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Are you pro-death or anti-choice?

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Aquila Posted: Fri, Feb 19 2010 12:34 PM

I frequently encounter the assumption that libertarians, being broadly opposed to government involvment in most everything, must support abortion "rights." Just as frequently, I am appalled by it.

 

The "right" to terminate a fetus implies that the fetus is the property of the mother. Thus, the only feasible reason a mother should be stopped from having an abortion would be if the fetus is no longer her property and has become an individual entitled to individual rights and thus worthy of homesteading his or her own body.

 

The point in question, therefore, should not be "A woman has the right to do what she wants with her body," for this is a straw man. The government has absolutely no control over the person or property of women or anyone else--all individuals own their own bodies. The term "reproductive rights" is absurd, there is no such thing (just as there are no "women's rights," or "minority rights," or any other type of group-based distinction in regards to natural rights). There are only individual rights, and all of these apply to all individuals regardless of which groups they belong to. No true libertarian contests this point. Rather, the question should be, "Who (or what) qualifies as an individual," or in other words, "At what point does a fetus become a human being and thence worthy of acquiring its own body as property?" For if we vest in government a monopoly on violence, then it is the government's primary duty to protect property and prevent individuals from exercising violence against each other. It follows from this that the minarchist government is entirely justified in forbidding the practice of killing a fetus/toddler/child/teen/adult/senior or at whatever point humans become human.

 

 A human being is entitled to human rights regardless of how much it weighs or how human it looks or where it is located (that is, inside or outside of its mother's womb). But this is an utterly stupid thing to say, for it takes for granted that a fetus is indeed human, something entirely impossible to prove, because there are no objective criteria for the determination of humanity. So perhaps we should just legalize all abortion. But this is equally absurd, for if a human, blob of cells, or whatever the hell it is becomes a human at some point inside the womb, then a mother is committing parricide by killing her child. The government has a duty, a mandate to protect children from being murdered by parents (or anyone from being murdered by anyone, for that matter). But this is equally absurd, for we do not know with any degree of certainty that abortion of any sort is parricide, and one cannot prosecute on speculation. But speculation is all we have, and by legalizing abortion we risk legalizing parricide, and thus preventing fetuses from living out the rest of their lives.

 

So, when is the point at which a human becomes a human and is thus endowed with natural rights? Is it when 23 male chromosomes combine with 23 female chromosomes at fertilization? Is it when the fetus begins to take the form of a human? Is it at the first heartbeat, first brainwaves first breath, first meal, first steps, first words, first slice of bread consumed, first job acquired, first STD acquired, first signs of balding, first signs of dementia, first (insert arbitrary criterion)? The problem is that we have no objective means by which to determine at which point a person acquires individual rights and thence becomes entitled to the protection of his body from external harm by others--that is, from a violation of his property rights. We cannot have no standards whatsoever whereby we may reach a conclusion. If society is to function with any degree of sanity, we have to have some standard of who is a person and who is not.

 

Taking all this into consideration, it is perfectly understandable that reasonable, intelligent people disagree and will continue to disagree on the issue of abortion. I have to admit that this understanding has led me to sympathize with both sides. In spite of this, I respect neither, for neither recognizes the points I am making here as valid. Both continue to spout vain and presumptuous arguments in order to avoid a nihilistic hopelessness surrounding this issue (humans seem to despise uncertainty). It is my current state of mind that the agnostic approach is the most rational--that is, an approach of Socratic ignorance that takes claims from all fronts with equal skepticism and challenges them all with equal vigor. I simply do not see how any universal ethical principle (NAP) can apply to abortion, an issue with profound metaphysical questions that are impossible to answer with certainty by their very nature.

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Good post. I'm an anarchist (as I think you'll find with a great many people on these forums) and I consider that up until about 6 months I have no problem with abortion after that.... Well... I start running into some problems but quite frankly I'd just as soon have the state step out of the whole thing.

In a stateless society however I would be interested to see how the market would handle such a situation.

"Lo! I am weary of my wisdom, like the bee that hath gathered too much honey; I need hands outstretched to take it." -Thus Spake Zarathustra
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Bert replied on Fri, Feb 19 2010 12:55 PM

It seems like an abortion thread has to pop up at least once a week now.

I had always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way. - Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols
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Aquila replied on Fri, Feb 19 2010 1:34 PM

It's a sticky issue, and venting on it is good therapy.

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Bert replied on Fri, Feb 19 2010 1:44 PM

It's actually rather repetitive for a new thread on abortion to come up when there already is a current thread on the same exact subject.

I had always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way. - Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols
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xahrx replied on Fri, Feb 19 2010 2:13 PM

Aquila:
The "right" to terminate a fetus implies that the fetus is the property of the mother.

No, it doesn't.  It implies her body is her property, which it is, and she gets to say what stays and what doesn't, including the fetus.  The fetus more often than not dies as a result.  However, a grown human being may be put in dire straits and indeed die if evicted by their landlord.  Does that mean the landlord has to suffer their presence on his property?  Evict a tenant in the middle of northern winter with no town nearby and no where to go, and you've as good as killed him.  Does doing this make the landlord a prick?  Sure.  Does doing it mean the landlord is an ethically and morally depraved piece of shit?  Depending on how extreme the circumstances, sure.  But it doesn't mean the tenant gets to violate the landlord's right and stay their against his will.

Same for the mother and the fetus.  Does the fact that the fetus will likey die if she 'evicts' it make her morally and ethically questionable?  Sure, and that is the case no matter the circumstances of the conception too since the fetus has nothing to do with that and is a mere consequence of those circumstances.  However, that she may be a depraced bitch doesn't give anyone the right to stop her from using her property at her discretion, especially her body.

Libertarian answers to this problem would be: shun the woman.  Don't employ her if you don't want to, don't serve her as a customer if you don't want to.  Don't see her socially if you don't want to.  Don't see others who socialize with her if you don't want to.  Actively try to convince such women and others that abortion is wrong.  Try to facilitate and make easier other options so such women will be more likely to carry the child to term.  Donate money to people looking for ways to help premature babies survive and thrive, so women who don't want them can have the option of 'evicting' them without them dying as a result.  The social pressure you and others would be able to exert on such people would be, I believe, tremendous.  I think Hoppe has touched on this a bit when he's looked at the consequences of natural order and came to the conclusion that smaller group units would tend toward conservativism or some other such thing.  It's been a while since I read the bit.

Between the mix of social pressure and pumping up alterantives where the fetus doesn't die or is carried to term and given up for adoption, I think you'd find far fewer abortions than now.  Especially since, under those circumstances it's no longer the purview of the government to guarantee a woman's 'right' to abortion, so it's no longer a political football.  Individuals act differently than groups.  I'd wager that a lot of the women in the pro choice group are themselves opposed to abortion on an individual level, or at least not as ridiculously dismissive about it as the I'm-Just-Removing-Tissue crowd.  Take away the group/political feminist aspect of this issue and I think you'll find individuals would act far differently when presented with women who have had abortions, and when presented with the choice themselves.  And they'd feel more free to express and act upon negative feelings toward abortion if they also didn't constantly have it framed for them as the ultimate Woman's Right, etc., etc., etc., etc.

I any event, the woman's body is the property over which she is exerting control, not the fetus.

EDIT: I'd also add this,

As a libertarian, minarchist, lapsed anarchist, or whatever you want to label them, I feel opposition to the death penalty is obligatory.  If the state should not be controlling people, then under no circumstances should it ever exert the ultimate control over someone's life by ending it.  When individuals are called to act we all value things differently, including life.  I'd say a person who supports the death penalty might be less inclided to do so if they had to mete out the punishment personally.  Likewise for current prison sentences.  People who say, "screw conditions in the jails, they made their choices," and other such things, or apologists for petty tyrant sherifs and law enforcement abuses, are far less likely to take that position when it's someone they love or themselves in the state's crosshairs.  They'd likely talk a big game but go limp when confronted with the reality.  A good example is Bernard Kerick.  This guy sent Christ knows how many nonviolent offenders up the creek in NY under the Rockafeller Drug Laws for ridiculous amounts of time, and then Karma be praised an overzealous prosecutor got his number and the guy started to lose his mind in jail.  Much as I hate the state, I couldn't help but smile to see even just a fraction of the pain and sufferring this prick delivered to others delivered back to him.

The overall point being, groupthink, grouptreatment, etc., all tend to devalue things it seems.  Life, credit, property, wages, etc.  Once it's the subject of group or majority action, whatever 'it' is, the group always seems to assign a value to to it far less than what individuals would.  Stealing is okay if it's done by a group and called taxation.  But tell a neocon if he wants a strong defense he has to physically take the cash from his neighbors and he'll think twice.  Likewise for death penalty proponents, tell them to strap their own mothers into old sparky and throw the switch and they think differently, all of a sudden the death penalty and the inevitable innocents who would be killed doesn't seem like such a good idea.  Likewise with abortion, I say if you make the woman's ability to use her body as she see's fit a matter of group decision making you will devalue everyone's right to use their own bodies and property, including the prospective rights of the fetuses.  As an individual a woman is more inclided to see the fetus as her baby.  When subject to group think and group decision making, that potential for life becomes something less.  Tissue to be removed, an inconvenience to be endured, a political issue to be supported, etc.  And I would say this is the case regardless of whether or not the law allows or prohibits abortion because the key isn't the judgement itself, but the extension of the power of the government over the issue, and the implicit usurping of the individual and their ability to decide for themselves either way.

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Aquila replied on Fri, Feb 19 2010 2:31 PM

xahrx:

Aquila:
The "right" to terminate a fetus implies that the fetus is the property of the mother.

No, it doesn't.  It implies her body is her property, which it is, and she gets to say what stays and what doesn't, including the fetus.  The fetus more often than not dies as a result.  However, a grown human being may be put in dire straits and indeed die if evicted by their landlord.  Does that mean the landlord has to suffer their presence on his property?  Evict a tenant in the middle of northern winter with no town nearby and no where to go, and you've as good as killed him.  Does doing this make the landlord a prick?  Sure.  Does doing it mean the landlord is an ethically and morally depraved piece of shit?  Depending on how extreme the circumstances, sure.  But it doesn't mean the tenant gets to violate the landlord's right and stay their against his will.

Same for the mother and the fetus.  Does the fact that the fetus will likey die if she 'evicts' it make her morally and ethically questionable?  Sure, and that is the case no matter the circumstances of the conception too since the fetus has nothing to do with that and is a mere consequence of those circumstances.  However, that she may be a depraced bitch doesn't give anyone the right to stop her from using her property at her discretion, especially her body.

Libertarian answers to this problem would be: shun the woman.  Don't employ her if you don't want to, don't serve her as a customer if you don't want to.  Don't see her socially if you don't want to.  Don't see others who socialize with her if you don't want to.  Actively try to convince such women and others that abortion is wrong.  Try to facilitate and make easier other options so such women will be more likely to carry the child to term.  Donate money to people looking for ways to help premature babies survive and thrive, so women who don't want them can have the option of 'evicting' them without them dying as a result.

I any event, the woman's body is the property over which she is exerting control, not the fetus.

A very well reasoned argument. I did, however, perceive a flaw in your understanding of the act of abortion. Far from being an act of eviction similar in nature to a landlord throwing out tenants who violate their contract by not paying rent, the act of abortion implies the direct slaying of a living creature. Regardless of whether  this creature can be defined as "human" and thus entitled to not be murdered by another human, the process of dissolving this creature with a saline solution or suctioning it from its mother's womb is an active method of killing and should not be viewed as a simple act of eviction.

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Cabal replied on Fri, Feb 19 2010 2:55 PM

Yeah, I'm libertarian (ancap), and I do not support abortions which would take place at, during or after the fetus stage. The embryonic stage is acceptable to me, but once the embryo becomes a fetus, I view abortion as initiation of aggression (so long as the pregnancy doesn't directly and definitely endanger the mother's life). This gives the mother 8-11 weeks after conception to make a rational choice to abort or continue with the pregnancy. There's no reasonable explanation as to why the mother should suddenly decide to abort after 2 months time; not that I have heard, anyhow. I also consider the fact that the mother allows the child to become a fetus a formation of a contract between the fetus and the mother; thus, by aborting the mother also violates a contract.

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xahrx replied on Fri, Feb 19 2010 3:29 PM

Aquila:
A very well reasoned argument. I did, however, perceive a flaw in your understanding of the act of abortion. Far from being an act of eviction similar in nature to a landlord throwing out tenants who violate their contract by not paying rent, the act of abortion implies the direct slaying of a living creature.

This is true in some but not all cases.  I'd grant it's the vast majority of them though.

Aquila:
Regardless of whether  this creature can be defined as "human" and thus entitled to not be murdered by another human, the process of dissolving this creature with a saline solution or suctioning it from its mother's womb is an active method of killing and should not be viewed as a simple act of eviction.

I would disagree and pose this question: does the 'landlord' lose the right to evict people if the act itself means killing them, whether it's directly or as a consequence of their eviction?  I'd pose two situations:

One, a guy invites a person in from a bad storm (consenusual sex), or the person breaks in to escape the storm (conception via rape).  Eventually the guest becomes such a burden the person decides to evict them, or the property owner finds them and throws them out.  There's no shelter within miles, the person will surely freeze to death.  Second situation the same, but the 'tenant' sets up house, has weapons, and actively resists the attempts to remove him.  In either situation at what point does the property owner lose the right to evict trespassers?  In the situation where the guest was invited in, at what point does the property owner lose the right to revoke the invitation?  And if the answer to both questions is that the property owner retains that right no matter what, what's the difference between that and abortion?  One might say the helplessness of the fetus, grant that and posit a mentally retarded 'house guest', again what's the difference?

What I think you're missing, and what I think Cabal is missing too, is that the property owner retains the right to determine how their property is used, and aggression/nonaggression is determined relative to that.  Once the woman decides she doesn't want the pregnancy the fetus that doesn't voluntarily leave is an aggressor.  Granted it's not via intent, and it does not have the ability to leave or respond to the woman's wishes because of mental capacity, and the circumstances of leaving would put it at severe risk if it could and did.  But as with the above situations, so what?  Again, ethically and morally I'd question a person who tossed a retarded kid out into the cold to freeze to death.  Likewise the idea of late term abortions and abortions in general for other than health reasons sickens me.  But does the woman have the right to do it is the question at issue, not whether or not she's a depraved asshole.

And legally the rest of the laws regarding murder would I think have to apply to be consistent with saying a woman doesn't have a right to an abortion, what about miscarriages?  Would they qualify as manslaughter or criminal negligence of they could be somehow tied to the woman's behavior?

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Cabal replied on Fri, Feb 19 2010 3:53 PM

xahrx:
Once the woman decides she doesn't want the pregnancy the fetus that doesn't voluntarily leave is an aggressor.  Granted it's not via intent, and it does not have the ability to leave or respond to the woman's wishes because of mental capacity, and the circumstances of leaving would put it at severe risk if it could and did.  But as with the above situations, so what?  Again, ethically and morally I'd question a person who tossed a retarded kid out into the cold to freeze to death.  Likewise the idea of late term abortions and abortions in general for other than health reasons sickens me.  But does the woman have the right to do it is the question at issue, not whether or not she's a depraved asshole.

I disagree. The fetus can't voluntarily leave, as you ceded--so how can this be considered aggression. It physically cannot leave, it isn't purposefully staying to infringe upon the rights of the mother. If my Toyota's gas malfunctions causing my car to hit a pedestrian, did I initiate aggression? If I had any choice in the matter, I wouldn't have hit the pedestrian. The mother, on the other hand, has plenty of choices.

She has the choice to engage in safe or unsafe sex. She has the choice to learn of her pregnancy almost immediately after conceiving. She has the choice to abort that pregnancy prior to the fetus forming. And she has the choice to consider abortion or birth for at least 8 weeks time.

If she makes these choices, and allows the embryo to become a fetus, this amounts to acceptance of a contract to me. Since the mother has not aborted or taken proper precautions against pregnancy, she has essentially invited the fetus to remain for as long as it needs, until it is ready to be born. Since there is no other means of communication or understanding between mother and fetus, then this contract seems legitimate to me, and should be upheld. The fetus has not initiated aggression against the mother, it hasn't had a choice in anything so far.

Suggesting that the mother is justified in aborting a fetus because her body is her property, is no different than suggesting it is just for a mother to murder her 2 year old because her home is her property, IMO. There is contract there too, just like the contract between mother and fetus, is there not?

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Aquila replied on Fri, Feb 19 2010 4:39 PM

I appreciate your point xahrx, even though it makes me feel uncomfortable to speak of the child as if it was an aggressor or parasite. But let us assume that it is…

By acknowledging that the fetus is a parasite, you acknowledge that it is a separate and distinct organism from the host. The abortionist and the host mother actively conspire to kill the parasite. Whether or not this “killing” may be further sub-categorized as “murder” (that is, illegitimate killing) depends entirely upon the status of the parasite. If the parasite is human, then abortion is murder. If the parasite is not human, then abortion is merely an act of killing and does not violate the NAP and therefore should not be illegal.

 

This leads us to the ultimate unanswered (and, I would argue, unanswerable) question surrounding the issue of abortion: At what point does the fetus become a human?

And legally the rest of the laws regarding murder would I think have to apply to be consistent with saying a woman doesn't have a right to an abortion, what about miscarriages?  Would they qualify as manslaughter or criminal negligence of they could be somehow tied to the woman's behavior?

 

This strikes me as being a bit silly but you do have a point. If abortion is murder, then logically it would be necessary to investigate miscarriages to see if they were induced by a mother who desired to have an abortion. I admit that enforcing abortion laws would be extremely difficult and have many unfortunate complications (namely, criminalizing the mother and forcing her into the black market).

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xahrx replied on Fri, Feb 19 2010 5:23 PM

Cabal:
I disagree. The fetus can't voluntarily leave, as you ceded--so how can this be considered aggression. It physically cannot leave, it isn't purposefully staying to infringe upon the rights of the mother. If my Toyota's gas malfunctions causing my car to hit a pedestrian, did I initiate aggression? If I had any choice in the matter, I wouldn't have hit the pedestrian. The mother, on the other hand, has plenty of choices.

I see your point and acknowledge it, but the real issue is not whether or not the fetus can leave, but whether or not the woman or landlord can exercise their property right by removing the fetus or tennant regardless of whether or not the tennant wants to leave or even can leave without dying.  You could posit endless scenarios where the 'tennant' couldn't leave for practical reasons, safety reasons, or anything else under the sun really, right up to the point of them being tied to some extreme life support system such as the fetus is in the womb.  In all the situations the person's ability to leave isn't really the issue.  It certainly plays into the moral and ethical judgement of the person doing the evicting, but does it affect their ultimate right to evict?  I say no, I can't see how it would affect that right.  I can say that should a person do such a thing to a helpless person, I'd do everything ethically, morally, and legally in my power to make that guy's life a living hell for doing that to someone and I'd let them know that's what they're in for, but I don't see how I can be consistently for property rights and yet stop them from evicting anyone from their property under any circumstances, be it their house or their body.  And remember the issue isn't whether or not it's a nice thing to do, whether or not the fetus is innocent, or whether or not the aborting mother/landlord is an asshole for doing the evicting.  That's up to your own judgement and values.  The issue is the rights involved of all property owners in the situation.  Even granting the fetus owns itself from the moment of conception, I still see no other option but the woman having the right to take it out whenever she wants.

Cabal:
She has the choice to engage in safe or unsafe sex.

Just as any landlord has a choice whether or not to accept or reject a potential tennant.  This plays to the rape option I posited earlier too, where the woman doesn't have such a choice.  Whether another person enters your property with or without your consent is irrelevant as to whether or not you have the right to throw them out at any subsequent point.  Now here's a possible libertarian answer to the issue: suppose a common law standard is reached that an invitation to a tennant does cede certain rights to them in terms of how and when they can be evicted.  What's stopping this from applying to the fetuses out there?  They don't need to advocate for themselves, they just need advocates of which there are plenty.  So pressure can be brought to bear on private medical certification associations to force them to as conservative as possible a position on the issue.  Say, no abortions after the first trimester as a standard.  Sure it couldn't be enforced categorically, but that's kind of the point of a free society.  Still, I'd wager most doctors would abide by such a standard.  And remember, once you cede the power to the government to ban abortions, you also cede to them the power to allow abortions.  The government just has the power to make the decision, there's no guarantee they'll agree with you or me.  So in that situation, would you rather leave this decision up to the capricious mob every election as one issue among many, or the aggregate individual marginal actions and judgements of people when faced with the decision to abort or not, to associate with someone who does or not, to associate with a doctor who performs the procedure or not, etc.?  I think the latter will get you the best return; the fewest abortions.

Cabal:
Suggesting that the mother is justified in aborting a fetus because her body is her property, is no different than suggesting it is just for a mother to murder her 2 year old because her home is her property, IMO.

I hate to say it but on that one I think you're totally wrong.  The death of a two year old is not necessary to remove it from the home, nor is it inevitable if the kid if evicted.  So the analogy doesn't hold.  Now you may say it's wrong to allow a mother to evict the kid, but are you also going to say it's then an appropriate power of the government to force her to care for the kid or to chuck her in prison and/or kill her if she resists enough?  The flip side of every prohibition is what happens when people want to or do violate it, what then?

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xahrx replied on Fri, Feb 19 2010 5:32 PM

Aquila:
Whether or not this “killing” may be further sub-categorized as “murder” (that is, illegitimate killing) depends entirely upon the status of the parasite. If the parasite is human, then abortion is murder.

Why?  Is it murder to forcibly remove someone up to and including killing them?  If someone breaks into your house and won't leave, are you only allowed to use force to remove them up to a certain point, and reaching that point are they then allowed to stay?  Seems a bit odd to suggest that all person has to do in order to nullify your right to remove them from your property is to make it terribly inconvenient for you, or harmful to them, for you to do so.  And I see no distinction between a fetus, a burgler, or a house guest who just won't leave in that scenario.  Once more, I'd certainly look differently morally on a person who aborts a fetus than someone who kills a burlger.  But in both instances I have to grant them the ultimate right to do what they did.

As for when the fetus becomes human, all the analogies and arguments I've used so far have assumed it's human from conception; it's irrelevant.  A burlger has rights too, as does a houseguest, both as human beings.  Unless you're being held up or burglerized by vagrant deer or antelopes or something, in which case I want to know where you live so I can video tape that shit.  But otherwise being human isn't the issue, assume full and total rights for the fetus, the mother still has rights herself to her body and how to use it.  A person doesn't have to intend to aggress upon you to do so, nor does your right to resist trespass disappear with an invitation in or a person tenaciously resiting eviction for whatever reason.  And even if we go by a strict legalist view and we do need intent and an overt act, the intention of the mother is not strictly to kill the fetus but to get it out of her because she doesn't want to carry it.  The fetus' death, while inevitable in most if not all cases, not being her intent, is not murder.  Just like killing a burgler is not murder.  At least murder in terms of legal.  If you want to simply define murder as ending human life then yeah, but then ending human life is acceptable in certain circumstances.

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Spideynw replied on Fri, Feb 19 2010 5:38 PM

Aquila:
I frequently encounter the assumption that libertarians, being broadly opposed to government involvment in most everything, must support abortion "rights."

A true libertarian does support abortion rights.  Otherwise, you don't understand rights.  It is no different than supporting the rights of pet owners to do with their pets as they please.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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Cabal replied on Fri, Feb 19 2010 6:05 PM

xahrx:

I hate to say it but on that one I think you're totally wrong.  The death of a two year old is not necessary to remove it from the home, nor is it inevitable if the kid if evicted.  So the analogy doesn't hold.  Now you may say it's wrong to allow a mother to evict the kid, but are you also going to say it's then an appropriate power of the government to force her to care for the kid or to chuck her in prison and/or kill her if she resists enough?  The flip side of every prohibition is what happens when people want to or do violate it, what then?

I think morals and rights are inherently connected in many ways, so I'm not exactly sure why you insist on making a distinction between the two. If an act is immoral, such as initiation of aggression, there is no "right", per se, to initiate aggression because, at least in part, such is immoral.

To address the above, the death of the fetus is also not necessary to remove it, for it will naturally leave when it is capable of doing so. Should the mother simply have aborted prior to fetus stage, or honor the contract I spoke of before and carry the pregnancy to term, subsequently delivering the baby, then the "uninvited guest" is removed--though I think degrading a developing child to the likes of an "uninvited guest" is somewhat questionable to begin with. Thus, it becomes a matter of convenience over principle, and if there's anything I've learned in my own conversion to libertarianism, it is that principle certainly takes precedent over convenience.

Regardless, I believe my analogy holds, as it was simply an analogy based on the logic used to argue that "the mother has the right to evict because her body is her property". Whether the death is necessary or not is irrelevant to the fact that this same logic could theoretically be applied to a two-year-old in a mother's home, which is also her property. But if we are to prohibit nothing, then why prohibit murder? I agree that prohibition of non-violent activities is pointless and counter to liberty, but prohibiting initiations of aggression is quite just in accordance with NAP, as far as I can tell. And that is what aborting a fetus amounts to--an initiation of aggression.

I might also reiterate that it was the mother's choices which lead up to this point, in any case. If responsibility has any weight in this, I'm not sure; but when I consider other poor choices made with regard to libertarian ideology, people are left with the consequences of those choices--for better or worse. So why should this be any different at the expense of another life, no less.

 

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scineram replied on Fri, Feb 19 2010 6:19 PM

Spideynw:
It is no different than supporting the rights of pet owners to do with their pets as they please.

I don't support that.

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Angurse replied on Fri, Feb 19 2010 6:27 PM

scineram:
I don't support that.

Call it the "no true libertarian" fallacy.

"I am an aristocrat. I love liberty, I hate equality."
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scineram:
I don't support that.

 

Good for you, then, but I have no idea how you square that with libertarian rights theory (though assuming that you're a follower of that might be a stretch). Whatever makes you sleep at night, I guess.

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Angurse:
Call it the "no true libertarian" fallacy.

 

If there is a source of libertarian rights theory that treats animal "rights" as valid, then I'd be interested to get a link to it. What I've read so far - and partially concluded on my own before that - doesn't exactly support "inter-species" rights.

Disclaimer: I hold it as in better taste or perhaps even as more moral to treat your pets or livestock reasonably well, but aesthetics and morality don't equal rights.

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Cabal replied on Fri, Feb 19 2010 7:07 PM

So this all comes down to defining humanity then? It seems this argument only holds weight when you do not regard a fetus as a human.

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Aquila replied on Fri, Feb 19 2010 7:07 PM

People

are not pets.

I do not find the analogy convincing.

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Aquila replied on Fri, Feb 19 2010 7:18 PM

My main frustration with this issue is the impossibility of knowing at what point the fetus becomes a human. I think you've proven that it isn't necessary to be able to answer this question in order to support the mother's rights to her own property. This is comforting...

Let me throw a curveball at you: Didn't the mother offer consent for the child to enter her when she allowed the seed to enter (assuming the sex was consensual)? So isn't it a violation of an implied contract for her to forcibly evict someone she had previously welcomed in?

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Aquila replied on Fri, Feb 19 2010 7:21 PM

Two posts up, I meant to quote Spideynw, and the above post, I meant to quote xahrx.

I apologize for the multiple postings. Every time I see the text of the person I am replying to above my post, I automatically assume I am quoting him and forget to hit the quote button.

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Runyan replied on Fri, Feb 19 2010 7:30 PM

Aquila:

My main frustration with this issue is the impossibility of knowing at what point the fetus becomes a human. I think you've proven that it isn't necessary to be able to answer this question in order to support the mother's rights to her own property. This is comforting...

Let me throw a curveball at you: Didn't the mother offer consent for the child to enter her when she allowed the seed to enter (assuming the sex was consensual)? So isn't it a violation of an implied contract for her to forcibly evict someone she had previously welcomed in?

This indeed is the question. 

If self-ownership implies that each individual owns their own bodies and by extension their bodily derivatives (organs, hair, blood, sperm/egg, etc); then a fertilized egg is nothing more than the combination of two individuals property. 

At this point, it seems erroneous to label the potential child as a parasite/invader, except maybe in the case of rape.  Also, when else is the product of the combination of property not property? 

Along the stages of child production, the mother converts additional resources (food/water) to create, develop and refine an end product; he term "biological factory" is somewhat fitting.  In an an-cap society, if a company purchases sperm/egg on the market and creates total In Vitro babies, at what point in the production process can the company scrap their current batch, and at what point is it a NAP violation?  Obviously in both cases the "product" is also human individual, and thus as an individual it should have ownership of their body as stated above. 

I think Block's proposal of technological evictionism is the best solution for natural pregnancies, furthermore I think a free an-cap society would see less abortions due to no regulations on adoption.  We'd probably see businesses that cater to women with unwanted pregnancies, matching them with people seeking adoption; allowing the mother to pick/choose the most suitable terms (fiscal, visitation rights, etc, etc).  Even in an an-cap society with legal abortion at some stages of child production, it's very likely the mother would have to pay for an abortion, or go to a pregnancy/adoption service and be provided with medical care and maybe additional compensation as part of the agreement reached between mother and adopting parents.

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Spideynw replied on Fri, Feb 19 2010 8:22 PM

Cabal:

So this all comes down to defining humanity then? It seems this argument only holds weight when you do not regard a fetus as a human.

No it comes down to defining rights.  A right is a legal claim.  Reasoning human beings are the only ones known to be able to make a legal claim.  As such, humans that have reached the age of consent are the only ones that can make a legal claim.  In an anarchist society, there would be no organization like the government to punish parents for not treating their young children as you want them treated.  Same with pets.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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Spideynw replied on Fri, Feb 19 2010 8:22 PM

Aquila:
People are not pets

And babies cannot reason.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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Conza88 replied on Fri, Feb 19 2010 8:31 PM

Aquila:
I simply do not see how any universal ethical principle (NAP) can apply to abortion, an issue with profound metaphysical questions that are impossible to answer with certainty by their very nature.

That would be because you're ignorant of Evictionism.


 
Compromising the Uncompromisable: A Private Property Rights Approach to Resolving the Abortion Controversy - http://www.walterblock.com/wp-content/uploads/publications/block-whitehead_abortion-2005.pdf
 
Libertarianism, Positive Obligations and Property Abandonment: Children’s Rights - http://www.walterblock.com/wp-content/uploads/publications/block-children.pdf
Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
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Conza88 replied on Fri, Feb 19 2010 8:32 PM

Spideynw:

Aquila:
People are not pets

And babies cannot reason.

But they will be able to, it's part of their nature (being human). For pets and animals however - never.

To not make that most basic of distinctions is to error.

 

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
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Aquila replied on Sat, Feb 20 2010 7:46 AM

Conza88:

Aquila:
I simply do not see how any universal ethical principle (NAP) can apply to abortion, an issue with profound metaphysical questions that are impossible to answer with certainty by their very nature.

That would be because you're ignorant of Evictionism.



 

Compromising the Uncompromisable: A Private Property Rights Approach to Resolving the Abortion Controversy - http://www.walterblock.com/wp-content/uploads/publications/block-whitehead_abortion-2005.pdf

 

Libertarianism, Positive Obligations and Property Abandonment: Children’s Rights - http://www.walterblock.com/wp-content/uploads/publications/block-children.pdf

Not true. I am fully aware of the evictionist theory and I have rejected it. Now I’m a big fan of Dr. Block, but he’s made a lot of mistakes on this issue.

He describes the fetus as an “unwanted visitor that was not contracted for to a term of nine months.”

This may come off as a bit surprising, but this is what happens when sperm is released inside of a mature female of the human species. Assuming the sex was between two consenting, sane adults, the mother was fully aware of the obligations she was undertaking when she allowed the male to release inside of her.

Block:

"Individuals only have a right not to be aggressed against. The fetus is not being aggressed against by eviction from a woman's womb, which is her property; that is, this "facility" is owned by the woman not the fetus.On the contrary, the fetus aggressor, albeit not purposefully, is the initiator of violence."

I agree that the womb is the mother’s property. However, as I mentioned earlier, evicting a fetus is an act of aggression the vast majority of the time as it involves destroying the fetus (i.e., dissolving it with a saline solution, sucking it out with a vacuum, crushing its skull so it will come out more easily, etc.) I have seen ultrasounds of unborn children being destroyed. They writhe around in agony for a while before dieing--I can assure you, they feel pain. This pain is not the result of tertiary factors--like when a landowner rightfully evicts a trespasser into the freezing cold. The pain felt by the unborn child is the direct result of the procedure. Abortion of this sort is therefore a violation of the NAP.

The only time “evicting” could be allowed under a libertarian legal code is when it is truly performed in a non-aggressive manner AFTER the fetus is deemed viable. Otherwise, the abortionist and mother are engaging in murder.

Additionally, the fetus cannot possibly be an aggressor since it has no choice in the matter. I suppose one could term “nature” the aggressor since it was resulting from biological forces that the fetus developed, but this is semantics.

Now all of this assumes that the unborn child is worthy of human rights. At what point a zygote/fetus/baby acquires rights I do not know and do not believe it is possible to know. For that reason, abortion is an issue separate and distinct from all others—it involves profound metaphysical questions that we cannot answer (unless you choose to go the “faith” route—i.e., believing something in the absence of evidence). Not even the brilliant Walter Block or Murray Rothbard can solve this one.

One thing that I appreciate Block for recognizing is that advancing technology will make this debate obsolete. Hopefully, it will be possible to evict a child at any stage in the future and it will remain viable. This is pure fanciful speculation however and irrelevant to formulating law in the present.

 

 

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Cabal replied on Sat, Feb 20 2010 9:27 AM

Spideynw:

No it comes down to defining rights.  A right is a legal claim.  Reasoning human beings are the only ones known to be able to make a legal claim.  As such, humans that have reached the age of consent are the only ones that can make a legal claim.

So babies and even some children don't have rights? That's news to me.

 

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nhaag replied on Sat, Feb 20 2010 9:32 AM

Aquila:
A very well reasoned argument. I did, however, perceive a flaw in your understanding of the act of abortion. Far from being an act of eviction similar in nature to a landlord throwing out tenants who violate their contract by not paying rent, the act of abortion implies the direct slaying of a living creature. Regardless of whether  this creature can be defined as "human" and thus entitled to not be murdered by another human, the process of dissolving this creature with a saline solution or suctioning it from its mother's womb is an active method of killing and should not be viewed as a simple act of eviction.

As so often the argument about whether abortion is a crime or not focuses on "if it is a crime it should be punished".

The question is, who's to punish? The state? The community? What is libertarian about that?

The only one who has a claim in any crime is the victim not any aribtrary and made up "Do-Gooder" or "Do-Bader" group of self aggrandized megalomaniacs.

So in case of abortion, the victim, or the heir as a right to retribution. That's it.  Case closed as far as it concerns rights.

The next question is a moral question. Is it ethical to committ abortion. My answer is no. So I am not in favor.

What could these people abhorring abortion do instead killing doctors?

They could fight for a free baby adoption market and try to save as many fetuses from being evicted as possible. That would be a solution of a free people.

 

All the rest is just a covert attack on the freedom and property of others.

 

In the begining there was nothing, and it exploded.

Terry Pratchett (on the big bang theory)

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Spideynw replied on Sat, Feb 20 2010 9:42 AM

Conza88:
But they will be able to,

And until they can, they can't.  To not make that most basic of distinctions is to error.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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Spideynw replied on Sat, Feb 20 2010 9:45 AM

Cabal:
So babies and even some children don't have rights? That's news to me.

Can they make a legal claim?  No, so no they do not have rights.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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Cabal replied on Sat, Feb 20 2010 9:50 AM

Spideynw:

Can they make a legal claim?  No, so no they do not have rights.

That's absurd. Rights are natural, not granted--unless you're authoritarian.

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Spideynw replied on Sat, Feb 20 2010 9:53 AM

Aquila:
However, as I mentioned earlier, evicting a fetus is an act of aggression the vast majority of the time as it involves destroying the fetus

So is killing a cow.  So what?  Since fetuses cannot make legal claims, they do not have rights, just like cows can't make legal claims.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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Spideynw replied on Sat, Feb 20 2010 10:00 AM

Cabal:
That's absurd. Rights are natural, not granted--unless you're authoritarian.

It has nothing to do with being authoritarian, natural, or granted.  Rights are legal claims.  Tell me, how does a fetus make a legal claim?

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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Aquila replied on Sat, Feb 20 2010 10:47 AM

Spideynw:

Aquila:
However, as I mentioned earlier, evicting a fetus is an act of aggression the vast majority of the time as it involves destroying the fetus

So is killing a cow.  So what?  Since fetuses cannot make legal claims, they do not have rights, just like cows can't make legal claims.

Killing someone else's cow is indeed aggression...against his property. Cows, like all animals, are property, therefore slaughtering them cannot be murder. Human beings cannot be property. Just because a human cannot make a legal claim, whether this be due to youth or a mental handicap, does not mean it is justified to kill him. I have heard several sensible arguments in favor of legalizing abortion in this thread, but this babies have the same rights as animals business is not one of them.

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Aquila replied on Sat, Feb 20 2010 11:01 AM

nhaag:

Aquila:
A very well reasoned argument. I did, however, perceive a flaw in your understanding of the act of abortion. Far from being an act of eviction similar in nature to a landlord throwing out tenants who violate their contract by not paying rent, the act of abortion implies the direct slaying of a living creature. Regardless of whether  this creature can be defined as "human" and thus entitled to not be murdered by another human, the process of dissolving this creature with a saline solution or suctioning it from its mother's womb is an active method of killing and should not be viewed as a simple act of eviction.

As so often the argument about whether abortion is a crime or not focuses on "if it is a crime it should be punished".

The question is, who's to punish? The state? The community? What is libertarian about that?

The only one who has a claim in any crime is the victim not any aribtrary and made up "Do-Gooder" or "Do-Bader" group of self aggrandized megalomaniacs.

So in case of abortion, the victim, or the heir as a right to retribution. That's it.  Case closed as far as it concerns rights.

The next question is a moral question. Is it ethical to committ abortion. My answer is no. So I am not in favor.

What could these people abhorring abortion do instead killing doctors?

They could fight for a free baby adoption market and try to save as many fetuses from being evicted as possible. That would be a solution of a free people.

All the rest is just a covert attack on the freedom and property of others.


Well as a libertarian I am hardly covertly attacking freedom. I'm all for freeing up the adoption market and I certainly do not support killing doctors.

I don't know how long you've been following this thread, but I've conceded that enforcing abortion laws would be very difficult and result in many unfortunate, unintended consequences. I'm not pro-life, I'm somewhat agnostic towards abortion in that I do not know whether or not it is equivalent to the murder of an already-born human. I do not think the evictionists have the answers however.

The only one who has a claim in any crime is the victim not any aribtrary and made up "Do-Gooder" or "Do-Bader" group of self aggrandized megalomaniacs.

I entirely agree. Have I asked that mothers who have aborted fetuses compensate me for their actions?

Assuming that the fetus is indeed human, then remember that the victims in cases of abortion are the unborn humans. They can't exactly file a complaint with their local police station. And the mother is certainly not entitled to compensation, for the crime is parracide and the mother is the instigator. 

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nhaag replied on Sat, Feb 20 2010 11:46 AM

Sorry if I sounded a bit harsh. I guess the reason is, that the abortion topic is comming up over and over again, and I am already reading too much between the lines.

Just one more remark, this time I hope it doesn't sound offensive, as it is not meant that way.

It is true the unborn has now way to file a complaint. That is the way it is. And if there is no one to claim retribution, there is no one to be punished(if you are religious, your religion might tell you that some stuff if punished by god though). Again, it is a simple as that,no?

Have a great weekend

In the begining there was nothing, and it exploded.

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Marko replied on Sat, Feb 20 2010 12:20 PM

nhaag:

It is true the unborn has now way to file a complaint. That is the way it is. And if there is no one to claim retribution, there is no one to be punished(if you are religious, your religion might tell you that some stuff if punished by god though). Again, it is a simple as that,no?

What about the father?

 

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