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The State’s Interest


After yesterday’s observation re Russian abortion rates that the state has a “compelling interest” in reversing those numbers, I’ve had a ton of mail from libertarian correspondents on the lines of the following:

By this logic, the federal government could conceivably (pardon the pun) force copulation in the name of self-propagation….

Under your reading of the constitution, is there anything that the federal government can’t do?

Well, I was talking about Russia. And, even if one approved of “forcing copulation”, the lesson of several Warsaw Pact regimes in their final years (when they realized the deathbed demography they were facing) is that even the most coercive dictatorships find it impossible to force the citizenry to have kids once they’ve lost the habit. If a people are as determined to self-liquidate as the Spanish and Germans are, in the end all one can do is say “Hasta la vista, baby!” Or, more accurately, hasta la vista, gran’ma.

But, by the logic of the uber-libertarians, the state should be neutral on abortion. It’s not: Governments throughout the western world approve of abortion, facilitate abortion and pay for abortion. Why? One can see why it might be in Vicki in Toronto or Helga in Frankfurt’s interest to have an abortion but why is it in the government of Canada or Germany’s interest? And what’s so libertarian about making Fred in Moose Jaw or Hans in Munich pay for it through their taxes?


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