The Libertarian Party asks: ABORTION: WHO SHOULD DECIDE?


							The Libertarian Party asks:

It is hard to imagine a more troublesome, emotional decision for a
woman than whether to end a pregnancy -- or to let it proceed and bear
a child. It is hard to imagine any decision more personal and private.
It is hard to imagine how anyone could believe he had the right to
prevent the woman from making that decision for herself.

Abortion has become a political and legal issue. The Congress, the
state legislatures and the Supreme Court have made it so. But, should
they? The question for the American people is: do you want the
government, the politicians, to be making ethical and moral decisions
for you? Do you want politicians taking control of a woman's most
private decision about what to do with her body?

All politicians can do is pass laws. If they make abortion illegal, if
they make it a crime, that means pregnant women, their doctors and
their nurses will be subject to arrest and criminal prosecution. They
will be jailed or fined. Some people even want the politicians to make
abortion into the most serious crime of all -- murder. If that were to
happen, the woman, along with her doctor and any other assistants,
might have to suffer the ultimate penalty, life in prison or death.

From past experience we know what happens when abortion is made a
crime. Women still have abortions, the law cannot prevent that, but
they are black market abortions. As in all black markets, the price
goes up, the dangers increase and the quality goes down. Many women,
especially poor women, suffer or die. Banning abortions results in more
unwanted children, more likely to be neglected or abused.

But, some have asked, isn't abortion the taking of a life, a potential
human life? Doesn't it have the right to live? The answer to that
question is found in another one: do you own yourself? Or does someone
else own you? If you own anything, including yourself, you have the
right to decide what to do with that thing. But, if others own you,
they get to decide everything you can do. You are their slave. If you
believe you own yourself, you reject the idea that any person has the
right to enslave you, or anyone else.

The fetus inside a woman's body has no right to enslave her, to force
her to be an incubator for nine months, just as I have no right to
enslave you. Even if I might die because you refuse to be my slave, I
have no right to force you to serve me. You own yourself. Only you have
the right to decide what to do with your body, energy, time, mind and
soul. That right includes the decision to end a pregnancy.

Americans believe in individual rights and personal responsibility.
Those important values are undermined when the law takes personal
decision making power away from anyone. We must oppose any attempt to
pass laws which increase government power over the individual. And that
is what laws against abortion would do.

The Libertarian Party has for many years supported the woman's right to
decide whether or not to abort her pregnancy. It is a matter of
principle, not political expediency. The government must not be allowed
to interfere with this most crucial, private decision.

At the same time, Libertarians respect the right of anyone to refuse to
pay for another's abortion. Therefore, we also hold that no tax dollars
should be spent on abortions.

Americans of good will recognize that there is no solution to the
problem of unwanted pregnancy which will satisfy everyone. The best we
can do is ask: who should have the final say? Is it to be the woman,
her loved ones and the advisers she chooses? Or is it to be the
politicians and other uninvited meddlers? The answer must be: offer
help, guidance and emotional support, but keep the clumsy hand of
government out of it. Decisions about pregnancy and parenthood are too
personal and too important for politicians.

	800-682-1776            Libertarian Party
	202-543-1988            1528 Pennsylvania Avenue SE
									Washington, DC 20003