Wherein My Schadenfreude Takes on My Ideological Purity

Despite the title, I should make it clear that I oppose the proposed legislation in Arizona to allow warrant-less searches of  abortion clinics.  The stated justification for the law is to ensure safety and healthy conditions at clinics, but the law is transparently about harassing a particular type of business.

However,  I must admit I get some schadenfreude from this.  Supporters of the bill say that they are only extending the current standards applied to many other businesses, such as restaurants and bars, to abortion clinics.

Regulators from OSHA to the health department have tremendous powers to barge into private businesses and conduct searches without a warrant, whatever the text of the Fourth Amendment might say.  They justify this with licensing regimes that require these businesses to have state licenses, and then require businesses accept these extra-Constitutional searches as a prerequisite for the license.

I have opposed these licensing regimes for years, in part because the consumer protection justification is often a sham -- what they really want is to be able to exercise control of private businesses.  In some cases, these laws are used to protect incumbents.  In some cases (e.g. here) they are used to try to shut down the entire (legal) industry.

Statists on the Left have generally poo-pooed these concerns.  Their typical response is that businesses are just whining, and that only those in violation of the law have something to fear.  Now, they suddenly are recognizing that an unannounced search per se is threatening.

Update:  I find abortion proponents on the Left to be among the worst examples of faux libertarians.  They claim their issue is about choice regarding one's body, but then tend to simultaneously support all kinds of government interventions in personal medical decision-making.  They are all for the sanctity of private property when there is an abortion clinic on the site;  not so much otherwise.


  1. MNHawk:

    "One of the sponsors of the bill, Republican Representative Debbie Lesko,
    insisted that this is just an effort to hold abortion clinics to the
    same standard as every other type of medical facility in the state,
    which can be searched without a warrant at the direction of the state
    health department."

    If that's true, then so be it. Not the same standard as a bar, but the same standard as any other health facility. You can't ask for any more or any less.

  2. NL7:

    Everybody is a libertarian about the wonderful things they want to do, but a communitarian about the freakish things those other weirdos want to do. Which is why a person can believe in absolute freedom for 11-year-olds to get third-trimester partial-birth abortions without permission because of their right to control their bodies and their lives, and yet simultaneously believe that guns, pseudo-ephedrine, and trans fats must all be banned or heavily regulated to protect others' health. And a person on the opposite side can argue passionately for freedom to own unlimited high-rate-of-fire, high-capacity firearms without licensing or training, yet believe in strict licensing and training regimes for abortion clinics or for immigrants (where 'licensing' means visa and 'training' means English language).

    I happen to appreciate that this hypocrisy exists. At least it means that everybody is sometimes sympathetic to a libertarian argument (other than free speech, an issue in which most people seem to philosophically accept a libertarian perspective even when actively deriding free speech), so if you can frame an issue in a similar way, then they at least see some part of it.

    It's better than everybody being forthrightly authoritarian about it and just openly admitting the things they like should be subsidized and the things they hate should be prohibited.

  3. randian:

    Immigration isn't the same thing. If you don't restrict immigration, you do not have a country. If you want the US to be as violent and corrupt as Mexico, then by all means lets not prevent them from crossing the border.

  4. mahtso:

    I read the post above this one before I read this one and I was convinced that it is too late: the state is so heavily involved in regulating similar entities that we cannot turn back.

    More seriously, I can't say whether MNHawk is correct, but as a general proposition I do believe that pro-abortion folks work to exempt this medical procedure from the same rules that apply to most, if not all, other medical procedures.

  5. Scott:

    So with marriage, you don't like the government requiring licenses to marry, but since it does, we might as well extend those licenses to gays.

    Yet with abortion, you don't like the government requiring licenses to do business, but since it does, abortion clinics should be exempt.

    Where exactly does the ideological purity come into play?