Photo by Carol Moore
Few topics evoke such heated emotions and angry disputes as the legality of abortion, generally permitted in the United States since the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, and affirmed by the 1992 ruling Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
For libertarians, the issue can be particularly difficult. Two bedrock principles – that everybody has the right to control their own body, and that the state should prevent and punish acts of aggression – seem to come into conflict. This tension is reflected in the Libertarian Party’s platform plank on abortion, which acknowledges “that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides.”
That doesn’t stop the party from taking a firmly pro-choice stance, continuing: “We believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.
A change, or a removal, or status quo, for the party’s pro-choice plank?
Whether or not the party’s position on abortion should be changed, or simply done away with, is the subject of ongoing dispute within the party. At the 2016 national convention, the delegates overwhelmingly shot down an effort by anti-abortion members to delete the party’s platform plank.