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IPFS News Link • Pro-life/Pro Choice

Abortion for Libertarians

• By Erwin J. Haas MD MBA

There are no convenient answers so we spare ourselves the labor of thinking and ignore the issue. Political Libertarians say that it would split the party and it never comes up at meetings. Libertarian sites or books are silent.

The major parties are entrenched in intractable moral positions and strife between them will continue indefinitely.

We libertarians should not import the battles of the major parties. We can derive a reasonable position on abortion from the work of Bruno Leoni (1913-1967), an Italian lawyer who explained the advantages of common law to libertarians. His 1961 book, "Freedom and the Law." is a priceless tool to analyze the relation of the citizen to law and liberty. Leoni was a friend of von Mises and of von Hayek and served for a while as the president of the Pelerin society.

Leoni analyzed legislator-generated law like that which we use in the USA or what he had learned in Fascist Italy. Legislators and "leaders" make laws that control the population.  These laws are orchestrated by majorities in legislatures as a quick solution to society's ills by individuals who have no knowledge of the issues involved. They are almost always inspired by special interests who hope to benefit from the laws.  As written they often extend to areas that were not part of the original purpose of the legislation so impacting individuals who have no interest in the subject.  These concoctions are unpredictable in their timing and impact. In democracies these laws often purport to "make people's lives better" in an attempt to influence voters. The law abruptly imposes demands on everyone in the realm. Legislated law does not present any solution to any particular case and it usually needs to be amended creating even more uncertainty. (The processes that make laws forbidding abortions could just as easily pass –for instance– forcing disagreeable women to have terminations.) There are victors and victims of legislated law. The losers can appeal to the courts for judicial relief, but then many judges impose their own legislative fantasies. Leoni emphasizes the bane effect that legislated laws with their lack of predictability have on individual freedom. In our modern society there are too many laws and everyone is a criminal.