Historic Libertarian Plank on Women’s Rights

In 1982 the Libertarian National Convention added a plank on Women’s Rights to the Permanent Platform of The Libertarian Party. This plank was kept in the platform without change until the Libertarian National Convention of 1994.

19. WOMEN’S RIGHTS

“We hold that individual rights should not be denied or abridged on the basis of sex. We call for repeal of all laws discriminating against women, such as protective labor laws and marriage or divorce laws which deny the full rights of men and women. We oppose all laws likely to impose restrictions on free choice and private property or to widen tyranny through reverse discrimination.”

“Recognizing that each person must be the sole and absolute owner of his or her own body, we support the right of women to make a personal choice regarding the termination of pregnancy. We oppose the undermining of the right via laws requiring consent of the pregnant woman’s parents, consent of the prospective father, waiting periods, or compulsory provision of indoctrination on medical risks or fetal development. However, we also oppose all tax funding for abortions. It is particularly harsh to force someone who believes that abortion is murder to pay for another’s abortion. We also condemn state-mandated abortions.”

The plank on Women’s Rights was in the Libertarian Platform in 1988 when Ron Paul accepted the nomination for President of The Libertarin Party.

Added Paragraph in 1994

In 1994 the heading of the Plank was changed to 19. Women’s Rights and Abortion The plank was expanded by adding one additional paragraph:

“We oppose the fetal protection doctrine under which the state could require prenatal testing, require Caesarian births, require fetal surgery, require force feeding of the mother, jail pregnant substance abusers, bar home births, and bar pregnant women from working in unhealthy places and which would hold a woman legally liable — because of her diet or personal behavior — for having a damaged or deformed child. Under this doctrine, women could also be held liable for not aborting a damaged or deformed fetus.”

The Libertarian Party Plank on Women’s Rights and Abortion, as adopted in 1982 and expanded in 1994 provide’s a clear statement of the Libertarian Position on a Woman’s right to control her own body and her own life. In 1996 and subsequent conventions, the plank was modified. It provided less clarity, but The Libertarian Party remained on record in support of Freedom of Choice for Women until the Libertarian National Convention in 2022.

At the 2022 National Convention, the organized forces of the “Mises” Caucus voted to eliminate the plank altogether. A future convention will have the power to adopt a plank on the issue of Women’s Rights and Abortion.

Restore the 1994 Plank on Women’s Rights and Abortion

The 1994 Plank is a clear statement that mainstream Libertarians can united behind. It is one of the few planks in The Libertarian Platform that is in agreement with a majority of American voters. Libertarians should work to restore the 1994 Plank on Women’s Rights and Abortion.

Source for Plank: 1986 Platform (clearest print of 1982 plank) https://lpedia.org/wiki/Document:National_Platform_1986#20._WOMEN.27S_RIGHTS

1994 Plank: https://lpedia.org/wiki/Document:National_Platform_1994#19._Women.27s_Rights_and_Abortion

The full text of the Permanent Platform of The Libertarian Party, as modified every two years can be found @ https://lpedia.org/wiki/National_Platform

(by Gene Berkman, Editor, California Libertarian Report)

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