Blogs > HNN > The Morning-after Pill and Property Rights

Sep 24, 2006 2:44 pm

The Morning-after Pill and Property Rights

Here's a letter I sent to the New York Times on 4/3/05; since it hasn't run, I figure it's safe to post it here.

The New York Times editorial board says it’s “intolerable” that anti-abortion pharmacists refuse to dispense birth control pills. I am as staunch a supporter of abortion rights as they come, but for the same reason I equally champion property rights: both represent the inalienable right of human autonomy. Just as no one should tell a woman how to dispose of her body, so no one should tell a businessman how to conduct his practice.

If one of his employees disagrees, that is between employee and employer, and if necessary, a court, to determine if a contract was breached. If outsiders disagree, we can disseminate local lists of where not to shop, and are perfectly free to shop elsewhere ourselves. The answer is not legislation, forcing our morals on others, but patronage, noncoercively using our principles to induce change.

Postscript (4/29/05): See this debate between David Boaz, Executive Vice President of the Cato Institute, and Judy Waxman, Vice President and Director of Health and Reproductive Rights at the National Women's Law Center.

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