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)

Kansas Voters Defend Freedom

In the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade and ending Constitutional protections for abortion rights, conservative politicians in many states have moved to pass laws prohibiting abortion within their states. In some states, legislatures passed “trigger laws” before the Court ruling – laws that would go into effect if the Court ruled to end Roe v Wade.

In other states, legislators moved right after the ruling in Dobbs to pass new laws against abortion. And in some states conservatives relied on laws passed before Roe v Wade, but never repealed, which were then invoked.

In Kansas Republican politicians took a more extreme step. They qualified a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution that would declare that the Kansas Constitution does not guarantee a right to abortion, given the state government the power to prosecute individuals involved in abortion, and stated that the Kansas government is not required to fund abortions.

In 2019 the Kansas Supreme Court had ruled that the state Constitution protected a woman’s access to abortion. The Kansas Bill of Rights states that “all men are possessed of equal and inalienable natural rights.” The Court ruled that this clause includes “a woman’s right to make decisions about her body.”

In response the legislature voted to put the amendment – titled “Value Them Both” on the state ballot. The proposition was scheduled for a vote during the state-wide primary election, August 2, 2022. It was believed that some hot contests in the Republican primary would bring out many conservative voters; with few contested Democrat primaries, it was believed that turnout by moderate and liberal voters would be lower. It was also believed that non-affiliated voters – the largest part of the Kansas electorate – would not vote because they could not vote in candidate contests in the primary.

The Value Them Both amendment was backed by Catholic dioceses throughout Kansas, protestant evangelical groups, along with numerous opportunistic Republican politicians. Kansans for Constitutional Freedom (Kansansforfreedom.com) was organized as a nonpartisan coalition to oppose the amendment.

The Kansas Libertarian Party also supported a “No” vote on Value Them Both. https://lpks.org/2022/06/30/bodily-autonomy-resolution/

And Kansas Libertarians were active in the campaign https://lpks.org/2022/07/15/803/

In putting the proposed amenment on the ballot, the legislature clearly explained what the effect would be if Kansas voters rejected the amendment. The statement at the end of the ballot paper explained:”A vote against the Value Them Both Amendment would make no change in the Constitution of the state of Kansas, and could restrict the people, through their elected state legislators, from regulating abortion by leaving in place the recently recognized right to abortion.”

On August 2, polling places found themselves jammed with voters, including large numbers of non-affiliated voters who turned out just to vote against the anti-abortion amendment. In the first public vote on the abortion issue since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, the amendment to end abortion rights in Kansas went down to defeat.

It is clear that there was a large turnout in the Republican primary. More than 451,000 votes were cast in the Republican primary for Governor; the Democrat primary for Governor only saw 276,000 votes. In the Senate primary, Republican candidates received more than 464,000 votes; Democrat Senate candidates could only pull 226,000 votes. It would seem that the strategy of the anti-abortion conservatives should have succeeded, but it didn’t.

Not reflected in the votes for candidates in the partisan primary, large numbers of unaffiliated voters turned out, a clear majority of them to vote No on the Amendment. It would also appear that there were Republicans who still oppose government overreach. With current numbers, the Value Them Both Amendment is losing with 58% of voters voting NO.

The campaign against the Amendment was explicitly libertarian. The Los Angeles Times quotes Rachel Sweet, the campaign manager for Kansans for Constitutional Freedom:“Kansans across the political spectrum believe in personal liberty and freedom,” she said. “They understand that we must protect our constitutional rights and freedom to make private medical decisions, including those about abortion.”
https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2022-08-04/how-abortion-rights-were-won-in-conservative-kansas

The Times also mentions “In one ad, Kansans for Constitutional Freedom framed the measure as a “strict government mandate designed to interfere with private medical decisions,” and showed images that linked abortion restrictions to vaccine and mask mandates.”

In conservative Kansas, more people voted NO on the Value Them Both Amendment than voted for any Republican candidate in a contested primary. With 98% of votes counted, Derek Schmidt, victor in the Republican primary for Governor, has received 365,031 votes. With 98.2% counted, Jerry Moran won the Republican primary for US Senate with 374,994 votes (and counting). With 97.3% of votes tallied, 538,847 NO votes have been counted on the Value Them Both Amendment. A message to Republicans – in traditionally Republican Kansas, Abortion Rights are more popular than any Republican candidate.

A message to The Libertarian National Committee: in the first vote on Abortion Rights after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, the Libertarian message of personal freedom won an outstanding victory, with the support of Kansas Libertarians. Do you yet have any second thoughts about what you are doing to the Party of Liberty?

(By Gene Berkman, Editor, California Libertarian Report)

Rothbard, Branden discuss Cults

In the period after the publication of Atlas Shrugged in 1957, a young Murray Rothbard became involved in the Ayn Rand circle in New York. Rothbard brought several other young libertarians from his Circle Bastiat into the group.

Rothbard had been invited into the circle by Nathanial Branden after he wrote to Rand about how great her accomplishment was in writing Atlas Shrugged. Branden writes in Judgment Day:”The letter was movingly and beautifully written, profoundly insightful concerning what Ayn had accomplished in Atlas and full of what seemed like the most genuine appreciation and admiration. It was almost the model of an ideal fan letter, at the highest intellectual level.” (page 259).

It didn’t last. Rothbard came to see in the Ayn Rand circle what others came to see – acolytes looking up to a guru. After several months in the Ayn Rand circle, in a letter to Ludwig von Mises, Rothbard wrote that “the fanaticism with which they worship Rand and Branden has to be seen to be believed, the whole atmosphere being a kind of combination of a religious cult and a Trotskyite cell.” (quoted in Mises: the Last Night of Liberalism by Guido Huelsmann)

Nathanial Branden had his own reaction to Murray Rothbard:”Murray lived in New York and Ayn invited him to a meeting. While he clearly had striking intellectual gifts, I felt a stab of disappointment almost the first moment. fear and malice seemed to leap from his face.”

Soon Rothbard’s anarchism became an issue. Branden writes in Judgment Day (page 260): “We had a few debates with Murray about government and its necessity, which were initially calm and good natured. One evening he brought with him his own circle of friends —young students of economics, history and the like —all of whom were anarchists and all of whom, at least to my perception, had something of Murray’s manner about them, something fearful and given to sarcasm and hints of unidentified superiority. In appearance and style they were indistinguishible from any of the young socialists I had ever encountered.”

Objectivism and Libertarianism are both philosophies focused on individualism, and respect for individuality. Even such philosophies can lead to cult-like behavior. Murray Rothbard and Nathanial Branden have each warned us about cult behavior. It is up to us to protect our individuality and up to us to respect the individuality of others.

(By Gene Berkman, Editor, California Libertarian Report)

Murray Rothbard on Abortion

In the June 1971 issue of The Libertarian Forum, Murray Rothbard published a front page essay on libertarian strategy, titled How to Destatize. In this essay he looks at what libertarian activists were doing, and what libertarian activists were saying had to be done to bring about a free society.

After critiquing the “education” approach of right-wing libertarians, and the left-wing actions on May Day in 1971, Dr Rothbard looks at two victories for liberty in New York state – the end of rent control, and the legalization of abortion. New York state legalized abortion in 1970, three years after Gov. Ronald Reagan had signed a law to protect abortion rights in California in 1967. Rothbard credits the focus of the women’s movement on principle, and their willingness to act in support of principle, for pushing New York state to legalize abortion. Here is what he wrote in 1971:

“Abortion reform also had the ingredients of sound libertarian theory at work plus a crisis situation. The theory had been propounded for years by pro-abortion groups, but was accelerated recently by the fact that the Women’s Lib groups, in their raucous and annoying manner, had stumbled across a purely libertarian theory which they propounded with force and effect: that every woman has the absolute right to own and control her own body. The attention devoted to Women’s Lib by the media assured that the politicians finally were able to hear, not a wishywashy liberal plea for moderate abortion reform, but the “extreme” – and consistent – view that the State had no right to pass any abortion restrictions whatever.”

“While libertarian theory had been firmed up and spread more aggressively, a crisis situation was becoming ever more blatant: and this was the massive, non-violent civil disobedience of women and doctors who obtained their abortions illegally. And not only were increasing numbers of women and doctors willing to ignore the law; but others were increasingly willing to broaden the fuzzy zone that often exists between legality and illegality: for example, doctors willing to stretch the definition of “endangering the health of the mother”, which made abortion permissible. Furthermore, it was also becoming evident that, taking place as they did under conditions of illegality, the abortions were both unnecessarily expensive and unnecessarily dangerous. In the case of abortions, then, it was mass civil disobedience that brought about the crisis situation, while the spread of libertarian theory made the government more willing to turn· to the de-statizing solution, But not only theory: also the use of the theory to pressure the politicians, by petition, by noise, by threat of votes, etc.”

You can access The Libertarian Forum as PDF @ The Mises Instiute https://cdn.mises.org/Libertarian%20Forum_Volume_1.pdf (Scroll down to June 1971)

With the recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade, and the actions of the “Mises” Caucus at the Recent Libertarian National Convention, it is necessary to reassert the libertarian commitment to personal rights, including the right to privacy and the right to self-ownership.

(By Gene Berkman, Editor, California Libertarian Report)

 Without Roe v. Wade, Litigants Look to State Constitutions for Protection of Abortion Rights

Several state supreme courts already have recognized the right to terminate a pregnancy. Will more states join the list?

JACOB SULLUM | 6.30.2022 6:30 PM

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Abortion-rights supporters demonstrate outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 30, 2022.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee a right to abortion. But several state supreme courts have rejected abortion bans as inconsistent with state constitutional provisions, and current litigation over new restrictions seeks to enforce such precedents or create new ones.

Those lawsuits have met with some initial success in Michigan, where a judge ruled in May that the state constitution protects abortion rights, and Florida, where a judge said the same on Thursday. Some lawsuits do not claim constitutional protection for abortion rights but instead seek to delay implementation of “trigger” bans designed to take effect after the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 precedent that the Supreme Court repudiated in Dobbs. Here is a rundown of where things stand.

PRE-DOBBS DECISIONS

Alaska

In 1997, the Alaska Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the state constitution “protects reproductive autonomy, including the right to abortion.” The court cited Article I, Section 22 of the Alaska Constitution, which was adopted in 1972 and says, “The right of the people to privacy is recognized and shall not be infringed.”

The justices concluded that “a woman’s control of her body, and the choice whether or when to bear children, involves the kind of decision-making that is “necessary for…civilized life and ordered liberty.” They added that “our prior decisions support the further conclusion that the right to an abortion is the kind of fundamental right and privilege encompassed within the intention and spirit of Alaska’s constitutional language.”

California

In 1969, four years before Roe established a constitutional right to abortion, the California Supreme Court ruled that a state law allowing a woman to obtain an abortion only when it is “necessary to preserve her life” was so vague that it violated the right to due process. It said “a definition requiring certainty of death,” as urged by the government, “would work an invalid abridgment of the woman’s constitutional rights,” including “the woman’s rights to life and to choose whether to bear children.”

The justices reasoned that “the fundamental right of the woman to choose whether to bear children follows from the Supreme Court’s and this court’s repeated acknowledgment of a ‘right of privacy’ or ‘liberty’ in matters related to marriage, family, and sex.” They noted that “none of the parties who have filed briefs in this case have disputed the existence of this fundamental right.”

Complete Post by Jacob Sullum @ Reason https://reason.com/2022/06/30/without-roe-v-wade-litigants-look-to-state-constitutions-for-protection-of-abortion-rights/

Libertarian National Committee to Meet, July 3

The Libertarian National Committee will hold a zoom meeting on July 3, 2022. This will be the first meeting of the new Libertarian National Committee since the close of the Libertarian National Convention. More information on the meeting is available @ https://groups.google.com/a/lp.org/g/lnc-business/c/dU3V1LoI7QI

At the Libertarian National Convention, the new chair Angela McArdle promised that the LP would be bold in defending liberty. She promises that the Libertarian Party would not embarrass libertarians.

Now Ms McArdle has a chance to make good on those promises. The Supreme Court has just overturned Roe v Wade, allowing state governments to regulate or prohibit abortions for women who want to have them. For 50 years the Libertarian Party has been explicit in its support for a woman’s right to control her own body, including the right to terminate a pregnancy.

Prominent defenders of liberty have long supported a woman’s right to choose. Ayn Rand has spoken out and written against restrictions on abortion and birth control. Sen. Barry Goldwater stated his own belief that abortion should be legal. n 1967 Gov. Ronald Reagan signed the first law that protected a woman’s right to abortion. In his essay in the June 1971 issue of Libertarian Forum on “How to Destatize,” Dr Murray Rothbard pointed to the campaign to legalize abortion in New York as an example of how to cut state power.

Now is the time for The Libertarian Party to stand with those who defend a woman’s right to freedom and body autonomy. The recent national convention adopted a plank on body autonomy, denouncing government rules on what Americans can do with their own body. We can hope that the LNC, inspired by the new plank, will adopt a strong statement in support of a woman’s right to choose, and a strong stand againsts thoses states – and those statists – who would control people’s bodies through violent coercion.

Don’t embarrass us, Angela!

Independent Candidate for Lt. Governor

Since California adopted its “top-two” primary system, replacing partisan primaries, almost all November elections have featured two candidates from the major parties, and no independent or third party candidates.

The weakness of the Republican Party in California has even resulted in elections with two Democrats facing each other in November. That was the case in the US Senate races in 2016 and 2018.

The weakness of the Republican Party has also lead to some Republicans quitting the party and running as independent candidates – on the ballot they are listed as having No Party Preference. In 2018 former Republican Steve Poizner ran for Insurance Commissioner as a No Party candidate. He received 47% of the vote, running ahead of the Republican candidates for all other statewide offices.

This year, voters will have the chance to vote for No Party candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney-General and Insurance Commissioner. In this post, I want to briefly introduce the NPP candidate for Lt. Governor.

David Hillberg is running for Lt. Governor on a conservative platform. He lists his policies on his site:

1. Return to the State to Constitutional Rule. 

2. Elected representatives must represent the people, not special interests. 

3. Hold elected officials accountable for unlawful actions. 

4. Seek restoration for citizens who have been hurt by government overreach and mandates. 

5. Ensure politicians are introducing bills and or policies that benefit the citizens and restricted by the Constitution. 

6. Restore law and order. 

7. Resolve the homeless crisis. 

8. Protect veterans and those who are currently serving our country. 

9. Full parental rights. 

10. Medical freedoms for all, not just the elites. 

He claims that the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has endorsed him, but I have not found a confirmation of this claim. For more information, go to https://www.davidforltgovernor.com/

(By Gene Berkman, Editor, California Libertarian Report)

Jack Guerrero for California Treasurer

Cudahy City Councilman Jack Guerrero is running for California Treasurer on a platform of defending taxpayers and investigating the financial excesses of state and local governments in California.

“As Mayor of his hometown city, Jack worked with the California State Controller to expose millions of dollars in wasteful and unlawful spending. As a former pension auditor and one-time university lecturer in statistics, Jack understands the severity of the state’s unfunded pension liability which at nearly $500 billion, threatens the long-term financial stability of the state! Jack will EXPOSE this mismanagement by reckless politicians. Jack will safeguard state assets and advocate for policies that place citizens FIRST, including lower taxes, smaller government, and a prosperous California economy.”

“Mr. Guerrero’s passion for justice extended to education initiatives, when (as Mayor) he did the unthinkable:  He held public hearings on the quality of education in local public schools! He successfully advocated for local school reform, organized parents, and demanded change in one school’s administration.”

Jack Guerrero ran for California Treasurer in 2018, coming in third place in the top two primary. This year, Jack Guerrero faces the incumbent Democrat, Fiona Ma, along with one other Republican, and a Peace & Freedom Party candidate. In June, if Jack can come in second this time, he will face the incumbent in November.

Jack Guerrero was educated as an economist, and he has worked as a consultant to Fortune 500 corporations in California, New York and Europe. He us a CPA and has audited government agencies at the state and local level.

His views on economics and politics are based on his education. He has included on his website a list of books that have influenced him:

  • The Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith
  • Principles of Political Economy and Taxation” by David Ricardo
  • Human Action” by Ludwig von Mises
  • The Road to Serfdom” by Friedrich von Hayek
  • Capitalism and Freedom” by Milton Friedman
  • Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand
  • The Conscience of a Conservative” by Barry Goldwater
  • Democracy in America” by Alexis de Tocqueville
  • Witness” by Whittaker Chambers
  • Ideas Have Consequences” by Richard Weaver
  • The Conservative Mind” by Russell Kirk
  • Reflections on the Revolution in France” by Edmund Burke
  • On Liberty” by John Stuart Mill
  • The Federalist Papers

There are no Libertarian Party candidates on the California ballot for any statewide offices this year. The best opportunity for California Libertarians in this election is to get behind the campaign of Jack Guerrero, Republican for Californias Treasurer.

For more information, or to contact the candidate, go to https://www.jack4treasurer.com/

(By Gene Berkman, Editor, California Libertarian Report)

Libertarian Party Statement on First Anniversary of U.S. Capitol Riot

The following is a statement released by the Libertarian Party recognizing the anniversary of the January 6, 2021 Capitol Riot…

It was on this day last year that months of lies and provocation created a powder keg that culminated in the violent and embarrassing insurgence at the U.S. Capitol, sadly resulting in loss of life.

While January 6, 2021 is remembered for the actions of right-wing rabble-rousers, perpetuating hate and stoking division is hardly a habit limited to the GOP. Both establishment parties actively expand the rift in our society, pushing many to the brink of violence.

Sadly, those intent on leading this country appear to have learned no lessons from the events of Jan 6th.

Initiating violence runs counter to seeking a world of peace and liberty. It is perhaps for that very reason that so many Americans are no longer able to find a home in the Republican Party or the Democratic Party.

Despite every attempt by the duopoly to keep competition and any alternative voices out of the political conversation for decades, Americans are realizing that they do not want to live in fear and anger – and realizing that there is another way.

The Libertarian Party does not offer an option for those who want to demonize their fellow humans; we do not offer a place where nuance is rejected and thoughts or opinions must conform to the whims of one man or woman.

What we offer is a commitment to defending each person’s right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and a rejection of the use of force to achieve political or social goals.

Libertarians stand on principles derived from mutual respect between individuals. We seek peace for all people and believe that only through real freedom can peace be realized.

This past year, we have all come to ask, “What has our country become?” Let’s turn our focus to what our country is to be.

Let January 6, 2022 be remembered for something very different. Make this the day that you reject those who exploit us to attain more power. Reject the establishment parties once and for all, and join us in bringing forth a future of liberty and of peace.

More information on The Libertarian Party @ http://www.lp.org

Hot Air Report:”Libertarian Party organizes national park cleanups”

Republicans and Democrats may be sniping at each other over the partial government shutdown, but it’s the Libertarian Party which is putting words to action. Libertarians have organized multiple national park cleanups over the last week to show maybe the government isn’t needed to provide services.

Libertarian Party National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark sees it as a real opportunity.

“As Libertarians, we advocate replacing federal taxpayer funding for many services with private charity or privatization. We wanted to show how this could be accomplished by volunteering in our local communities. We know that people are inherently generous with their time and energy. We want to set an example by calling on the public to join us in maintaining our beautiful parks and landmarks this weekend and throughout the government shutdown.”

The first cleanup was organized last Sunday with LP members, libertarians, anarchists, agorists, voluntarists, and more gathering at the National Mall in Washington D.C. do trash pickup and more. The interesting part about the project is it was inspired by a Facebook post on LP Membership Manager Jess Mears’ wall following media reports saying trash was piling up in the parks because of the partial shutdown.

Mears took it from there, creating a Facebook event which ended up drawing in a few dozen volunteers. She told me it was really worth taking time out of a Sunday to clean up the mall.

Full Report by Taylor Millard @ Hot Air https://hotair.com/archives/2019/01/13/libertarian-party-organizes-national-park-cleanups/