Kristan Hawkins

The heart of libertarianism is liberty of the individual, especially an individual’s right to not be harmed by the actions of another. One’s right to life is central to this—without it, there can be no liberty at all. The fact that the state is actually sanctioning abortion, the destruction of an innocent individual, should make it even more egregious to libertarians.

Human life begins at conception. That is an undeniable scientific fact. But in Roe v. Wade and its companion case Doe v. Bolton, which legalized abortion through all 9 months of pregnancy, the Supreme Court inserted itself as the final arbiter of what human life is and what it isn’t. This government intrusion on the laws of nature and inherent inalienable rights is an injustice against the individual – and an injustice against one is an injustice against all.

With legal abortion, the state discriminates against citizens based on a policy that creates two tiers of human beings: a superior class with rights and an inferior class without rights, based upon physical location.

Consider this thought experiment: Say a child was delivered and taken home from the hospital but then developed a rare condition requiring him to be placed back inside his mother for a short time so he could survive life-saving surgery. His mother willingly agrees, eager to save the life of her son. Was the child a citizen for the government to protect while outside of the womb but as soon as he went back into his mother's womb for the surgery was not? Of course not, the government should protect the child’s rights the entire time.

Now, you may ask, what about the rights of the mother? In a civil, libertarian-oriented society, all just laws are born out of the intersection of rights. When rights compete, a just law comes down in favor of the party that is the non-aggressor and is the most harmed. For example, I may have the right to punch my fist in the air, but when my knuckles connect with someone else’s nose, that right gives way to the rights of the person who has just been assaulted. The law weighs especially heavy in favor of those least able to advocate for themselves.

Abortion pits a mother's rights against the rights of her preborn child. Even if one accepts that a pregnant woman experiences a temporary, partial loss of liberty, abortion permanently and totally deprives the human fetus of his or her right to life and, consequentially, liberty. Because the child stands to be killed by the mother’s exercise of her rights, the preborn baby’s right to life must trump all others. When the state steps in and favors the aggressor, as was done in Roe, it is a tyrannical injustice.

It's hard to defend life and liberty once you accept that the government is denying it to preborn humans. So, for abortion-supporting libertarians, the question becomes: If you lose the respect for the sovereignty of individuals in the womb, how can you claim to have respect for the sovereignty of those outside of the womb?

These are the types of arguments we can use to “win Generation X/Y,” as the CPAC panel was supposed to address, before it was hijacked. Maybe next time CPAC can appoint a moderator who is actually a conservative, so we can have a more productive discussion about the future of our movement, without being told we are bigots who have to abandon our values.

Kristan Hawkins

Kristan Hawkins is the President of Students for Life of America, the nation’s largest pro-life youth organization with over 700 groups nationwide. She is author of the new book “Courageous: Students Abolishing Abortion in this Lifetime.”