The Abortion Question

Abortion deeply divides our nation into two ideological camps: pro life on the Right and pro choice on the Left. Belay that! The abortion question divides our major factions from within and muddies up the political waters. Consider:

  • Abortion predominantly kills defective children and the children of the irresponsible – future welfare recipients. Sounds rather convenient for rich Republicans.
  • Pro life ideology says the law can force one human to take care of another, rather like taxes for welfare. Strikes me as a modern liberal position.

And if you go back to the days of Nixon and before, you will find Republicans taking the pro choice position and Democrats decrying legal abortion. The Democratic Party was once the home of devout Catholics and God fearing farmers and factory workers. The New Left takeover of 1972 has mixed things up. Today, the Democratic Party is becoming the home of billionaires and brie-nibbling NPR listeners and the Republican Party is becoming the party of Joe Six Pack.

The abortion question tears apart alternative ideologies as well. For example, Libertarians believe freedom starts with owning your own body, and so the Objectivists, the Libertarian Party and the Cosmopolitans at Reason Magazine take the pro choice position. Libertarians also believe it is wrong to initiate force against another, and abortion, if murder, is force initiation at its most extreme. And so Ron Paul and the Paleolibertarians who congregate at and the Ludwig von Mises Institute are strongly pro life. Harsh words have been exchanged between the camps.

And if I ever get that Upper Left political party off the ground, I expect it too will be deeply split on this question. If either side of the debate manages to get their position into the platform, I expect said party to be stillborn, as it were. If (and it is a big if at this point) I ever do try to get this project going, I will endeavor mightily to keep the issue out of the platform entirely and leave the issue to the individual candidates.

I’d be tempted to leave it at that and stay away from this contentious issue save for a thorny problem: continued legal abortion could lead to the end of the human race as we know it well before humans get to enjoy the good ideas on this site. So without addressing the abortion question, all the rest may well be moot. And so I dive in.

But let me start with several hat tips to the pro choice camps. Laws against abortion will indeed have limited effectiveness; operationally speaking, we are looking at something akin to a victimless crime law. Furthermore, laws against abortion can lead to a dangerous slippery slope. Just how much do we regulate pregnancy to defend the unborn? Full personhood for the unborn entails legal problems. But lack of personhood for the unborn will lead soon to a new slippery slope leading to some horrifying dilemmas. A slippery slope is a sunk cost. Soon the latter slope will be the worse.

So while I think abortion should be illegal save under some restricted circumstances, I do recognize that any criminalization must be preceded by other measures to reduce the incidence of abortion first. This is a matter of both practicality and political realism. After I make my case against legal abortion, I will then proceed to options to reduce abortion without bringing in the police, as even the best arguments will take time to sink in, and even most of today’s pro life advocates are squeamish about truly treating abortion as a criminal act.

And finally, we’ll have a look at ways around Roe v. Wade. But this is an endgame concern. First, we must convince more liberals that the pro choice position is incorrect. And so we begin with some liberal arguments against legal abortion, starting with a very secular, socioeconomic argument inspired by science fiction

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