There is a snarky pro-abortion bumper sticker that I have seen from time to time, and it reads like this. “Against abortion? Don’t have one.” I concede that it’s a pretty clever slogan, but the line actually amounts to an endorsement of moral anarchy. Libertarianism can never be an ultimate ethic, and no one would be able to tolerate it if it were tried as a matter of public policy.
If you don’t believe me, then consider a little thought experiment, and see if the bumper-sticker ethic really works. Try these on for size:
“Against wife-beating? Don’t beat yours.”
“Against rape? Don’t assault anyone.”
“Against murder? Don’t kill anyone.”
“Against slavery? Don’t own one.”
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that these formulations don’t work at all. Wife-beating, rape, murder, and slavery are not matters of private morality in which the state has no interest. All three instances are moral issues that relate to the sanctity and dignity of human life, and a just society will always enforce laws prohibiting each one.
In reality, the bumper-sticker is a dodge. When it comes to protecting innocent human life, we are not talking about a matter of preference. It has been and always will be a great evil to kill an innocent human being, and that’s the problem with the bumper sticker. It denies the humanity of the unborn. Anyone who would promote this kind of dodge is guilty of the same denial.