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Libertarian perspectives on abortion

    A uniquely controversial issue, particularly in American politics, is abortion.
    Libertarian positions mirror those of other political views: Many libertarians believe that a woman's ownership of her own body, and therefore her right to control it, includes her right to terminate her pregnancy without any interference. Others believe the unborn child has a right to live, and believe that an abortion is the initiation of fatal force against an utterly helpless victim. Though not a libertarian philosophy, the Objectivism has considerable influence on libertarian thought, and falls into the former camp; the website AbortionIsProLife.com run by the Objectivist-influenced Capitalism Magazine is a good example of the "pro-choice" position about the rights of women.
    Of course, some libertarian thought goes beyond the standard Pro-Choice/Pro-Life debate. The abortion debate consists of multiple questions, including whether or not abortion should be illegal, at what level of government this should be enforced, whether or not there is a constitutional mandate one way or the other, and whether or not the government should fund abortions. The vast majority of libertarians are agreed on the latter question, at least, believing that government should not fund personal activity (especially activity of such a controversial nature). Harry Browne, the US Libertarian Party candidate for President for 1996 and 2000, took a view quite different from two major candidates. Browne believes that abortion is wrong, but there is no federal authority to deal with it. Furthermore, Browne has stated his opposition to Roe v. Wade.
    Many other libertarians likewise split from the usual answers. For example, some doubt not the authority or morality of goverment to pass laws against abortion, but the effectiveness of such laws. Abortion laws may turn out to be futile in stopping abortion, as drug laws are futile in stopping drug use. Others fear that an abortion ban would start a "War on Abortion"
    Many libertarians view the abortion issue as not dividing them as fiercely as the American mainstream, since libertarians have so much in common taken as a whole. Other libertarians view one's stance on this issue as absolutely vital, and may not view those with opposing views as holding true to libertarian values.

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    Adopted in Convention, May 2004, Atlanta Georgia