Video: What is the libertarian position on abortion?

posted at 3:48 pm on June 15, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

My friends Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch from Reason Magazine are inviting people to submit questions on libertarianism, which the two will answer in video responses, in order to promote their new book The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong with America, due out on June 28th.  I decided to ask about abortion (as did National Review’s Mark Hemingway), which is a tough question for libertarians.  On one hand, they usually don’t like government intrusion on medical decisions of any sort, but the reliance on individual rights poses a conundrum for the unquestionably human in utero.  As I framed it in my private tweet to Nick — sans crotch shot, I can assure you — if we can abort human beings, why can’t government treat individuals in a utilitarian manner in any other context?

Nick and Matt provide a thoughtful, measured response in this video:

I have to say, I appreciate the approach they took in this response, and there is much to consider in it. In the end, I believe that one cannot draw a “sliding scale of humanity” before birth without allowing for one afterward. There is no difference in the individuality or humanity of the child in the womb, which starts at fertilization with a complete and unique DNA set, and whose growth scientifically demonstrates its individual (although dependent) life. The only difference along that sliding scale is the utility of the being. If utility is an overriding issue in this context, it would certainly allow for utility as a consideration for other people to dictate control over individuals in other private contexts as well, such as health care at a minimum, at least conceptually. But I certainly appreciate the thoughtful discussion of the issue, and I’ll be interested to see what more they have to say on the subject.

 

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I thought that the US populaion is — with the ecxeption of certain personal pet exemptions — very much against abortion on demand; are you saying that the popularity of birthcontrol and abortifacients are evidence of approval for abortion?

flicker on June 15, 2011 at 7:02 PM

How about people not crying over the 2/3 of fertilized eggs that never implant?
Though the great deal of crying over the 1/4 or so of children that are miscarried probably indicates something.

Count to 10 on June 15, 2011 at 7:08 PM
Should the IV doctors be charged with murder for the implants that don’t attach?…

Hmmm

Pablo Honey on June 15, 2011 at 7:49 PM

Spring semester was, in fact, the first time in almost 4 years. I had her stand and argue her position precisely because it was becoming a bit of an oddity for that age group and I thought others should be exposed to the ideas.

dieudonne on June 15, 2011 at 7:11 PM

With questions about fertilized eggs that don’t implant, or should we cry when implanted blastocysts slough off, or does God condone abortifacients since so many fertilized implantations fail, or does God advocate abortion by example by allowing spontaneous abortions, etc, bring two questions to my mind.

How is it that an egg, after erupting from the ovary, knows comes to move through the abdominal cavity in the right direction toward the outer fimbriae and enter the fallpopian tube?

And how is it that a blind, hairless, nailless kangaroo fetus, after having been expelled from the kangaroo’s vagina knows comes to crawl in the right direction in the external environment across the mother kangaroo’s fur toward her belly and the entrance to the abdminal pouch?

If a yellow blob of kangaroo fetus can crawl purposefully, how can the fetus of a human being at the same point of development be any less aware and intelligent?

flicker on June 15, 2011 at 8:35 PM

Sure, but they’re not legalizing homicide itself. They’re just deciding the extent of the self-defense exception. They only have that authority (as opposed to leaving it up to the individual) because they have the power to make homicide illegal in the first place. If they eliminated the category of murder as a crime altogether, the federal government would have the authority to step in and enforce it. It’s not something that, per our form of government, the states can safely decide for themselves.

RightOFLeft on June 15, 2011 at 8:27 PM

?
That doesn’t really make any sense.
At any rate, we are talking about exceptions that make the difference between justifiable homicide and murder.

Count to 10 on June 15, 2011 at 8:35 PM

Sure, but they’re not legalizing homicide itself. They’re just deciding the extent of the self-defense exception.

RightOFLeft on June 15, 2011 at 8:27 PM

Self-defense is not really an exception to laws against homicide. If anything, it is a recognition that an individual’s right to life permits them to oppose someone trying to end theirs, even if in the opposition it costs the life of the other.

Part of the principle of self-defense is that it is no longer permitted when the threat is gone. For example, if someone was trying to kill you, but you have thoroughly incapacitated them, you’re not permitted to “finish the job” by killing. In fact, if your life is no longer threatened, but you kill the person who threatened you anyway, you would almost certainly be arrested for homicide.

Self defense is not so much an exception to the prohibition of homicide as a defense against someone trying to commit homicide against you.

tom on June 15, 2011 at 8:35 PM

Heh. In other words, you agree but don’t want to admit it.

With some folks, truth loses out to personal interest (or “privacy”). The virtuous sacrifice personal interest for the sake of Truth.

Splashman on June 15, 2011 at 6:37 PM

Er, no. In other words, anybody presuming to claim that a particular human value is “universally accepted” is talking straight out of their own squeakhole.

Centerfire on June 15, 2011 at 8:45 PM

Count to 10 on June 15, 2011 at 8:35 PM

I’m sorry that was unclear. I’m wondering if you would defend a state that decided to legalize homicide — not just provide exceptions/set penalties — on the basis of state’s rights. I think I got ahead of myself anticipating some objections you might have which muddled the idea I was trying to get across. Maybe it will make more sense in light of the question I just asked.

I’m trying to make the point that states don’t have rights. They have authority, granted by social contract and subject to constitutional limitation. That still leaves a lot of gray areas. I think libertarian philosophy demands that the grayest areas be left to individuals, and not to states.

tom on June 15, 2011 at 8:35 PM

I see your point, but I think it’s just semantics. I could have chosen a better word or phrasing than “exception.”

RightOFLeft on June 15, 2011 at 8:50 PM

If the fetus isn’t developed enough to exist without mom, mom takes precedence. A woman cannot be forced to bear a child if she choses not to. I would think the word “force” would make this pretty straightforward for a libertarian.

What is and how far do you extend your definition of ‘developed’? Is a one year old baby developed enough to exist without mom in any practical sense of the term? If mom doesn’t feed the baby, clean it, care for it, protect it, it will die at one year old. So then mom should be free to what, since her life takes precedence? Abandon the baby if things get to tough?

A woman cannot be ‘forced’ to bear a child? Again, that is kind of a loaded term. Was she raped? If she wasn’t, then in what sense are we even talking about the word ‘forced’?

Personally, I never would have had an abortion. Nor would my daughters. That’s our belief system. But that doesn’t mean we have the right to force our beliefs on other women who think otherwise or face different circumstances.

I always kind of thought this was a cop out argument. We don’t want to ‘force’ our belief system on anyone else? Society ‘forces’ other beliefs on us all the time.

And again, no one ‘forced’ you to have sex (barring rape) so why shouldn’t society expect you to be responsible and deal with the consequences?

On a practical level, if a woman is determined not to see a pregnancy through, she’ll slice-and-dice herself if necessary to get the job done. How do you balance the value of one life against another?

Because if a person cares so little for the life of her child that she would slice and dice herself, risking killing or maiming herself, effectively that suicide is an option to pregnancy, then frankly what good is her life anyway? In a ‘pure’ Libertarian world, she should be able to do what she likes to herself anyway, right? If society shouldn’t be in the business of placing any restrictions on her for having an abortion, why should the same not be said for her “slicing and dicing” herself? That’s also, in essence, the pro-euthanasia stance.

If you really want to legally prohibit all abortion in an attempt to stop it, you are going to have to start making criminals out of the women who seek them. I’m sure that would be just fine with the anti-abortion wingnuts, but I can’t imagine libertarians signing on to that.

This is the same kind of logic libs use against the enforcement or application of any law they don’t want to abide by. Look at immigration. Illegals aren’t criminals, the libs say, they’re simply trying to better their lives, etc.

And since no law stops all crime (we have laws against murder but murders still occur) we should then what – have no law? That’s not libertarianism. That’s anarchy.

catmman on June 15, 2011 at 8:51 PM

I generally share Nick Gillespie’s approach to politics, but it seems his positions always contain a glaring fallacy or inconsistency. For example, in his discussion of state sponsored art, he absurdly characterized government refusal to pay for a particular work of art as a thug’s veto. In this case, he claims that advocates of restrictions on abortion should lobby to change people’s minds. Then he says he thinks the existing legal framework, which makes what people think largely irrelevant, is good. I guess he could mean he thinks people should feel free to attempt to change his mind about the legal framework, but to me, that’s the problem: the “legal framework” step should be omitted from the process.

vermin on June 15, 2011 at 8:54 PM

I see your point, but I think it’s just semantics. I could have chosen a better word or phrasing than “exception.”

RightOFLeft on June 15, 2011 at 8:50 PM

You could argue it’s just semantics, but isn’t that just semantics?

tom on June 15, 2011 at 8:59 PM

We know it is a human (and can be nothing else) which is being killed by abortion thus it will always be homicide.

So it mostly boils down to whether one accepts that the Preamble to the Constitution exists “to secure the blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and our Posterity” or one is willing to forgo that in favor of something akin to reincarnating the Third Reich whereby merely relabeling something as an unter-Mensch equivalent so that it can be conveniently exterminated because as a hindrance to Destiny it is “better off dead.”

Which, of course, typically morphs into stylish mass killings of whatever humans at any stage of development whom are deemed inconvenient at the time.

viking01 on June 15, 2011 at 9:03 PM

The sliding scale is the perfect answer. That is the way it is. To say that a week old fetus is the same as a kid, is dogma. Libertarians don’t do dogma. A bunch of cells is not a sentient entity. We respect life because we respect sentient entities. A bunch of cells is just that. To say they are the same is pure sophistry.

And from a political point of view, the rights of a viable human being must be paramount to any perceived rights of a bunch of cells. So the true libertarian view is that abortion should be legal. We don’t want the government telling us – especially adults – what we can do with a bunch of cells that we own.

keep the change on June 15, 2011 at 9:12 PM

You could argue it’s just semantics, but isn’t that just semantics?

tom on June 15, 2011 at 8:59 PM

That’s very zen, and I like that. I meant “just semantics” like Shakespeare meant “a rose by any other name.” The strictest definition of homicide would be “thou shalt not kill” taken literally. I think we mean the same thing whether we’re talking about self defense as an exception to that stricter definition or whether we’re talking about defining homicide to preclude self-defense in the first place. So: just semantics.

RightOFLeft on June 15, 2011 at 9:22 PM

A bunch of cells is not a sentient entity. We respect life because we respect sentient entities A bunch of cells is just that. To say they are the same is pure sophistry.

keep the change on June 15, 2011 at 9:12 PM

Factually, you are a bunch of cells. Are you usually so blunt in asking society to kill you ? Or via your “sliding scale” dream do you wish to be purged, shall we say, ‘on the curve’ ?

viking01 on June 15, 2011 at 9:26 PM

To say that a week old fetus is the same as a kid, is dogma. Libertarians don’t do dogma. A bunch of cells is not a sentient entity. We respect life because we respect sentient entities. A bunch of cells is just that. To say they are the same is pure sophistry.

And from a political point of view, the rights of a viable human being must be paramount to any perceived rights of a bunch of cells. So the true libertarian view is that abortion should be legal. We don’t want the government telling us – especially adults – what we can do with a bunch of cells that we own.

keep the change on June 15, 2011 at 9:12 PM

Speaking of dogma…

catmman on June 15, 2011 at 9:28 PM

keep the change on June 15, 2011 at 9:12 PM

Speaking of dogma…

catmman on June 15, 2011 at 9:28 PM

The sad thing is he/she probably never will realize how easily he/she could be exterminated on the basis of his / her own careless words.

viking01 on June 15, 2011 at 9:34 PM

Beadsqueezers? Really?

dieudonne on June 15, 2011 at 6:28 PM

Really.

I’ll plead the excuse that I also happen to be one and am rather fond of the term. More mellifluous than “mackerel snapper” and more lighthearted than “popery.” Though at least you can use that last one as part of “Popery potpourri” when you’re having a Catholic trivia contest. :)

DRPrice on June 15, 2011 at 9:35 PM

And from a political point of view, the rights of a viable human being must be paramount to any perceived rights of a bunch of cells. So the true libertarian view is that abortion should be legal. We don’t want the government telling us – especially adults – what we can do with a bunch of cells that we own.

With a verbal tweak here and there, that’s one of the arguments John C. Calhoun used to defend slavery.

The dehumanization train takes you to some interesting destinations.

DRPrice on June 15, 2011 at 9:37 PM

keep the change on June 15, 2011 at 9:12 PM

Speaking of dogma…

catmman on June 15, 2011 at 9:28 PM

The sad thing is he/she probably never will realize how easily he/she could be exterminated on the basis of his / her own careless words.

viking01 on June 15, 2011 at 9:34 PM

What gets me is I believe life begins when it begins.

What’s ‘viable’? Since a fetus can’t write a opera or read a book it isn’t ‘viable’? A plant isn’t viable when it germinates. It might not produce fruit for many months or years. But that doesn’t make it un-viable, any less of a life. It moves, breathes, discharges waste, consumes nutrition all the things a human fetus does but what good is it? It isn’t ‘good’ until later in life. We don’t toss seedlings the day after they sprout if they don’t make apples right away. But so many are advocates of tossing a human using that very rationale apparently.

And the whole “a bunch of cells” thing I never understood. Its just a bunch of cells. So what?

But because I believe life begins when it does and has inherent value, even before it is ‘viable’, I’m (or others like me are) being dogmatic? I don’t have to excuse my beliefs using ten euphemisms (or a ‘sliding scale’) within two short paragraphs – over and over – kind of like a catechism…

catmman on June 15, 2011 at 9:52 PM

catmman

+1

Knott Buyinit on June 15, 2011 at 10:11 PM

I am posting this for anyone reading here who is suffering because of a past abortion. The Catholic Church has a program called Rachel’s Vineyard. You do not have to be Catholic to seek help from them.

For those of all faiths, it provides healing and helps the person reconcile with God. Here is the link:

http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/

My parish has these retreats (not overnight) and they help many women (and men.) As parishioners, we are asked to pray for these retreats. And all of us here can pray for these people who often suffer greatly. Society tells young people lies about abortion.

God bless all those reading here and may God have mercy on us all and our country for allowing this horror.

Elisa on June 15, 2011 at 10:25 PM

<blockquoteProtection of life should never depend on social consensus. It’s actually very simple: if you can be absolutely certain that the unborn are not living human beings, then abortion is fine. If there is any doubt, then any decent human being should recoil at the suggestion.

Now the obvious: unborn babies are unquestionably alive. They grow, they move, they kick.

And unborn babies are unquestionably human. At no point in fetal development is that child anything but a developing human being.

Someone at this point will try to blur the lines with talk of blastocysts. Are blastocysts the subjects of abortions?

Abortions are legal and permitted at any stage of fetal development right up to the moment of birth. There is simply no rational justification for pretending that the discussion is about blastocysts.

tom on June 15, 2011 at 8:11 PM

Absolutely. Especially your first sentence. No one can refute that logically.

Thank you to you and all those who are defending the truth of life.
>

Elisa on June 15, 2011 at 10:28 PM

http://www.priestsforlife.org/media/interviewisajiw.htm

1998 interview

Question from Fr. Frank Pavone (director of Priests for Life):

“And as a medical doctor and you address for us for a few moments, the on going point of assertion whether explicit or implicit that is brought forward in articles and in legislatures or in media, the assertion that sometimes abortion is necessary to preserve the life and health of the mother. Is that ever true?”

Answer from Dr.George Isajiw, MD :

“Actually it’s not. There is no such thing as an abortion to save the life of the mother. As a matter of fact for a while.. several years.. I was very interested in that question in my formative years and I would ask every obstetrician and gynecologist that I met anywhere. And I said have you ever had a case where you had to do something to kill the baby to save the life of the mother. I have not come across one case, you know. People think of in the movie, the story the Cardinal, where the woman was delivering the child and got into complications and they crushed the baby’s head. And that is just not a part of modern medicine. That is not necessary to be done.

Where the confusion arises is the so-called indirect abortion. Or those cases where both mother and child are dying because of a situation, there are really only three situations like this that I can think of and that’s ectopic pregnancy, cancer of the uterus, and perhaps trauma, or an accidental traumatic injury to the uterus. And if you don’t do anything then both mother and child will die. Now if you treat the mother for whatever needs to be treated, the uterus is bleeding, and you remove the uterus and the baby is still in there, and you do nothing to kill the baby, that is if you had a means an artificial incubator, some day we will have it, I’m sure, you could put that baby in there, so in no way do you directly attack the life of the baby. But you can foresee that that baby will lose its life, but it will lose its life anyhow but without directly attacking. Those are the three instances, very rare, very rare, but those are not abortions. If you look at the five ways that abortions are done, which is the only purpose is to kill the child, none of these techniques are the methods used in these operations. So there is no such thing as an abortion necessary.

And you don’t need a law, you don’t need an exception because for ages that treatment of ectopic pregnancy, once the mother starts bleeding or has life-threatening complications, the treatment of cancer of the uterus, that has been always permissible without …having to legalize abortion. So the answer is simply no. There is no such thing as an abortion to save the life of the mother, sometimes early delivery, sometimes it is so early that the baby has a great risk of dying perhaps, but the baby is delivered, the baby is placed into intensive care, is given all the possible support, and may or may make it, but there is no such thing as an abortion to do that.”

Elisa on June 15, 2011 at 10:30 PM

. . . . and the Bible clearly refers to a pregnant woman as being “with child”, with the fetus still being in utero. To claim that the notion of birth changes from century to century is patently false. . . . .

flicker on June 15, 2011 at 6:29 PM

Exactly.

St. John the Baptist was a living human in St. Elizabeth’s womb.

Luke 1:41-44:

“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.”

Elisa on June 15, 2011 at 10:38 PM

You could argue it’s just semantics, but isn’t that just semantics?

tom on June 15, 2011 at 8:59 PM

That’s very zen, and I like that. I meant “just semantics” like Shakespeare meant “a rose by any other name.” The strictest definition of homicide would be “thou shalt not kill” taken literally. I think we mean the same thing whether we’re talking about self defense as an exception to that stricter definition or whether we’re talking about defining homicide to preclude self-defense in the first place. So: just semantics.

RightOFLeft on June 15, 2011 at 9:22 PM

Well, you might say it was recursive, in that an argument that something is just semantics is a semantic argument in and of itself. The similarity to circular reasoning should be obvious.

But in this case, there is a more-than-semantic difference. Calling it an “exception” to laws against homicide implies that a government has basically a god-like power to decree what is and is not homicide, and to carve out exceptions as they see fit. That plays right into a government declaring, for example, that they have the right to make exceptions to the laws against homicide if the victim is an “uppity black” or a “parasitic Jew,” to pick wildly different but morally similar examples.

And of course you’re not making that argument, but if the government can make any exception it wants to laws against homicide, then any momentarily unpopular group of people had better watch out.

I believe the death penalty reinforces, if anything, the principle of life being precious. It declares that if you take the life of another, there is no way on this earth to make restitution but to give up your own life. If anything, NOT enforcing the death penalty is a declaration that life is not so precious, after all.

Self-defense is the flip side of the death penalty. If someone is trying to end your life, you have the right to defend it even to the point of the death of your attacker. Your right to use deadly force to protect your own life from an attacker doesn’t so much create an exception to the principle of life as it affirms that the life of the person being attacked is every bit as precious as the life of the attacker. You have the right to defend yourself because no one else has the right to take your life.

So if the principle is “life is uniquely precious,” then both the death penalty and the right to use deadly force in self defense both affirm that principle, rather than make exceptions to that principle.

tom on June 16, 2011 at 12:14 AM

A couple months before my daughter was born, she already had a mind of her own. Mostly, she was quiet. But on occasion, she would move from one side to the other. Sometimes, her mother would push on one side of her belly, and the child would push back. At other times, she would respond by moving away.

And yet, it would have been perfectly legal to abort her.

It would also have been monstrous.

The arguments in favor of abortion are really just excuses.

tom on June 16, 2011 at 12:21 AM

The difference between a miscarriage and an abortion is the difference between dying of a heart attack and being shot in the chest. One is a natural act causing death while the other is a deliberate action of a sentient being to cause fatal injury to another human being.

I cannot fathom how anyone struggles with the question in the broad sense. Human life is valuable because it is human life. Humans believe that all of humanity has human rights, the most basic of these flowing forth from Natural Law of the kind the Preamble draws from.

The rest of the debate always focus on when humans, for lack of a better characterization, “count as humans.” For me the answer is obviously conception. At one point I wavered to the point of implantation. But the fact is you’re dealing with a human being created by sexual reproduction.

Ask yourself this: Does Congressman A. Weiner have a wife and child or a wife and fetus? You already know saying the latter will enrage all but the most insane elements of the anti-human left. When you see a pregnant woman the answer is staring you in the face. You know the very word means “with child.”

Yet somehow you get into the halls of academia and theory and what is obvious on its face gets obfuscated into a muddle purposefully. To admit you have created life and must now be responsible for it is a burden that many would like to opt out of in their cowardice.

BKennedy on June 16, 2011 at 12:25 AM

The sliding scale is the perfect answer. That is the way it is. To say that a week old fetus is the same as a kid, is dogma. Libertarians don’t do dogma. A bunch of cells is not a sentient entity. We respect life because we respect sentient entities. A bunch of cells is just that. To say they are the same is pure sophistry.

And from a political point of view, the rights of a viable human being must be paramount to any perceived rights of a bunch of cells. So the true libertarian view is that abortion should be legal. We don’t want the government telling us – especially adults – what we can do with a bunch of cells that we own.

keep the change on June 15, 2011 at 9:12 PM

So a week-old fetus is not the same as a kid. How about a 7-month fetus? Most abortions happen earlier, but it’s just as legal to do it at 7 months as it is at 1 week.

In fact, “week-old fetus” seems an especially arbitrary choice. Most abortions happen quite a bit further along than that.

Seems to me your “sliding scale” is just another way of saying, “whenever we feel like it.”

If this is the “true libertarian view,” then libertarianism is an evil philosophy. But I think most libertarians are looking for freedom from unnecessary government mandates, not freedom from all constraints of morality.

tom on June 16, 2011 at 12:35 AM

I’m not a Catholic so I’m not choosing their authority. They have also not chosen Aquinas as a sole authority and I apologize for any statement that seemed to suggest that. I merely meant to refer to the arguments of Aquinas.

dieudonne on June 15, 2011 at 6:07 PM

You have nothing to apologize for. Your initial meaning was clear to those with an honest heart. As a proud member of my beloved “cult,” I thank you for defending the Church. I know God notices your charity and I pray that Our Lord Jesus Christ pours out His grace in abundance to you.

But they are clearly present. They clearly cite the scriptures they appeal to in their catechism and, additionally, they make positive arguments for why this should be the case.

If there are specific circumstances which must be met in order to sanctify a marriage it seems obvious that no marriage exists if those conditions are not met. This would clearly make an annulment a very different creature from divorce which is the dissolution of an existing marriage.

If the system of annulments has been abused by moneyed parishes and enabled by weak bishops this does not invalidate the underlying ideas – rather it suggests the need for reform of the institutions that promulgate annulments.

dieudonne on June 15, 2011 at 6:34 PM

That’s right. The men in the Church should never be confused with the Church herself, that is of Divine origin. Men in the Church can make mistakes or be cowards, but the formally taught truths of the Church (all rooted and based in Sacred Scripture) are never mistaken, because they come from the Holy Spirit, not from man. Men can misinterpret Scriptures, but the Scriptures themselves are truth from the Holy Spirit. Christ set up His Church, to interpret the Bible correctly by Sacred Tradition, from which Sacred Scripture flows.

1 Timothy 3:15: “But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.”

About annulments, I would add for those reading here that Christ made a distinction between annulling an invalid marriage and the divorce of a valid marriage in Matthew’s Gospel (5:32 and 19:9) and He made the exception.

The original Greek word used in “I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery” (NAB)

is often translated (in both Catholic and Protestant Bibles) as “sexual immorality” or “fornication” or “unchastity.”

The word is “porneia.” It translates as “sexual uncleanness.” The Jews considered intercourse between blood relatives or close family to be unclean and they were not allowed to marry. If they did marry, it was considered an invalid marriage and their union was unclean/unchaste/immoral.

So when Jesus said used the exception of “porneia,” He was talking about unclean and invalid. He was not talking about dissolving a valid marriage because of adultery.

Note: a married person cannot commit fornication, only adultery. When talking about divorce, the person would be married and the conduct would be called adultery. Yet even in the less specific translation of “fornication,” it implies they were not really married and it points to the correct translation of unclean/unchaste/invalid.

We also see from other passages (Matthew 15:9 and Mark 7:21-22) that the Gospel writers use separate words for unchastity (porneia) and adultery.

Also Acts 15:28-29 shows the word “porneia” being used in connection with pagan unclean blood rituals, which included unclean/unchaste blood marriages.

Again in 1 Corinthians 5:1 we see the word “porneia” being used the same way, invalid/immoral union between close relatives. “It is widely reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of a kind not found even among pagans–a man living with his father’s wife.”

Thank you again for your charity towards my faith. God bless you and all here.

I’m curious as to what faith beliefs you disagreed with that caused you to leave the Church and become Buddhist, but I know this is not the place for such long theological discussions. I know there are a few things in Buddhism that is shared with Christianity. That’s because the Holy Spirit from the beginning of time has written His laws on the hearts of men and all the religions of the world have some of God’s truth in it. I will only say, that if your beliefs ever change, the Church is a home where you are always welcomed back. (I hope you take no offense to this, I mean it with utmost respect. I just can’t help how I feel. lol Hope you understand.)

Good night.

Elisa on June 16, 2011 at 12:41 AM

catmman on June 15, 2011 at 9:52 PM

I think Liberals and the libertines in our society typically demean moral standards and life’s worth toward and of everyone because they lack sufficient self-discipline to maintain their own lives responsibly. Therefore they must enact a capital punishment of the unborn to hide or exempt their behavioral indiscretions and irresponsibility… and to hide their laziness regarding proper obligations and duty to their offspring.

That is why I invariably refer to abortion as homicide as it definitely is the killing of ourselves, of humans, as it cannot be otherwise.

What I find most dangerous about the “keep the change” mode of thinking besides the “ownership” gaffe is how throughout history the word games have been exploited for genocide. Hitler and Goebbels used the “better off dead” or “it’s only a ….” excuses to exterminate the mental patients, gypsies, political opponents and mentally retarded as warm-up for the Holocaust. Nazi judges such as Roland Freisler, purely hate-agenda driven, routinely twisted words to dehumanize to rationalize mass murder. It quickly became a mechanism to silence any disagreement by execution. A mindset hoping to be excused for not knowing the reality of what one has done or eventually hoping to parley a “just following orders” excuse as was attempted by so many at the Nuremberg and similar trials.

There is no doubt in my mind that the abortion devaluation of life has directly amplified other murder throughout our culture and subcultures and the proliferation of children who kill from placing no value on life. The reality of how many great minds, pioneers and innovators have been exterminated by the holocaust called abortion is truly staggering.

viking01 on June 16, 2011 at 1:06 AM

As much as I wish I could say that I’m a libertarian I just can’t bring myself to do so. I do agree with quite a bit of what libertarians believe in but for the most part I find them to be real kooks. That disturbs me because I so want to like the philosophy.

mizflame98 on June 16, 2011 at 1:08 AM

Abortion is evil. Personally, I think abortion should be illegal except in cases of rape, incest and life/serious health of the mother. Logically, then, I don’t think abortion is murder.

And so, I’ve always wondered why people who claim that abortion is murder don’t go and kill abortion doctors or blow up abortion clinics or sabotage Planned Parenthood, etc. I think it’s because they really do not believe that abortion = murder.

Right? Or am I taking crazy pills?

I mean, if you actually believe that abortion was murder of a human being… Then this isn’t like not reporting some domestic abuse next door, or not stopping a fight on the subway. People are being slaughtered. “Yeah, I never voted for the Nazis, but hey! We lived in a democracy!” I mean, c’mon, they’re putting up with the mass murder on a far greater scale than the Holocaust because…they respect the political process?

No, I’m sorry. I call BS. Abortion is evil. It is. It should be illegal. But very few people (thankfully) actually believe it is equal to murdering a five year-old or a teenager or grandma.

BocaJuniors on June 16, 2011 at 3:44 AM

OK guys, hang on for the ride because the abortion issue has gotten a whole lot more complex behind your (and my) backs.

First, I think abortion is just plain wrong.

Second, I think trying to enforce my view on another is also dead wrong for the same reason we all (seem to) believe the healthcare mandate is wrong. It is incompatible with liberty to force another person to pay for what I or anybody else needs.

With this conflicting pair of “absolutes” I’ve reluctantly at first come to agree with Fred Thompson that this is not an issue that the federal government has any charter to touch. It is best left to the states. And I don’t believe the states have anything to say about it beyond demanding licensing and zoning approval for abortion practitioners. The licensing requirement can make it difficult to get a license to practice abortion. And it can regulate how it is applied. The zoning ordinance permits the “not in my backyard” crowd to say “no” in a definitive way.

I do not think it is wise to say “no” in a blanket manner. If we do we start a whole new “War On Abortion” as we try to ferret out and prosecute the illegal practitioners and the women to frequent them. In my (far) younger days when abortion was flat out illegal in Michigan and Detroit I knew several of my college peers who got abortions. One came through fine, the best case. None died. One lost her reproductive organs due to complications from a botched abortion. I knew of dozens more cases. (Ann Arbor supports a fairly large University of some note.) Abortion can be made illegal. It will not go away.

The best solution to the abortion mess I’ve been able to find is “remove the market”. Don’t outlaw it. Just make it unnecessary. Nick and Matt noted this is happening. It’s going to be a long difficult row to hoe. It’ll make the campaigns against tobacco seem simple by comparison. And it may need some inventiveness to enable a fetus to survive outside a woman’s womb to complete the elimination of this piece of the solution. We also need to work on elective fertility more than simply taking a pill once a day that has some side effects on future health. That’s two at least partially outside the box solutions. Look for more. Do not waste time thinking regulation will solve the problem. Regulation simply adds to the problem.

{^_^}

herself on June 16, 2011 at 5:39 AM

How does one explain enforcing one’s view on the fetus ? Define fit to live. Define unfit to live. We have the technology to enable preemies of ever-increasing prematurity to live outside the womb in incubators of increasing capability. Given the progress of medicine for prosthetics it is probable an artificial uterus of some sort will be developed within the next century or even less.

It is a human and individual… thus if one sincerely favors human rights, the rights of the individual and individual liberty then how does one justify one human is less than another and therefore undeserving of equivalent Life and Liberty which one has enabled and encouraged for another? Should due process be denied on the basis of age? Define too young or too old to qualify for due process?

Think carefully before answering in a manner likely to be construed as eugenics understanding the possibility that answering in a manner not construed as eugenics could evade reality.

viking01 on June 16, 2011 at 6:37 AM

Bottom line(s):

1. there is no “libertarian position on abortion”, apparently, and

2. these guys both take the liberal, pro-abortion position.

Jaibones on June 16, 2011 at 6:49 AM

Here is my position on abortion. I don’t care. I am surprised that you do. Women all have the ability to abort without anyone’s permission. What we need is total abstinence until 18, vigorous birth control education, and severe fines for intercourse before 18.
That’s right.
Fines.
Large fines in payments long after the offenders are 18, with no drivers licence until full payment.
Take those cars away from those boys and beating off and blow jobs will look better and better.

Observation on June 16, 2011 at 9:02 AM

This video didn’t address American’s (at least) perceptions of abortion and reproductive responsibility.

How people in this country feel about theirs and more importantly others rights to control whether or not they abort a child is far more central than the mechanics and maybe even more central than the moral aspect.

Many people are adamant about someone else’s right to abort but in discussions concerning abortion when asked how they felt about someone who would hurt a puppy they become quite angry and when the question of when an unborn child begins to feel pain is combined with that a lot of those people adamant about reproductive rights either meltdown in anger or shut down and refuse to discuss it, in general quite a lot of people don’t want to hear it, they’ve been educated by liberal media and can’t accept that the consequences might be far different than their perception.

For the majority its OK if someone else does it, just don’t make them take on the responsibility of someone else causing pain or harm.

Speakup on June 16, 2011 at 9:10 AM

A few thoughts after reading these comments:

Anyone who has bought a condom knows when life begins — as a wise man once noted.

From the moment the sperm fertilizes the egg, a new life has begun. That tiniest of human beings as all of the DNA needed to guide development. Nothing except time and nourishment must be added in order to make that “speck” into a grown man or woman. You and I started out exactly the same way.

Children conceived in rape or incest are no less worthy of life than children conceived under any other circumstances. Abortion often is used to hide the crime of incest.

53 million dead babies is 53 million too many.

KyMouse on June 16, 2011 at 9:55 AM

Good question, Ed.

Nick G. is usually very straight-forward but I had a hard time understanding his explanation.

Ian on June 15, 2011 at 3:53 PM

My sentiments exactly.

lawya on June 16, 2011 at 10:18 AM

Abortion is evil. Personally, I think abortion should be illegal except in cases of rape, incest and life/serious health of the mother. Logically, then, I don’t think abortion is murder.

And so, I’ve always wondered why people who claim that abortion is murder don’t go and kill abortion doctors or blow up abortion clinics or sabotage Planned Parenthood, etc. I think it’s because they really do not believe that abortion = murder.

Right? Or am I taking crazy pills?

I mean, if you actually believe that abortion was murder of a human being… Then this isn’t like not reporting some domestic abuse next door, or not stopping a fight on the subway. People are being slaughtered. “Yeah, I never voted for the Nazis, but hey! We lived in a democracy!” I mean, c’mon, they’re putting up with the mass murder on a far greater scale than the Holocaust because…they respect the political process?

No, I’m sorry. I call BS. Abortion is evil. It is. It should be illegal. But very few people (thankfully) actually believe it is equal to murdering a five year-old or a teenager or grandma.

BocaJuniors on June 16, 2011 at 3:44 AM

So you would be in favor of making the killing of abortionist a second-degree murder, or possibly just manslaughter, because that person has good cause to believe they’re saving lives?

No you wouldn’t. You would be calling them kooks, not congratulating them on their logical consistency.

Yeah, I’m calling BS on your call of BS.

tom on June 16, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Observation on June 16, 2011 at 9:02 AM

well, that was disturbing. lol

Elisa on June 16, 2011 at 10:57 AM

And so, I’ve always wondered why people who claim that abortion is murder don’t go and kill abortion doctors or blow up abortion clinics or sabotage Planned Parenthood, etc. I think it’s because they really do not believe that abortion = murder.

BocaJuniors on June 16, 2011 at 3:44 AM

I don’t go around killing murderers of adults. I leave the punishment for murder to the state. Jail, execution, if accidental and under age, then maybe community service and parole. don’t know.

But I don’t go around exacting justice myself and killing murderers.

Same with abortion DOCTORS, not the women. I leave the punishment up to the state. As a citizen, my duty is to vote to make abortion, which I consider murder, a crime. At the least, to have politicians place some restrictions on it and not make us all pay for something so abhorant.

Laws won’t change until we change the hearts and minds of individuals in society. Prayer. Speaking up. Leaders who guide and speak up. That is what is needed. Then the laws may follow.

But abortion, even in cases of rape and incest, kills a human being, so it is murder. Culpability of those involved varies. But the end result is still murder.

Elisa on June 16, 2011 at 11:04 AM

I hear words like “utilitarian” coming from this discussion and can’t help think where is the word “morality” in such a discussion. Libertarians have a habit of overlooking it and tend to remain in the amoral realm of thought. not Morality as in Religious doctrine. Morality as in Moral philosophical maxims such as Socrates. Individual rights are spelled out in the constitution. Having children is a personal responsibility.

A government should not promote or facilitate abortions, it’s against a governments moral purpose to protect the interests of it’s citizens and the survival of the nation. A government should preach the opposite view on abortions. Stating and promoting the life and family values. But not interfering with personal choice.

When a government condones this type of behavior from it’s citizens it is essentially promoting it’s own moral decay and eventual destruction.

Egfrow on June 16, 2011 at 11:11 AM

As a small ‘L’ libertarian, I can tell you that my position on abortion is one of indifference. I don’t care. No really, I don’t care. I’m sick and tired of hearing about it in fact. It is nothing more than a political football and perennial bitch fest.

Who gets abortions? Responsible and conscientious women don’t tend to get abortions because they don’t tend to become pregnant unintentionally. They don’t engage in promiscuous sex or do other self destructive and irresponsible things either. When they have kids, it is because they intend to. Much of what makes them responsible and conscientious is genetic.

Abortion is something that losers do. They fail to make wise sexual decisions and wind up pregnant. And just like every other time they’ve failed, the losers who fall pregnant seek to push the consequences of their stupidity onto someone else, in this case their unborn child.

The end result is that abortions add some very valuable chlorine to our gene pool by preventing the children of losers and idiots from being born.

The children of good and decent women grow up to be good and decent people, while the children of idiots and losers go to the incinerator, and all without state interference of any kind. Natural selection at its finest.

There are of course exceptions to all of this, but what I’ve described is the general rule.

Leftists love abortion because they think that it helps destroy families by encouraging promiscuous sex and sexual irresponsibility in general. This is true. But it is also true that this effect is not universal. Like so much of what the left does, the foolish and incompetent are the ones most affected.

leereyno on June 16, 2011 at 11:17 AM

leereyno on June 16, 2011 at 11:17 AM

That is quite a blanket statement you have made. I am certain you have a lot of facts to back that up? How do you know that one of those “loser women’s” baby will not grow up to be somebody who could change the world for the better? Maybe we should just start rounding up the people you deem to be of lesser quality and exterminate them? Please tell us what you think Herr Leereyno.

You are quite wrong in who gets abortions, woman from all across the board have unprotected sex, have failure in birth control, etc.

93% of women who get abortions do it because they dont want the kid. Not because of health concerns, not because they were raped, etc.

akerralls on June 16, 2011 at 11:29 AM

The concept of a “sliding scale of humanity” for the unborn is very revealing, especially as, I guess, ‘clarified’ by Nick Gillespie to mean a sliding scale of “viability”. A short version for Nick seems to be ‘life begins at medical viability’.

I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that the proponent of an amoral philosophy would espouse an stance on abortion based purely on the current state of medical prenatal science, but let’s take Gillespie at his word. So, here’s another question for Nick: If life indeed begins at viability, why are you not just as passionate for defending the rights of the viable unborn as you are the viable born?

Knott Buyinit on June 16, 2011 at 12:02 PM

I have to say, I appreciate the approach they took in this response, and there is much to consider in it.

It’s the identical approach a libertarian would take toward any property — say, slaves. They are as human as the owner wants them to be — no more, no less. Their right to life is what the slaveholder says it is — no more, no less.

Those who think libertarianism means greater rights hasn’t taken to heart the maxim: Behind every law is a libertarian who asserted what he or she thought was a right.

unclesmrgol on June 16, 2011 at 12:24 PM

They lost me on this one. The “legal framework” that Gilespie described as “pretty good” consists of a poorly decided Roe v Wade requiring abortion on demand in all states.

applebutter on June 16, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr. writes: “The underlying premise in the arguments pro-abortionists give against fetal personhood is that non-persons can change into persons. They are saying that a living being can undergo a radical, essential change in its nature during its lifetime. But there is a logical problem here. If the change was biologically inevitable from conception, given time, then this change is not a change in essential nature. This is because if the being naturally initiates the change,
It must be in its nature from the beginning to do so. If it is in its nature to do so, then despite any changes in such characteristics as independence, place of residence, physical development, or demonstration of mental ability, what the being is in later life is what the being is from the beginning of its life. This means that if we are persons with the right to be free from aggression later in life, we are persons even at conception. A False Assumption,” Libertarians for Life

Irenaeus on June 16, 2011 at 1:57 PM

What’s really at stake in this question for libertarians is their Perfect World syndrome. Libertarians somehow think they can logic their way to the perfect answer every time. This answer proves they cannot. Welch and Gillespie give political, non-answers. They swim in the obfuscating, octupusian ink of the so-called viability of the lifeform.

Doesn’t work, boys. It’s either a human or it isn’t from day one. There is no magical moment when it becomes one.

Abortion shows us there are no easy answers, ultimately, to most of life’s pressing questions. Anyone who thinks there are is a fool. Anyone who is so married to his ideology to fall into this trap is also a fool.

MaxMBJ on June 16, 2011 at 2:03 PM

Actually, I wish to go further and say this non-answer by these two supposed geniuses made me sick.

MaxMBJ on June 16, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Here is the correct libertarian answer to the abortion question:

Abortion is the complete nullification of another human being’s right to live. It differs from capital punishment in that the victim is innocent. It is morally and civilly repugnant. It cannot be outlawed, however, because the practice is pervasive and many see the mother’s right to choose to nullify this person as superior to this person’s right to live.

Also, there are circumstances, such as incest and rape, when the mother is also an innocent victim. As such, she has the right to nullify this reminder of a crime against her.

Hence, we need laws to manage it, much like we need laws to manage legal drug use.

MaxMBJ on June 16, 2011 at 2:11 PM

So you would be in favor of making the killing of abortionist a second-degree murder, or possibly just manslaughter, because that person has good cause to believe they’re saving lives?

No you wouldn’t. You would be calling them kooks, not congratulating them on their logical consistency.

Yeah, I’m calling BS on your call of BS.

tom on June 16, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Uh, no. I said I think it should be illegal, not that it’s murder. I don’t believe that a slaughter akin to the Holocaust is happening. So, I’m fine with them getting arrested and processes, just like other criminals.

BocaJuniors on June 16, 2011 at 2:59 PM

When are you leaving for Dafur?

blink on June 16, 2011 at 9:52 AM

I’m not talking about people flying to Africa to stop the mass murder of innocents in another country. I’m talking about here, in your neighborhood, your city, your state.

BocaJuniors on June 16, 2011 at 3:17 PM

I don’t go around killing murderers of adults. I leave the punishment for murder to the state. Jail, execution, if accidental and under age, then maybe community service and parole. don’t know.

But I don’t go around exacting justice myself and killing murderers.

Elisa on June 16, 2011 at 11:04 AM

The police are already chasing those murderers. You don’t have to.

Here we have a group of doctors and businesses that, according to you and others here, are killing millons of human beings while the government stands by and does nothing. And what, you want to “change hearts and minds” while millions die? You don’t even want to engage in some sabotage of abortion clinics?

Okey-dokey.

BocaJuniors on June 16, 2011 at 3:17 PM

I said I think it should be illegal, not that it’s murder.

BocaJuniors on June 16, 2011 at 2:59 PM

On what basis should it be illegal?

catmman on June 16, 2011 at 4:57 PM

To arrive at their conclusion you have to believe that human life can somehow be sub-human. Ahhhhhhhh… History is replete with evil committed with sub human logic. America’s slavery experience and Nazi Germany’s Jewish slaughter. Just to name two.

However I’m sure all pale in comparison to Abortion.

roflmao

donabernathy on June 17, 2011 at 1:07 AM

I said I think it should be illegal, not that it’s murder.

BocaJuniors on June 16, 2011 at 2:59 PM

On what basis should it be illegal?

catmman on June 16, 2011 at 4:57 PM

Good question. I await the answer.

Elisa on June 17, 2011 at 1:24 AM

The police are already chasing those murderers. You don’t have to.

Here we have a group of doctors and businesses that, according to you and others here, are killing millons of human beings while the government stands by and does nothing. And what, you want to “change hearts and minds” while millions die? You don’t even want to engage in some sabotage of abortion clinics?

Okey-dokey.

BocaJuniors on June 16, 2011 at 3:17 PM

It is not the punishment that defines if something is murder or not. It is the act itself that defines itself as murder or not.

Some states execute murderers. Some states jail them. But even if we lived in the Wild West or some lawless society that did not punish or stop murderers, the act itself would still be murder.

If someone was randomly murdering adults in my state, I would try and protect my loved ones and neighbors and hopefully would act in self defense to stop one of them being murdered in my presence.

But if someone in my state had a business where people brought in their adult family members to be murdered and the state allowed this to go on without any punishment, then that would be a different situation. My neighbors and family would not be subject to these murders, so there would be no immediate self defense stance for me to take.

So my obligation would be as a citizen to join my voice and protest and prayers to the many others in my state who condemned the horrible practice and tried to have the state put an end to it, by any legal and moral means at my disposal.

On my own, I would have no power to jail the person. And if I murdered the person on my own, that too would be murder. And I am not a murderer.

But whether this business killed unborn family members or killed adult family members, it would still be murder.

Elisa on June 17, 2011 at 1:25 AM

Gosh, I am sure glad none of you were aborted against your will in the womb, because you sure have proved useful for this discussion.

We can’t say that for the 50+ million “womb casualties” though.

::

::

Question: If the mother has a right/free choice to take the life of a child in the womb, does a family member than have the right to sue for the grievance of not having a sibling, niece/nephew, grandchild, cousin or other relative?

If the abortion is botched and there are permanent damages to the body, does that body/person then have the right to sue the mother for damages when they become 18 years old?

See, I think the answer to both is yes.

:

The punishment phase of abortion has always been a question for me. What punishment matches the crime? The mother is taking a whole opportunity at life away after all.

I submit to you that the punishment phase then should the right or privilege by any other human being to sue the mother on an equal scale….that of compensation from her life resources that equals a whole life opportunity missed or essentially futile.

My reasoning here is that because abortion is almost never “aggravated murder” on the mother’s part, since that would necessarily require the mother to hurt her own body.
This of course means that a mother would hardly ever abort her child without the help from someone/something else hence the reason that the burden of punishment that matches the crime should be on those who assist abortion whether by direct hands-on or by tools/assistants such as an “abortion pill” etc. Those who assist in abortion other than the mother, by any means, would include of course the husband, boyfriend, doctor, nurse and etc., upon whom lies the greatest responsibility because they can/should be objective.

Mcguyver on June 17, 2011 at 9:10 AM

“Hal, what does that mean? What did we do wrong? We did nothing wrong.”

“Yeah, we did. We were supposed to fight for the people who couldn’t fight for themselves. We were supposed to fight for Willie all life.

Freelancer on June 17, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Full disclosure: I am pro life, but I believe the rare and drastic exceptions category. With that out of the way;

Question: For those of you that believe life begins at conception, what should be done with fertility clinics?

In the U.S. currently technicians fertilize 10 or more eggs which are screened for “imperfections” (which can be somewhat arbitrary) and diseases, and then they implant up to 2 eggs into the mother. When the parents feel they are done with their attempts to have children the clinic destroys the remaining eggs by flushing them down the sink. Parents can pay to keep them frozen on a monthly/yearly basis.

Q: Should parents or clinics be forced to pay to keep these eggs frozen indefinitely until numerous infertile women “adopt” them and have them implanted? Should any couple be forced to place their genetic line up for adoption? (Assuming it is an embryo and not a fetus)

My thoughts, if your answer is yes, is instead, for each IVF treatment only one egg should be allowed to be fertilized, and then implanted in the would be mother (two eggs if she signs a form saying she will not “cull” a second pregnancy if it occurs, but would you allow her to do so if it put her life in danger?)

Consequences of this would raise the costs of treatment exponentially and the success rates would drop, and fertility tourism to other states/countries would go up along with other issues most likely.

This also eliminates embryonic stem cell research, in lieu of adult stem cell research (that is fine with me)

If your answer is no to changing the process, but you are still pro life at conception, keep in mind the current process destroys hundreds of thousands of embryos each year.

scotash on June 17, 2011 at 3:59 PM

dieudonne on June 15, 2011 at 7:14 PM

I didn’t mean to mislead. I was paraphrasing what several catholic aquaintances had told me. I guess there is a disconnect between catholic doctrine and the beliefs of some adherents to that faith (i.e. the small group I know).

however, the phrase “straining at gnats” seems to apply when comparing the practical difference between a position of allowing for abortion in preference of the mother’s life and one of allowing for a doctor to “undertake a medical procedure that MAY have the result of terminating a pregnancy.”

Jens on June 17, 2011 at 8:11 PM

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