral is not the hallmark of a civilized society.
Life and Death, knowing what each means, and how they relate to a civilized society is important. Whether based on science or theology, a large number of people (over half the country) believe life begins at conception. This includes a large number of Libertarians. There is no plank on abortion in the LPF Platform. The reason such a plank doesn’t exist is clear. Abortion violates the NAP, but a plank based on the scientific fact that the life cycle of a person begins at conception would ostracize a large number of libertarians who think with their emotions and cannot tolerate rationality overriding their emotional need to ameliorate suffering the consequences associated with the risks of exercising liberty. Having liberty and exercising freedom is dangerous, there are consequences to actions.
The Mission of the LPF Platform committee is to clearly present the ideas of liberty to which we as a party ascribe and expect to be held accountable. The goals of the LPF Platform committee are to develop the declaration of the LPF’s principles and aims consistent with libertarian ideas that help unify the party and clarify our direction.
Many Libertarians, just like Democrats and Republicans want the liberty and freedom to do what they want without any consequences. That is not libertarian thinking, but it is what we have to deal with. So for now the LPF Platform is silent on abortion and the LPF Platform committee will not consider any planks on the subject because such a plank would clearly violate both our mission and goals.