One of the fine folks at the superb Volokh Conspiracy (now hosted by Reason) did a yeoman’s job elucidating the libertarian position regarding the liberal/pro-abortion mantra “My Body, My Choice!” I’ve summarized and expanded on that list here. In summary, if you believe in “My Body, My Choice!” to the absolutist degree that the Left’s abortion hard-liners do (third-trimester elective abortion advocates, I’m talking about you) you should support the following:

  • Legalizing prostitution.
  • Ending the War on Drugs and legalizing all currently-illegal recreational drugs.
  • Removing all prohibitions against suicide, including assisted suicide.
  • Legalizing the sale of one’s organs.
  • Eliminating all sin taxes, including tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and sugary beverages.
  • Eliminating draft registration and mandatory jury duty.
  • Eliminating seat belt and motorcycle helmet laws.
  • Eliminating minimum wage laws; prohibitions against unpaid internships; vacation, sick leave, maternity/paternity/family leave; and all other employer-employee rules and regulations.
  • Reducing all municipal health departments’ authority over restaurants and bars to advisory, and eliminate their licensing, fining, and shuttering power.
  • Converting the FDA to an advisory/research organization, eliminating the prescription gateway, and not interfering with any person’s desire to take any medicine he/she wants. This includes birth control pills, which should be sold over-the-counter.
  • Removing all government regulations and prohibitions regarding surrogacy and the sale of sperm or unfertilized eggs.

We could extend the list to many other instances of government interference with free association, including economic association (e.g. public accommodation laws), but that’s not necessary to make the point. Excepting some pockets of agreement with the first couple items, it’s safe to say that most who identify as liberal (in the modern sense), left, and/or progressive (and all variants thereof) are broadly opposed to all these other forms of body autonomy.

It’s been long recognized that those on the Left have a vary narrow affinity for “choice,” limiting it almost entirely to pregnancy. So, the “My Body, My Choice!” mantra rings incredibly hollow, because its voicers are usually far more anti-choice than the people at whom they scream it.

This is true regardless of one’s views regarding when a fetus achieves personhood, which is the crux of the debate on abortion. Pro-lifers mostly assert this happens at the moment of fertilization. Pro-abortion absolutists hold that personhood only happens upon birth, and in some cases not even then (e.g. in the case of a failed attempt at a third-trimester abortion, where the baby is born alive, some are OK with killing that baby), and many strong advocates of abortion rights defend the right to elective abortion well after fetal viability. I don’t offer my opinion on this matter here, and I choose not to explore it further in this piece, because my intent here is to call for an honest and consistent application of “My Body, My Choice!” by its adherents.

If your advocacy for abortion rights is derived from “My Body, My Choice!” in near-absolute, no-room-for-caveats degree, I challenge you to explain your support for the current state of laws that restrict all the other aspects of bodily autonomy I listed above. If you won’t, if you continue to believe in prohibiting or limiting access to drugs, prohibiting prostitution and organ sales, imposing government regulation and restriction on the sale/purchase of foods, beverages, and intoxicants, mandating minimum wages and employment benefits, and all the rest, I reject your assertion of “My Body, My Choice!” as justification for maintaining the legality of abortion.

The ball’s in your court.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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