Wednesday, November 30, 2005

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Abortion Case Today


The court is dealing with its first abortion case in five years, as well as the first in the brief tenure of Chief Justice John Roberts.

The case does not challenge the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that declared abortion a fundamental constitutional right, and the justices seemed to be seeking a compromise that would avoid breaking new ground.

Several said the law was flawed, because it requires that a parent be informed 48 hours before a minor child has an abortion but makes no exception for a medical emergency that threatens the youth's life.

So the Supreme Court is going to decide soon whether or not a New York state law that requires notification of parents 48 hours in advance of an abortion for a girl under 18 years of age is unconstitutional or not based on the emergency exemptions the law has (or doesn't have). I can only shake my head in disappointment. Disappointment that this law was even conceived (pun intended), disappointment that this law could be voted on in the first place, and extreme disappointment that this law was voted in by the majority of New Yorkers.

From a libertarian perspective, everything about this situation, from the law itself to the supreme court getting involved, is just plain wrong. First of all, any law that positively restricts the freedom of an individual is never permissible, and this law does exactly that. In addition, restricting the reproductive rights of a person simply because they are under an arbitrary age limit is absurd, inhumane, and positively evil.

Of course there is also the democratic aspect of this law. It was voted in by the majority of New Yorkers. This is a fine example of "tyranny of the majority" and it shows us why democracy, and voting, is a bad thing. In a popular voting system, individual rights can never be guaranteed; they are always at risk to the latest fad or emotion that the majority of people feel. In fact, in America, the only time individual rights are protected is when courts strike down stupid laws like these that get voted in by an idiotic populous. Popular vote did not give America Roe vs. Wade. Popular vote did not declare that separate is inherently unequal.

In a libertarian society with unalterable individual rights derived from natural law, this law would never have even existed, much less been voted on. A libertarian government would never have the ability, much less interest, in taking any kind of stand on abortion issues. In a libertarian society, things would be much more simple. A woman would be allowed to get an abortion, regardless of age, and without any notification being sent to her parents. If she wants her parents to know, she can tell them herself. It isn't the doctor's business, it isn't the government's business, and it sure as hell isn't the general population's business.

Coercion is never permissible in a libertarian meritocracy based on natural law, but in an American democracy it is. A democracy cannot guarantee the security and self-determination of its citizens. Only a non-democratic libertarian society can.

As long as popular voting exists, our rights will never be secure. And no clearer an example of this is needed when we see the reproductive rights of our daughters, sisters, and girlfriends being taken away from them.

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