Excerpts from a statement yesterday by Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle:
Most who refer to themselves as pro-life believe that the fetus becomes an individual endowed with full rights at the moment of conception. Most of those who call themselves pro-choice believe that an individual entitled to rights does not exist at least until there is a functional brain, capable of consciousness, which most scientists place somewhere between 22 and 26 weeks.
Regardless of one’s view on this matter, however, we should all be able to agree that a pregnant woman is an individual with rights. And that includes the right to make often-difficult decisions concerning her own body.
One provision of the recent modification to Arizona law prohibits the termination of a pregnancy once 20 weeks have passed from the start of the woman’s last menstrual period before fertilization. After that, abortion is permitted only in medical emergencies threatening the mother’s health.
This provision is more of an insult to women than a substantive restriction, since nearly 99% of all abortions already take place before the end of 20 weeks, while virtually all remaining abortions DO involve protecting the mother’s health. Arizona might as well have passed a law prohibiting mothers from waterboarding their infant children for all its relevance to the actual behavior of these women. There is no need to place any time restriction: pregnant women have historically shown they can be trusted not to engage in the apocryphal ninth-month abortion for convenience.
The LP National Convention will in early May consider its Platform Committee’s two proposed changes to the LP abortion plank:
Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration. We welcome both pro-life and pro-choice members into the Libertarian Party. [adopted 9-4-0] Taxpayer funds should not be used to pay for abortions. [adopted 13-0-0]
The convention will also consider a minority report that would change the plank to this:
Recognizing that when human rights begin is a sensitive issue on which Libertarians can disagree in good faith, we believe that government should not restrict, subsidize, or dictate the decision to begin or end one’s pregnancy.