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The Libertarian

Vin Suprynowicz

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Being a libertarian, I’m pro-choice -- and against government intervention -- in just about everything. Given the levels of privacy and intimacy involved, that certainly applies to people’s reproductive decisions.

Unfortunately, many who claim to be in favor of “abortion rights” -- and reproductive freedom -- can’t honestly say the same.

In a commentary published in the Aug. 26 Review-Journal, Annie Laurie Gaylor of the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation (cute) contended that -- 85 years after women gained the vote -- other rights of women are “in grave peril.”

Ms. Gaylor reports “Identified abortion providers are found in only 13 percent of counties nationwide, according to the National Abortion Federation. Since 1993, anti-abortion zealots have murdered seven abortion physicians, clinic workers, and volunteers as part of the campaign of terror and violence against abortion rights.”

Although the phrase “IDENTIFIED abortion providers” sounds a bit too carefully worded by half, this is Ms. Gaylor’s strongest stuff. The campaign to limit people’s freedom to make these choices as they see fit has indeed crossed the line from “mere” intimidation to murder and terror. For what does it mean to say we esteem freedom, if we tolerate the murder of those who simply make choices with which we disagree?

Just not for long.

Roe v. Wade “hangs by a perilous vote or two” and has been “chipped at” by such “onerous requirements” as parental notification and consent laws, she argues.

As a gun owner (with whom few short-sighted abortion rights proponents will make common cause, by the way -- do they really think they can safely pick and choose which constitutional rights we need to defend?) I’m well aware of the risks of allowing gradual conversion of any right into a “conditional privilege” under the guise of “one or two reasonable little restrictions.” I do tend to be an absolutist on rights, and would agree that even “modest” consent and notification laws are, indeed, infringements.

Though, practically speaking, should American parents ever be given a vote on whether it’s “onerous” for them to be informed their 14-year-old daughters are having abortions, I don’t think Ms. Gaylor is going to be real happy on election night.

Moving on, Ms. Gaylor next proceeds to whine “Two thirds of the states deny most abortion coverage to needy women.”

Hm. Remember how we were talking about standing against “government interference”? To honor a right of free choice is far different from offering “coverage” -- a cute euphemism for a tax subsidy. Is it an “onerous chipping away” of my right to own a gun if the taxman refuses to stick up my neighbor and buy me a nice Smith 29 with someone else’s money? Does my right to travel freely mean the government has to buy me a ride? Don’t I have a right to NOT pay for the abortions of others, if I so choose? (For the record, I do so choose, voluntarily donating both to Catholic adoption services and to Planned Parenthood. But it’s the “voluntary” part that counts.)

“These days, foes of abortion are increasingly targeting the right of contraception,” Ms. Gaylor wails.

Oh, please. What she actually refers to, here, is the battle over marketing the “morning-after pill” -- which I agree should be readily available, as should everything else necessary for complete self-medication by adults. (I doubt Ms. Gaylor agrees, though you’d think a spokesgal for the Freedom from Religion Foundation would oppose the anti-drug religion known as Sanitary Puritanism. But perhaps I’m wrong, and she WOULD join me in calling for pure morphine and cocaine in the supermarkets, without prescription. I mean, either you’re for medical liberty, or you’re not.)

At any rate, Ms. Gaylor’s alarmist wording here is cleverly designed to make the reader think the condom and the birth control pill are about to be banned.


Next? “A majority of states still do not require insurance companies that offer prescription coverage for Viagra ... to also cover contraception.”

In the first place, governments have no business “requiring” insurance companies to cover or not cover anything -- an unconstitutional intervention which REMOVES free consumer choice and drives up medical costs for everyone. (This did start out being about free “choice.” Wouldn’t that include being able to choose and custom-tailor my insurance coverage?)

But secondly, I called the folks at “Catalyst Rx,” and I’m told the Review-Journal’s health plan (just as a randomly selected example) DOES cover birth control pills, but does NOT cover Viagra, Cialis, etc. (Yes, that’s one anecdotal example. But that’s one more than Ms. Gaylor uses to back up her tired old sound byte.)

So it appears the prejudice here is working not against the convenience of women and couples who seek sterile sex, but specifically against impotent men who might want to father children, and the women who love them. This despite the fact that drugs like Cialis are far more expensive (at $10 per pill) and that -- when properly prescribed -- Viagra and Cialis treat an actual and psychologically devastating physical disease (erectile dysfunction), while birth control pills “treat” something which is not an illness at all (fertility) and can thus be far more easily argued to have no place under “health” insurance.

(That’s a far cry from saying the pill should be banned. Remember, I don’t even support “prescriptions,” a system of monopoly licensing through which the government treats us all as children. Sell ’em in Pez dispensers.)

In the end, Ms. Gaylor’s plea is little more than traditional Democratic scare talk, harping on the one tired threat (“Roe v. Wade is falling! Roe v. Wade is falling!”) which that party has found will keep women voters in line, and concluding with the pathetic contention that there should be a quota of at least four women on the nine-member U.S. Supreme Court -- as though Ms. Gaylor would really be happy if Phyllis Schlafly and Ann Coulter were appointed.

(You want quotas? Why aren’t three of the justices required to be avid shooters and gun owners? Why isn’t it required that two be active pot smokers? That six of them be under 40? Why isn’t one an exotic dancer, one a tattooed biker, one a cattle rancher, and one an Indian? These are probably BETTER indicators of truly diverse political views than the mere presence of ovaries, functional or otherwise.)

The problem with Roe v. Wade is that while the result is happy -- less restriction on reproductive freedom -- any high school kid could write a more eloquent and constitutionally relevant defense of these freedoms. How about:

“While a godly nation loves its children and its mothers, and should strive mightily to provide better alternatives -- from contraception to adoption to encouraging earlier marriage (perhaps by closing the government school system and ending legal childhood at 17) -- we find the right of a woman to obtain a safe, legal abortion in privacy to be one of the unenumerated rights guaranteed and protected by the Ninth Amendment. Related concerns are a matter for medical science and for spiritual guidance, rather than the proper affair of judges or the state.”

Reproductive rights are indeed important. That’s why we should not let them be held captive and bound up with calls for more redistributionist medical welfare funded by stolen tax loot, or by partisan shrieks that all is doomed unless we can come up with four lady judges, or that only by electing Democrats (those gun grabbers, those Fearless Drug Warriors) can we protect our “Civil Liberties.”

In fact, whether it’s the First (McCain-Feingold?) or the Second, the Fourth or Sixth or Ninth Amendment being gutted, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the two branches of the Incumbent Republicrat Party, and hasn’t been since 1936.