I have not discussed abortion for some time. I have written my most comprehensive post on the topic specifically in response to Walter Block’s evictionism argument; given his “evictionism” argument, I took the approach of a rental real estate transaction and contract. Walter and I went back and forth on it a time or two.
Given that this was written four years ago, I might refresh it a bit today, but overall it offers my view – specifically taking the contract / property approach. My primary view on this topic, however, is driven by other causes. Causes like murder of innocents.
It is curious to me (I have no better word) that those who advocate for a society based on the non-aggression principle advocate for the ultimate aggression on the individuals least capable of defending themselves, individuals that are most vulnerable to aggression by another, individuals who are totally innocent regarding their circumstance.
If libertarianism based on the non-aggression principle supports such aggression, it is a philosophy that offers no defense against any type of aggression.
Why am I discussing this today? Walter has written a brief blog post, followed thereafter by a comment from Michael Rozeff. It is not to Walter that I will reply, but to Rozeff. I have to say, I had a difficult time reading Rozeff’s post; he offers, first, some facts:
What are we talking about? “In 2015, 638,169 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC from 49 reporting areas. The abortion rate for 2015 was 11.8 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years…” That’s a little over 1 woman in a hundred. There’s a lot of women in America, so the absolute number is also a lot; but it’s not large relative to the population.
More than any other statement in his post, it is this one that I cannot stomach. Yes, I am used to libertarians favoring this type of aggression; few have had the courage to put numbers to it and – more so – suggest that six-hundred thousand is no big deal.
Over six-hundred thousand deaths in one year, all due to the same cause. Reminds me of Madeline Albright – 500,000 Iraqi children’s deaths were worth it. Relative to the total population, not such a big deal.
He then offers the breakdown by the time elapsed after conception. This is important to him for the following reason: almost 99% of all abortions occur before the twentieth week of the unborn child’s life. And guess what?
The facts of abortion show that virtually all abortions are of fetuses that could not survive outside the womb.
Nor can any new-born babies, without assistance.
The question is when does a fetus gain the right to life. A sensible answer as well as one not at variance with actual abortions is that it gains this right when it is capable of surviving outside the womb, with assistance, of course. (Emphasis added.)
Wait a minute. If a newborn baby has a right to this assistance, why not an unborn child? What is different in any meaningful sense? The newborn baby is entirely dependent on others for food, drink, sanitation, safety, protection from the elements, etc. Basically, the exact same items of “assistance” that the unborn child – even one less than 20 weeks – requires.
To be a live human being, one must be capable of be-ing, even if it requires assistance that pregnancy or medical substitutes provide after 24 weeks. Fetuses that cannot survive outside the womb are not yet human beings, according to this theory.
Babies outside of the womb cannot survive without virtually identical assistance.
“You are not viable.” If this is the criteria for one to have the right to not be victim of aggression, well…let’s open the door to eugenics, assisted suicide, final solutions to the mentally and physically disabled, individuals with IQs below 70, etc.
Where do you draw the line? On what basis? Who will decide?
In my estimation, abortion is not a major problem in America.
More than six-hundred thousand deaths per year all due to the same cause, and this is not a major problem.
Rozeff begins early in his post with the following:
If a woman wants an abortion, I do not see how anyone can make her not have it. She cannot be forced to carry to term. Call that her right, if you want to.
I am not suggesting that I have an answer. However, it is pointless to work on an answer if we cannot agree that murder is aggression.
The unborn child is the only innocent person in this exchange. The woman took an action to become pregnant, as did the man in impregnating her. If no responsibility comes to either of these two with this action, society (to say nothing of liberty) is 100% lost.