Abortion is something that everybody cares about. Whether women and men should have the ability to terminate pregnancy is a deeply personal issue, and chances are you’ll either feel strongly that a woman should have total control over her own body or you believe that a foetus is not part of the woman’s body and deserves its own protection.
Hi! I’m a college senior with no interest or experience in politics, but I’m taking a class which requires me to think about these things. I personally think that abortion should be illegal, but I also think I’m a Libertarian. There are good arguments for each side, but I’ve long wondered about this: why do Democrats – those folks with the donkey, who tend to support more government regulation – why do they suddenly support freedom and a woman’s right to choose when it comes to abortion? It seems out of character to me. The same thing goes on with conservatives and Republicans (those elephant folks, or right-wing, whichever you prefer), who tend to favor a bit less government intervention—but they’re all for regulating abortion. This is weird.
So, on with the investigation!
What does Hillary say about abortion?
“We’re always going to argue about abortion. It’s a hard choice and it’s controversial, and that’s why I’m pro-choice, because I want people to make their own choices.” –source
As a Libertarian, this sounds great to me at first glance. A hard choice? Arguments? Let people make their own choices? Sounds good! But abortion just isn’t that simple, hence all the arguments. It’s the only debate that I know of (shows how ill-informed I am) where one side believes that the other side is committing murder. Everything probably boils down to what personhood is believed to be. Are we allowed to terminate a nascent life form that is unable to speak, breathe, survive on its own? Are we allowed to terminate the lives of severely disabled people who have similar inabilities, because they’re very inconvenient to their caretakers? Anyway, I think abortion should be illegal (and I’m a woman, so there) but I know there are all types of terrible situations that can prove contentious. I’m still perplexed at why Hillary—Hillary for longer school hours, more-government-is-better Hillary—wants everyone to choose when it comes to abortion. Except for taxpayers. They all have to provide funds for abortion.
What does Trump say about abortion?
I really don’t know. It’s hard to tell, but the internet tells me he’s been changing his mind and that he once said that women should be subject to “some type of punishment” for having an abortion. (This was probably in an anti-abortion phase of his.) Many people are upset about this – perhaps because women often feel badly after having an abortion in the first place? But it seems reasonable to me that if someone commits an illegal activity, then they ought to be punished for it. Otherwise, for all practical purposes, the activity may as well be legal. (In this case, both the woman and whoever performed the procedure would be responsible. In fact, the procedure-performer may be more to blame.)
Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, is pretty clear about his personal opinion and his policy opinion on abortion.
“It should be left up to the woman. If my daughter were pregnant and she came to me and asked me what she ought to do, I would advise her to have the child. But I would not for a minute pretend that I should make that decision for her or any other woman.” – source
This sounds like a pretty reasonable decision, though it also seems inconsistent. Gary’s website says that he personally believes in the sanctity of life of the unborn. I would expect that that means the life is worth protecting, perhaps as much as any other human life. However, in consistency with his Libertarian viewpoint, Gary thinks that the choice of whether to abort a pregnancy remains with the woman. In effect, he is supporting Liberty up unto and including an action he personally believes is like murder.
“I support women’s rights to choose up until viability of the fetus,” Gary said. This is where he draws the arbitrary line. (Nothing against Gary personally there—we all must draw an arbitrary line somewhere with abortion, whether it’s at conception or at birth. Or, I guess if you’re really out there, you don’t have to draw a line anywhere and you can say that murder is okay. But most everyone agrees you can’t run around aborting five-year-olds, toddlers, or month-old babies.)
Gary also has a bit of a funny petition on his site: Sign to Support Life AND a Woman’s Right to Choose. To me, it looks like he’s trying to make everyone happy. A noble goal, but totally impossible with current technology . . . and culture, but that’s a different story.
How about Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate? What does she say?
“In fact, birth control should not be up to your employer, nor should vaccinations or blood transfusions or any other aspect of healthcare that might be objected to on religious grounds. Healthcare is a human right. We should be providing it now for everyone.” – source
I just learned last week (partly from a class presentation) that the Green Party wants to help the environment and generally make everything as nice as possible. (Utopia? Uh-oh…) I couldn’t find anything specific that Jill Stein said about abortion itself, but abortion is a form of birth control, and it’s pretty obvious that she thinks birth control and “healthcare” should be available to all, at the expense of all. If anyone has religious beliefs that oppose birth control, they still must provide supporting funds. (What is religious belief anyway? I think Jill’s just using “religious” as a catchall term for anyone who disagrees with her.)
What you need to know . . .
Hillary Clinton: Supports women’s right to abortion, and will probably force everyone to fund abortion.
Jill Stein: Supports women’s right to abortion, and will force everyone to fund abortion.
Donald Trump: No idea.
Gary Johnson: Freedom! Supports women’s right to abortion, but no one will be forced to fund abortion.
On abortion, it looks like Gary Johnson wins out. But! Could he match Trump in entertainment value? Find out next week!