Being pro-life is necessary to defend liberty

by Ron Paul, M.D. (Paul, an obstetrician, was the Libertarian Party candidate for President in 1988 and currently serves as a member of Congress, R-TX)

Pro-life libertarians have a vital task to perform: to persuade the many abortion-supporting libertarians of the contradiction between abortion and individual liberty; and, to sever the mistaken connection in many minds between individual freedom and the "right" to extinguish individual life.

Libertarians have a moral vision of a society that is just, because individuals are free. This vision is the only reason for libertarianism to exist. It offers an alternative to the forms of political thought that uphold the power of the State, or of persons within a society, to violate the freedom of others. If it loses that vision, then libertarianism becomes merely another ideology whose policies are oppressive, rather than liberating.

We expect most people to be inconsistent, because the beliefs are founded on false principles or on principles that are not clearly stated or understood. They cannot apply their beliefs consistently without contradictions becoming glaringly apparent. Thus, there are both liberals and conservatives who support conscription of young people, the redistribution of wealth, and the power of the majority to impose its will on the individual.

Libertarian's support for abortion is not merely a minor misapplication of principle, as if one held an incorrect belief about the Austrian theory of the business cycle. The issue of abortion is fundamental, and therefore an incorrect view of the issue strikes the very foundations of all beliefs.

Libertarians believe, along with the Founding fathers, that every individual has inalienable rights, among which are the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Neither the State, nor any other person, can violate those rights without committing an injustice. But, just as important as power claimed by the State to decide WHAT rights we have, is the power to decide WHICH of us has rights.

Today, we are seeing a piecemeal destruction of individual freedom. And in abortion, the statists have found a most effective method of obliterating freedom: obliterating the individual. Abortion on demand is the ultimate State tyranny; the State simply declares that certain classes of human beings are not persons and therefore not entitled to the protection of the law. The State protects the "right" of some people to kill others, just as courts protected the "property rights" of slave masters in their slaves. Moreover, by this method the State achieves a goal common to all totalitarian regimes: it sets us against each other, so that our energies are spent in the struggle between State-created classes, rather than in freeing all individuals from the State.

The more one strives for the consistent application of an incorrect principle, the more horrendous the results. Thus, a wrong-headed libertarian is potentially very dangerous. Libertarians who act on a wrong premise seem to be too often willing to accept the inhuman conclusions of the argument, rather than question their premises.

[Some] support the "right" of a woman to remove an unwanted child from her body (i.e. her property) by killing and then expelling him or her. Therefore, they have consistently concluded that any property owner has the right to kill anyone on their property, for any reason. Such conclusions should make libertarians question the premises from which they are drawn.

We must promote a consistent vision of liberty because freedom is whole and cannot be alienated, although it can be abridged by the unjust action of the State or those who are powerful enough to obtain their own demands. Our lives, also, are a whole from the beginning at fertilization until death. To deny any part of liberty, or to deny liberty to any particular class of individuals, diminishes the freedom of all. For libertarians to support such an abridgment of the right to live free is unconscionable.