Libertarians, Abortion, and Natural Rights

By Jordan Bloom

Reason held a panel last week on libertarian perspectives on abortion featuring their own Katherine Mangu-Ward and Ronald Bailey, alongside the strongly pro-life Mollie Hemingway. The video is above.

All seem to agree that viability is a sliding scale that is difficult to use as a starting point for policy. Bailey, however, isn’t ready to reject it entirely because “that is the point at which someone else can decide to take care of the entity, the baby, the fetus, or whatever you like, as opposed to imposing the burden on the woman who’s carrying the fetus to maintain.”

Mangu-Ward throws up her hands: ”At some point we have the biological distinction of birth, which I don’t think necessarily has strong moral weight but has very very strong customary weight, and that up to that point it’s essentially an individual decision.”

Ben Domenech makes the important point in yesterday’s Transom that all prominent politicians who identify themselves as libertarians—Rand Paul, Justin Amash, and Thomas Massie—are pro-life, and calls Bailey and Mangu-Ward’s views “fundamentally anti-libertarian”:


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