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Libertarian Positions Drive Kansas Pro-Choice Vote

The Kansas State Legislature presented voters there with a referendum, a state constitutional amendment that would allow the state legislature to ban abortion.  Currently the Kansas state constitution precludes such legislation.

The voters rejected the referendum, 375,850 Yes to 538,410 No (41% to 59%)

How were voters convinced to say ‘no’?  A major component was orthodox libertarian messaging.  We quote from a Washington Post report as digested at Political Wire:

Said organizer Jae Gray: “We definitely used messaging strategies that would work regardless of party affiliation. We believe every Kansan has a right to make personal health-care decisions without government overreach — that’s obviously a conservative-friendly talking point. We were not just talking to Democrats.”

Josh Barro notes that one very effective ad that ran doesn’t even mention abortion, instead it emphasizes that the proposed constitutional amendment would lead to “a strict government mandate designed to interfere with private medical decisions.”

Some readers will recall claims that 2022 changes to the Party National Platform made the party more open to anti-abortion-leaning Americans.  Perhaps not by intent, the platform changes sponsored by the Libertarian Party’s Mises Caucus actually greatly strengthen the Libertarian Party’s pro-choice position.

First, the platform plank

“1.5 Abortion 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.”

was deleted from the platform. That change eliminated the first clause of the sentence, which created the false belief that the plank was to be taken less seriously than the remainder of the platform.

Second, there was an extended addition to platform plank 2.1 Aggression, Property, and Contract, the addition’s opening reading:

“Aggression is the use, trespass against, or invasion of the borders of another person’s owned resource (property) without the owner’s consent; or the threat thereof. We oppose all acts of aggression as illegitimate and unjust, whether committed by private actors or the state.

Each person is the presumptive owner of his or her own body (self-ownership), which right may be forfeited only as a consequence of committing an act of aggression.”

This statement is the strict 100% pro-choice position that no abortion restrictions whatsoever are valid, because they deny self-ownership.

 

 

12 Comments

  1. dL dL August 7, 2022

    Pro-life libertarian is an oxymoron. That being said, I’m not a fan of the extended addition to platform plank 2.1. For one, I loathe the misuse of the term “borders.” A border is a delineation of a political jurisdiction. We call this an imaginary line. A delineation of private property or personal space is not an imaginary line. It’s called a boundary. This “border” conflation with “boundary” was introduced by Hans Hoppe in his paper on argumentation ethics, and it has allowed dimwits to equate crossing an imaginary line with trespassing private property or violating personal spaces.

    Secondly, self-ownership is never forfeited. That last wording actually justifies any arbitrary usurpation of bodily autonomy based on spurious claims of aggression. A pro-lifer would say terminating an embryo is an act of aggression that forfeits ones’ bodily autonomy. A bordertarian would say crossing an imaginary line is an act of aggression that forfeits the crosser’s self-ownership from being violated by border control. A vaccinetarian would say failing to be masked and vaccinated is an act of aggression that forfeits one’s freedom from forced vaccination to participate in public life. A MADD acolyte would say drinking and driving forfeits one’s freedom from being detained by the police and having forced blood draws to determine guilt. A law and order blowhard would say committing a certain class of crimes forfeits one’s freedom from being lethally injected by the state. And on and on and on.

  2. Ned Kelley Ned Kelley August 5, 2022

    Libertarians in Kansas were quite divided on this issue. The majority of LPKS candidates were in favor of the constitutional amendment. Based on debate and discussions held at our state convention back in April half or more of our membership was in favor of the amendment. Yet a handful of our Executive Committee members, well-intended but misguided, decided to pass a resolution urging Kansas Libertarians to vote NO. This should not reflect negatively on the Libertarian Party of Kansas’ long-standing tradition of welcoming libertarians regardless of their beliefs about when personhood and the right to life begins. In liberty – Ned Kelley, Libertarian Party of Kansas former Chair

  3. Gene Berkman Gene Berkman August 5, 2022

    The Kansas Libertarian Party only provided a small number of votes in opposition to the anti-Abortion amendment. Everyone recognizes this.

    It is also clear that those in Kansas who fought against this attack on freedom used the rhetoric and principles of freedom to make their case against giving the government more power.

    We want more people to accept the principles of personal freedom, and they don’ t have to be libertarians or consider themselves libertarians. In saying they are using libertarian principles and libertarian arguments, we are not trying to take credit for our people, but show the relevance of ideas that are central to the libertarian message.

    And we are trying to show others in the Libertarian Party that the pro-choice position is a way for the Libertarian Party to appeal to many people who may not be aware of our movement, but agree with us on one issue, and they agree for reasons consistent with our own position.

  4. George Phillies George Phillies Post author | August 5, 2022

    That’s why I quoted people in the state on what they were doing.

  5. Joe Wendt Joe Wendt August 5, 2022

    Can’t claim something is a Libertarian position if used by non-Libertarians. I mean, human decency doesn’t belong to any ideology.

  6. Johno Johno August 5, 2022

    All states should do what Kansas did. Let the voters decide by referendum. Take this issue away from unelected judges and elected politicians . Once voters decide in states one way or the other people can either stay or leave, if this is their number one issue. People are leaving states over taxation. Some move to states where they get more benefits. Voters have power if they use it. Referendums and Plebiscites are powerful tools for voters.

  7. Lisa Turner Lisa Turner August 5, 2022

    Love how people who weren’t even in the state, or fighting the fight, think they know how this was won. Go on and take credit for things that aren’t your doing, those of us who actually are here fighting, will keep on fighting for our state and beyond. We were the ones in the trenches, out talking to people, protesting, educating.

  8. George Phillies George Phillies Post author | August 5, 2022

    Libertarian Party did not take credit. Opponents used libertarian positions.

  9. Joe Wendt Joe Wendt August 4, 2022

    Umm… pretty sure libertarians weren’t a factor. Maybe the Democratic Governor, maybe good statewide organization by the Democrats. But Libertarians taking credit is a bit… #@!*$%&^.

  10. George Whitfield George Whitfield August 4, 2022

    Commendation to the Kansas Libertarians or supporting individual freedom.

  11. Gene Berkman Gene Berkman August 4, 2022

    Thanks George for covering this very important vote. I am almost done with an in-depth article about it @ my blog, and I will notify readers
    here when I post it @ calibertarianreport.com.

    The libertarian message was explicit and the central message of the force opposing the anti-abortion amendment. The Los Angeles Times today reports:
    In Kansas, where registered Republicans and unaffiliated voters vastly outnumber Democrats, abortion rights activists worked overtime in recent months to build a broad coalition, using the language of personal freedom and individual rights.

    “We found common ground among diverse voting blocs and mobilized people across the political spectrum to vote no,” Rachel Sweet, campaign manager for Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, told reporters Wednesday.

    “Kansans across the political spectrum believe in personal liberty and freedom,” she said. “They understand that we must protect our constitutional rights and freedom to make private medical decisions, including those about abortion.”
    https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2022-08-04/how-abortion-rights-were-won-in-conservative-kansas

    The Times also mentions “In one ad, Kansans for Constitutional Freedom framed the measure as a “strict government mandate designed to interfere with private medical decisions,” and showed images that linked abortion restrictions to vaccine and mask mandates.”

    Opponents of the Amendment organized as Kansans for Constitutional Freedom (https://kansansforfreedom.com/) worked with many groups in the state, in addition to Planned Parenthood, the League of Women Voters and the Kansas Civil Liberties Union. The Mainstream Coalition, a moderate Republican group opposed the anti-abortion amendment. And the heroic Kansas Libertarian Party stood in opposition to the Amendment, and in support of the traditional Libertarian position of defending abortion rights and other medical freedoms.
    https://lpks.org/2022/06/30/bodily-autonomy-resolution/

    And the Kansas Libertarians were active: https://lpks.org/2022/07/15/803/

    Let us all commend the heroic Libertarians of Kansas who stood for freedom along with the Kansans for Constitutional Freedom.

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