Harry Browne on Abortion

2000 Libertarian Nominee for President


Abortion is wrong; but no federal authority to deal with it

As for me, until science can demonstrate otherwise, I must err on the side of safety and assume that life begins at conception. Thus I believe abortion, at any stage of a pregnancy, is wrong-very wrong.

I also believe that turning to government to settle moral arguments is wrong-very wrong. And I believe that letting the federal government intrude where it has no constitutional authority is even worse.

Since the federal government has no constitutional authority to deal with abortion, I must oppose any federal activity in this area. I am certain that we abandon all hope of freedom if we abandon the Constitution’s limits on federal government. So as President I would have vetoed the “Woman’s Right to Choose” bill, the partial-birth abortion bill, and any other proposal from either side of the debate.

No matter what my personal feelings about abortion, it would be my responsibility to veto such proposals because the President takes an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution.

Source: The Great Libertarian Offer, p.219 , Sep 9, 2000

Return abortion to checkerboard of state laws

As president, I will have a litmus test: Does the judicial candidate believe absolutely that the federal government has no authority beyond the specific powers enumerated in the Constitution? Judges who pass the litmus test will recognize that the federal government has no business in education, health care, law enforcement, welfare-or abortion.

The judges I appoint will recognize that the Roe v. Wade decision was a judicial fraud-that five of the nine justices found it in their wishes, not in the Constitution. I expect the Supreme Court to overturn that ruling someday, so that the federal government no longer will set the rules for every state.

Instead, I expect to see a checkerboard of state [laws]. Some states may choose to outlaw abortion, and others might have few, if any, restrictions.

Do I believe the states should outlaw abortion? I do not, but why should my opinion matter? I’m only running for President, not Dictator.

Source: The Great Libertarian Offer, p.219-20 , Sep 9, 2000

No “War on Abortion”, despite his personal opposition

Q: What’s your position on abortion? Do you have a difference between your personal views and your political views?

A: I oppose abortion - strongly. So the last thing in the world I want is for government to start a War on Abortion. Given the record of its War on Poverty (which has escalated poverty) and its War on Drugs (which has expanded drug use and crime), a War on Abortion would probably result within five years in men having abortions.

Source: EVote.com on-line chat , Jun 14, 2000

No gov’t funding of abortion, but no prohibitions either

On abortion: Browne supports the principle of prohibiting public funding of abortions and public funding of organizations that advocate or perform abortions. He says, “Abortion is wrong but government prohibition would only make the problem worse. Not a federal government issue.”
Source: 2000 National Political Awareness Test , Jan 13, 2000

No govt imposition; encourage private alternatives

Abortion is a sensitive issue on which reasonable people can differ. We achieve nothing when we use a sloganized term to assert a position. To the “pro-choice” side we say: we will not let the government impose its way upon you. To the “pro-life” side we say: if you want to reduce abortions. work for less-restrictive adoption laws, [or] encourage private educational efforts to show young women the alternatives to abortion.
Source: http://www.harrybrowne2000.org/ “Abortion” 5/16/99 , Dec 1, 1998

The federal government should have no role in the matter.

“The federal government should have no role in the matter.” No views on legality; no views on waiting periods; no views on notification requirements.
Source: 1996 National Political Awareness Test , May 1, 1996

Abortion is wrong, but govt has no role in it

Until science can demonstrate otherwise, I must assume that life begins at conception. Thus I believe that abortion is wrong-very wrong. But the government that can’t win a War on Poverty or a War on Drugs isn’t going to win a War on Abortion.
An unfortunate fact of life is that there always will be abortions, just as there always will be people who misuse drugs, no matter what the laws are.
The only practical solution to either problem is a program of education and persuasion-undertaken by people, not government. I applaud the dedication and efforts of those who work so hard to dissuade young women from rushing into abortions, who arrange adoptions, etc.
So long as we wait for government to solve this problem, the abortion clinics will operate at full speed. And, if we have any respect for the Constitution, it surely isn’t a matter in which the federal government has any role-either to facilitate or stop abortion, or to prevent state governments from stopping them.
Source: Why Government Doesn’t Work, by Harry Browne, p.191 , Jul 2, 1995

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Page last updated: Oct 01, 2016