Watch "Libertarian Perspectives on Abortion" with Ronald Bailey, Mollie Hemingway, and Katherine Mangu-Ward, Tuesday 2-3pm ET


Live video from your iPhone using Ustream

As a political philosophy, libertarianism stresses concepts such as self-ownership, voluntary consent, and non-agression. In many areas of human activity, the application of such ideas seems relatively straightforward. In others, reaching clarity is far more difficult.

On Tuesday, May 21, from 2pm to 3pm in Washington, D.C., Reason will host a discussion tackling one of the most controversial and debated issues of the day: abortion. Among self-identified libertarians, there's a wide variety of positions, ranging from support for all forms of abortions to the prohibition of the same.

"Libertarian Perspectives on Abortion" will be moderated by me and the participants include:

  • Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason magazine's managing editor
  • Mollie Hemingway, editor of Ricochet and a contributor to Christianity Today
  • Ronald Bailey, Reason's science correspondent

The topics discussed will include

  • When does human life - and when do rights - begin?
  • What's the role of science - and religion - in setting abortion policy?
  • Is there a role for the state in prohibiting, regulating, and providing abortion?

A fast-paced 30-minute discussion will be followed by audience Q&A.

Attendance is free but due to limited seating, an RSVP is required.

This event will also be livestreamed online by Reason TV.

Details:

What: Libertarian Perspectives on Abortion: A Reason discussion.

When: Tuesday, May, 21, 2pm to 3pm.

Where: Reason's DC HQ, 1747 Connecticut Avenue NW (near S Street, Dupont Circle stop on Red Line Metro)

RSVP: events@reason.com

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • SIV||

    When does human life - and when do rights - begin?

    The first question is not in question.

  • ||

    Unfortunately even many pro-lifers frame their argument as when life begins. Lots of ignorance of biology on both sides.

  • Brandybuck||

    Life of course begins at conception. A new instance of homo sapiens begins at conception. The fertilized egg is genetically distinct from the mother at conception.

    The better question is "when does personhood begin?" This is a much trickier question. At what point does an instance of homo sapiens become a human being? At what point does it obtain unalienable rights?

    In my mind it is definitely before the moment of birth, as there is zero difference between a fetus one second before birth and a baby human being one second after birth. But calling it a human being before it has even implanted in the uterine wall is far too extreme. It's somewhere in the middle.

    I am NOT going to say what that point is for me, but I do think the one trimester rule is a reasonable compromise, and that the acceptance of late term elective abortions is what leads to monsters like Gosnell.

  • some guy||

    I agree with you on your compromise. You have to balance the rights of the mother and those of the fetus. The mother needs enough time to make an informed decision about abortion and the fetus certainly has a right to life if it has a reasonable chance of surviving outside the womb. I'd put the cutoff in the 15-25 weeks region because some (ignorant) women can easily go over 2 months without even realizing they are pregnant, while fetuses have survived birth after only 23-27 weeks gestation.

  • entropy||

    because some (ignorant) women can easily go over 2 months without even realizing they are pregnant

    That's really got nothing to do with it. From a utilitarian perspective maybe, but not rights or personhood. On account of pure convenience, we could push the limit out to age 5 for the procrastinators.

  • some guy||

    Agreed. The rights of the fetus don't kick in until viability, but we don't know exactly when that is at present. We have a few weeks window. So we should push the line down to make sure we're outside the viability window, but not so far that the mother has insufficient time to make a decision and execute it.

  • entropy||

    I am NOT going to say what that point is for me

    Don't see why not.

    Somewhere between 4-20 weeks.

  • wareagle||

    of course, it's in question. If anything, it is THE question in this issue. One side says life begins at conception, current law says it begins at birth.

    The original Roe decision sought to split the baby, bad pun admittedly, by legalizing abortion through the first trimester. Some people put life at the point of viability.

    What am I missing in your argument that it's not in question?

  • SIV||

    The science. When life begins is not a matter of law or opinion.

  • kbolino||

    You cannot say that an answer is not a matter of law or opinion when the question is. Even Brandybuck's more specific statement "a new instance of homo sapiens begins at conception" is not unambiguous.

    First, what is a homo sapiens? The widely accepted definitions apply only to well developed organisms based upon macro-level characteristics. That DNA is solely deterministic of species is an as-yet-unproven hypothesis, and even if true, it fails to establish what genetic markers and structures are used to make the determination.

    Second, what is life and when does it begin? No one has ever observed the creation of a "living" thing from "non-living" things. The requirement that only life begets life implies a dependency of a living thing upon all the living things that came before it. So even an argument that "what will become a human, is a human" (to sidestep the DNA issue above) is flawed, because there exited living things that were not human but led to living things that were, and there are things now living that are not human but may lead to living things that will be.

  • SIV||

    Dude, don't take the brown acid.

  • kbolino||

    I was being serious. Then again, when I consider that I'm arguing with someone named after a primate venereal disease, maybe I should question my own sanity.

  • ||

    You are confusing it being alive versus being a "person"/having rights. It's not a semantic difference. A fetus is very much alive.

  • wareagle||

    not trying to be argumentative, guys. The issue is framed the way it is. Law appears to have trumped science for the moment. Don't know that any compromise is possible or that this will ever be resolved to any degree of satisfaction.

  • entropy||

    Just be sure to make sure you let everyone know that people who say it's an appendage are in fact "science deniers" who reject the biology consensus and want to run our country based on medieval superstition.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Oh God no.

  • RBS||

    Maybe next month they can have a circumcision roundtable.

  • Marshall Gill||

    "Libertarian Perspectives on Abortion" will be moderated by me and the participants include:

    Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason magazine's managing editor
    Mollie Hemingway, editor of Ricochet and a contributor to Christianity Today
    Ronald Bailey, Reason's science correspondent

    So 4 against 1?

  • Marshall Gill||

    3 against 1.

    Counting to three is hard.

  • some guy||

    I can see KMW and Bailey having slightly different views on things. The interesting thing to see will be just how extreme Ms. Hemingway is.

  • Irish||

    I don't know what Mangu-Ward and Ronald Bailey believe. Libertarians are sometimes pro-life.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Finally the question of where libertarians stand on abortion will be answered once and for all.

  • deified||

    There is only One True Libertarian Perspective™ on birth control: anal sex is God's preferred contraception; couples who use condoms or IUDs or sinners whether married or fornicatin'.

    /Pope

  • deified||

    *are sinners

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    When does human life - and when do rights - begin?

    Sometime between conception and birth.

    Since nobody can agree on what that point is. I prefer having the decision made at the smallest unit of government. The smallest unit of government is self-government meaning the individual.

  • ||

    So since nobody in the 19th century can agree on whether black people have rights or not, we'll leave that to the individual to decide.

  • wareagle||

    I'll take false analogies for $600, Alex.

  • ||

    The key word being "people".

  • Overt||

    This is such a cop out, and you know it.

    At the heart of the controversy is whether only a mother or the mother AND the baby have the right to be protected from initiation of force. Your answer is to let the mother decide. That's like letting a plaintif decide whether or not the defendant gets a trial.

  • ||

    So you get to decide for me? Because you know when a lump of cells becomes a person?

  • Mickey Rat||

    How do we know that the lump of cells calling itself Francisco d'Anconia is a person? Who gets to decide?

  • KPres||

    Why conception to birth? Infants don't event know they're alive, how can they own themselves? I say it's when the person becomes self-aware, sometime in the toddler-age area.

    Care to tell me why I'm wrong?

  • ||

    I've posted this before but it was a dead thread.

    The problem I have with giving fetuses and zygotes equal protection is the unforeseen consequences.

    So let's say we ban doctors from performing abortions. Women will still have unwanted pregnancies, and I don't think anyone expects them all to willingly bring those babies to term.

    So what are we going to do about it?

    Is every miscarriage a potential crime that needs to be investigated? If so, does anyone think that wont lead to more women avoiding or delaying prenatal care, so as to avoid suspicion if something goes wrong early on? If a woman has multiple miscarriages, does that increase her suspicion?

    Then we get into behavior. Will equal protection lead of fetuses lead to the outlawing of women smoking or drinking during their pregnancy? What about women who don't know they are pregnant, will they be expected to monitor this so as to be sure they aren't harming a fetus? Will I be liable for serving (alcohol) a pregnant woman, like I would be for serving an inebriated person?

    None of these consequences sound very libertarian, but they do sound necessary if we are going to take the idea of "equal protection" seriously.

    I hope these types of issues are addressed today.

  • Overt||

    A lot of Libertarian ideals would result in possibly negative consequences for a lot of people. The removal of wage controls. The loss of safety nets. The removal of public education.

    Now there are two arguments here: one is that the net cost is still positive, and the other is that the cost is outweighed by the infringement on peoples' liberties.

    If indeed the unborn baby has rights, then you are saying that it is okay to terminate peoples' lives just to prevent some behavior. I have a hard time understanding your calculus. A bunch of mothers trying to kill their child may be driven to commit their crime in less good ways? So the state should sanction these murders so that the mothers can initiate their force in a safer way?

    Long story short, your concerns about "unwanted side effects" only matters if you already assume that the child's life is not worth protecting.

  • Overt||

    Put it another way:

    Certainly, if we made murder legal, many prospective murderers would be safer off in the long run. They could enlist help from others and wouldn't have to do their murder in secret- thus allowing them to get medical assistance if their victim injures them in self defense. We would likely see injury and death among murderers go down.

    And that would be a practical benefit if you also ignored the rights of all those people they killed.

  • ||

    Your understanding of "libertarian ideals" is, shall we say, lacking.

  • ||

    What? He's arguing against the idea that "unforeseen consequences" should trump people's rights. I'm not sure how that's lacking understanding.

  • ||

    You're right, we should just live in a totalitarian state that ensures that no murders are committed.

    That's an excellent trade-off.

  • ||

    He's making the assumption that the fetus is a person and then claiming a utilitarian approach on the part of libertarians who are pro choice. That's bullshit.

    The only argument from a libertarian perspective is whether or not the fetus IS a person. If it is, it has rights. If it isn't, it doesn't.

  • ||

    So your saying that if a fetus has all the rights of the mother, then you are perfectly ok with everything that entails.

    That's fine if you are, but you can't have it both ways. You can't have fetuses and zygotes are full persons with all the rights guaranteed therein and not have a massive surveillance of child bearing women.

  • entropy||

    That's fine if you are, but you can't have it both ways. You can't have fetuses and zygotes are full persons with all the rights guaranteed therein and not have a massive surveillance of child bearing women.

    My neighbor is a full person with all the rights guaranteed. Does that mean I need to be monitored 24/7 under surveillance to make sure I don't kill him?

  • kbolino||

    Your neighbor does not depend on you to stay alive and develop in a healthy manner. However, your neighbor does depend on you to keep his property values high, and lo and behold we have the abominations known as homeowners' associations.

  • ||

    At least homeowner's associations are voluntary. They are in place when you purchase your home, and aren't formed afterward.

  • ||

    He's not claiming that pro choice libertarians are taking a utilitarian approach. He's claiming that Tim is taking that approach, and he is:

    "The problem I have with giving fetuses and zygotes equal protection is the unforeseen consequences."

    He's saying that's a consequentialist approach, and natural rights is another approach; and that the natural rights approach is the correct one. He's directly arguing against the idea that consequences should trump rights.

  • ||

    I'm saying that there are other rights involved, and that we allow some people's rights to trump others ALL THE DAMN time.

    We could solve 90% of the murders in this country with a totalitarian/surveillance/police state that would put the Soviets to shame. This would likely reduce the murder rate, at least in regards to premeditated murder. Doing so however would trample on SO MANY other rights that it wouldn't make the society a great one to live in.

    No society has ever really given a zygote the same rights as an infant or an adult. The technology to detect them simply wasn't advanced enough, and by the time it was abortion was legal (ultrasounds weren't really universal until the 1980's). So saying life begins at conception and we're going to protect that life as much as we do everyone else's is really a new frontier. To not consider what this means is a complete folly.

  • entropy||

    Crimes are investigated after evidence has been discovered to suggest they were committed.

    How would changing the legal status of a fetus change that? We're not talking about creating a 100% preventative justice system here.

  • kbolino||

    Well, for starters, every miscarriage would have to be investigated as homicide. Moreover, even without evidence of intent, it would still be manslaughter.

  • ||

    Not, but we have plenty of preventative laws in place.

    That's why it's not legal to drive with high BAC levels. That's why it's not legal to serve individuals who appear intoxicated. All of this is done to prevent vehicular homicide.

    And yes, as kbolino points out below, every miscarriage would invite suspicion of potential homicide.

    A woman drinking or smoking while visibly pregnant would involve the same level of suspicion.

  • ||

    You've missed the point entirely.

    The problem is that all women of child bearing age come under a scope of suspicion, not just those who have actually had an abortion performed.

  • ||

    Long story short, your concerns about "unwanted side effects" only matters if you already assume that the child's life is not worth protecting.

    That's why I don't support so many other statist policies--I don't consider other people's lives worth protecting.

    Do you hear yourself when you speak, do you read the words you write before you hit submit?

  • Mickey Rat||

    "Is every miscarriage a potential crime that needs to be investigated?"

    Is every time someone dies a potential crime to be investigated?

  • KerryA||

    I always choke when I hear a libertarian insist that there is a difference between a human being and a person. This is the fundamental principle behind eugenics which is decidedly NOT libertarian.

    I also choke when I hear people from BOTH sides insist that the prolife side must be a religious argument. How many libertarians are aware of the website, l4l.org? Libertarians for Life. The website is managed by an atheist and ZERO religious arguments are made.

    The question of when life begins is not a matter of opinion, but rather of sound scientific fact. The human zygote fits ALL 6 criterion for being considered a separate, distinct living organism from the mother, and is decidedly human thanks to the genetic code which says it's human. Every single medical student learns that life begins at conception.

    ALL human beings are entitled to at least basic rights. The only controversy here is that prochoicers don't want to admit that they are wrong.

  • ||

    life begins at conception
    ALL human beings

    This is the problem with your argument. Being alive /=/ being a person. No one is saying that the collection of cells at and after conception isn't alive, no one is claiming it doesn't have human genetics. The issue at hand is at what point that collection of cells counts as a person. I have living cells in my arm with human genetics, but cutting off my arm doesn't count as murder. Personhood is an aspect of cognitive function, in my opinion, and that is what I base my understanding of personhood off of.

  • KerryA||

    You clearly didn't read my comments. You also clearly don't understand the scientific requirements for living organisms nor the difference between living cells and living organisms. When you decide to educate yourself on those things, then please feel free to come back and debate.

  • kbolino||

    If we are going by the "living organism" standard, then stepping on an ant is murder.

    If we are going by the "possesses human DNA" standard, then there are trillions of such things (called cells) within the shell we typically call a "person", several million of which are murdered on a daily basis.

    The absurdity of going down either of these lines of thought lends intuition to the idea that "living organism" + "human DNA" is not sufficient for personhood.

    Never mind that "conception" is not the clear, unambiguous line people seem to think it is. If we are going by fertilization as the point of conception, then every mother-to-be murders dozens of her own children who do not implant on the uterine wall.

  • KerryA||

    Stepping on an ant is not murder, because it is not a human being. Murder is specific to human beings.

    The possession of DNA doesn't make something human, it is the specific genetic that differentiates a human being from a dog, or a human being from fish.

    "living organism" + "human DNA" is absolutely sufficient for the beginning of natural rights.

    "conception" according to medical science, is when sperm joins egg. It is at that point, that a fertilized egg exhibits ALL necessary criterion for a separate, distinct, human, living organism.

  • kbolino||

    You're just reiterating the same points over again.

    You cannot assume a definition of "human being" in a discussion about the same. That is called begging the question.

    The specific genetic what? Sentences require nouns. In any case, genes are not used to differentiate humans from dogs, physical characteristics are. The association of DNA with a species is an unproven hypothesis.

    Even if we accept as a premise that genetic markers deterministically identify homo sapiens as a species, you have to add other conditions, lest my liver cells become human beings.

    The "beginning of natural rights" is furthermore not established, since we don't generally accept that a 5-year-old can enter into contracts or live without regular supervision by adults.

    Finally, "conception" is not a medical term. What you are describing is most likely fertilization, which is a process, not a singular moment in time.

  • some guy||

    You clearly didn't read my comments. You also clearly don't understand the scientific requirements for living organisms nor the difference between living cells and living organisms. When you decide to educate yourself on those things, then please feel free to come back and debate.

    Your debate skills are lacking KerryA. Instead of encouraging someone to "educate yourself" you should be trying to do that for him. That's what debate is all about; stating a position and backing it up.

  • KerryA||

    It's really hard to "debate" when people don't read the whole comment, which is what the above referenced person did.

  • kbolino||

    He clearly read the comment, and said that personhood is not equal to human being-ness. Your only refutation of that so far is EUGENICS! which is based upon guilt by association. Hitler brushed his teeth, but that doesn't make brushing your teeth bad. The problem with eugenics was that the characteristics employed were superficial. Since you've already established that killing an ant is not murder, then clearly there are characteristics which distinguish living things in such a way that killing one is acceptable while killing another is not. The entire point of this debate is over what those characteristics are, and all you've done is baldly state your position and claim that SCIENCE! makes it superior.

  • ||

    The only controversy here is that prochoicers don't want to admit that they are wrong.

    This sounds like a leftist arguing that the only problem in our society is that people don't agree with them.

    Not exactly an argument that's going to win on the merits.

  • KerryA||

    I guess it's a good thing that this isn't my argument.

  • ||

    You've managed to be the most uncharitable debater on this site since Tony.

    That was your summation and it's incredibly offputing.

  • IceTrey||

    Separate and distinct? Have you never heard of a placenta? Does a fetus survive by shoving food up a woman's vagina?

  • KerryA||

    The placenta, umbilical cord, and amniotic fluid are created by baby and belong to baby. We know this because the genetic code of these organs match the baby's genetic code and is separate from the mother. In effect, the baby builds it own home, protects itself from the mother's immune system which is designed to attack all things in the body that has a different genetic code (including baby), and provides for itself a means of acquiring nutrition.

    Even in an argument of property rights, baby's home - the womb - belongs to baby, not the mother.

  • Dweebston||

    But I don't suppose you're amenable to my setting up residence in your garage, as long as I bring my own cardboard box.

    Don't worry, until I move out in several months you'll barely notice I'm here. Besides the stream of food drops via Dominos.

  • Brandybuck||

    Except you don't have the right to execute trespassers. A good analogy is discovering a stowaway on your hot air balloon. Is it acceptable to eject him from your hot air balloon at altitude? To many radical propertarians the answer is yes, and they will strongly condemn you for disagreeing with their right to murder. But a more reasonable approach is to land the balloon before evicting.

  • Dweebston||

    Which I'll buy in the case of stowaways and hot air balloons, but suppose you're traveling for several months over the ocean, and your trespasser curtails your standard of living while imposing not inconsequential risks to your balloon. Furthermore, this stowaway appeared while the stevedores were loading your provisions back at the aerodrome in England, but had no attachments there and after you land will take up residence with you for close to twenty years...

  • some guy||

    What if you can't land the balloon for 9 months? What if during those 9 months the stowaway is fully dependent on you for sustenance? What if the stowaway also presents a small, but significant danger to your life and a much larger danger of enervating and perhaps bed ridding you? What if the process of evicting the stowaway on the ground is likely to be much more traumatic and painful than the process of evicting him in the air?

  • kbolino||

    Except that building a house on my land does not make it your house, even if you brought your own tools and materials...

  • Dweebston||

    Kerry might rejoin that in an analogous scenario you invited his trespass, or at least didn't put up a high enough fence to prevent it, and therefore ousting him is unlibertarian.

  • some guy||

    When do we start gamboling?

  • KerryA||

    Nope. Try again.

  • KerryA||

    Of course, we are not talking about adult strangers meeting by happenstance. We must also recognize the responsibility of the parent, which is recognized as soon as a child is born. What difference does it make if a child is sleeping a crib, or in a sac of amniotic fluid?

    We simply to do not have the right to off another human being unless an act of aggression is made - and even then lower level uses of force are still preferable to the taking of another human life.

  • ||

    What difference does it make if a child is sleeping a crib, or in a sac of amniotic fluid?

    Uhhh one violates the integrity of another person's body.

  • ||

    That's like saying "What difference does it make if my penis is enjoying the slimy wet walls of a fleshlight, or the slimy wet walls of a woman's vagina."

  • kbolino||

    That the only way to evict the baby from the womb is by killing it is tangential to the baby's ownership of said womb.

  • ||

    Until nanotechnology makes artificial wombs.

  • IceTrey||

    Abortion is a question of property rights. The question being, who owns the womb? Obviously it's the woman. If you say that a fetus has a proprietary right to the use of the womb you are in effect enslaving the woman to the fetus. Pro-choicers immediately lose the argument if they allow any exceptions, like for rape. If it's not murder to kill a fetus conceived by rape then it's never murder. The fact is a fetus survives solely on the good will of the mother and that's all there is to it.

  • ||

    If you say that a fetus has a proprietary right to the use of the womb you are in effect enslaving the woman to the fetus.

    I put it to you that it's a rental contract. The woman consented to the contract when she allowed a man to stick his dick in her. You cannot legally throw a renter out on the street unless he's violated the terms of his contract.

    If so, it comes back to the same argument. When does a lump of cells become a person and subsequently have rights?

  • ||

    Well that removes any protection for a fetus in the case of rape, since the woman did not consent to that contract.

    I keep saying over and over that the clear solution is nanotechnology to build artificial wombs.

  • Gadianton||

    I put it to you that it's a rental contract. The woman consented to the contract when she allowed a man to stick his dick in her.

    I like the analogy, but how do you handle children which result from non-consensual sex?

  • ||

    It's the same analogy used to justify requiring 18 years of child-support from a man after a one-night stand. You consent to that contract when you stick your dick in her. If she gets pregnant and decides to keep the baby, you are on the hook for said baby's care.

    So, FDA's analogy is consistent with current law in that regard.

    What's inconsistent is that the male has no say after the dicking, but the woman can ultimately terminate the pregnancy later. It's definitely a shift in the balance of power in that regard.

  • ||

    I like the analogy, but how do you handle children which result from non-consensual sex?

    Then there is no signed contract and the woman may do as she chooses.

    BUT, and I repeat...BUT, the assumption is that the fetus is a person and has rights. If it isn't, then the mother's rights obviously take precedence. And that's the entire point on abortion, and why I have no opinion. It is currently, given today's technology, unknowable when a lump of cells becomes a person.

  • IceTrey||

    Why does a fetus' rights take precedence over the rights of the mother? As for the legal aspect of your argument it's a fricken nightmare. If the woman doesn't report the rape immediately she can't have an abortion? It also doesn't solve the problem of if it's not murder sometimes then it's not murder every time.

  • ||

    Why does a fetus' rights take precedence over the rights of the mother?

    1. Rights come into conflict all the time. That's why we have courts. e.g. my right to smoke and your right not to have to breath my smoke. Judges and juries decide which rights are more important.

    2. IF, if the fetus is a person, I'm pretty sure the right to its life would take precedence over the mother's right to not be inconvenienced. Particularly in the instance where she gave consent to create it in the first place.

    3. If it's non consensual, the woman's case becomes stronger as she bears no responsibility for the action.

  • ||

    I'd say 9 months of pregnancy is more than an "inconvenience."

  • ||

    So don't fuck then.

    Actions have consequences.

  • ||

    And it's more than 9 months of pregnancy. It's 18 years of care.

  • ||

    Not for the woman. She can pretty easily give the baby up for adoption.

  • ||

    So then I get to raise it (welfare) or someone else does (adoption).

    Still a shit thing to do. To assume someone else will clean up your mess for you.

  • ||

    Well, I'm not really sure why you brought welfare into it.

    If she gives the baby up for adoption, then the child ends up in a pretty well off family. There is a very high demand for US born babies in this country and it outpaces the supply of available babies to the point that only the well off can afford them.

    Still a shit thing to do. To assume someone else will clean up your mess for you.

    Not really a common attitude (despite portrayals to the contrary), so again I'm not really sure where you get that.

  • IceTrey||

    So I have a right to force my mother to give me a kidney of I need one? I mean if it's that or I die you agree right?

  • KPres||

    "unknowable when a lump of cells becomes a person"

    It has its own distinct DNA. Literally, everything else is categorized by it's DNA. It's the only thing that absolutely distinguishes one organism/one person from another.

  • ||

    That just makes it a human lump of cells. Like those I scratch off my ass when it itches. Cells don't have rights...people do.

  • some guy||

    Cancer cells are an even better analogy than ass cells because they can have their own, unique DNA.

  • kbolino||

    Literally, everything else is categorized by it's DNA.

    This is a common fallacy, but is not actually true. Biological taxa are defined by physical characteristics, not genetics. The correlations between a taxon and a genetic marker are strong in some cases, but that does not imply genetic determinism.

    It's the only thing that absolutely distinguishes one organism/one person from another.

    That is not true for organisms that reproduce asexually. Two physically distinct organisms can have the same DNA.

  • IceTrey||

    A rental is an exchange, in a pregnancy the fetus takes and gives nothing in return. If you have a squatter on your property you can throw them out.

  • ||

    I would say you get a baby in exchange for a pregnancy.

    Squatters are thrown out 90% of the time, pregnancies are not ended at nearly the same rate...so I'd say it's likely the women feel like they get something in return.

  • IceTrey||

    I meant physiologically. The fetus takes soemtinhg of value, i.e. nutrients and returns only waste which is actually toxic. It's like the squatter using your power and water and then smearing shit all over the walls.

  • ||

    Accept a squatter made a decision to be there, a fetus did not.

  • IceTrey||

    The rental analogy is stupid.

  • ||

    Not as stupid as me writing accept when I meant except.

  • ||

    Doesn't really matter. Let's say you consent to voluntarily go for a drive in your car and while doing so you drop the CD you are putting in on the floor. While you are bending over to pick it up, you hit and kill 6 kids in a crosswalk. You are liable.

    Just because you didn't "mean" to get knocked up, doesn't mean you don't have to take responsibility for your actions. (Provided the fetus is a person.)

  • IceTrey||

    We aren't talking about taking responsibility for your actions we're talking about whether abortion is murder or not.

  • ||

    We aren't talking about taking responsibility for your actions

    Of course we are. We started talking about responsibility the second you claimed:

    Abortion is a question of property rights. The question being, who owns the womb? Obviously it's the woman.

    You made the claim that a woman can do whatever she wants with her vag regardless of whether it impinges on the rights of another. I claim she gave up a portion of her property rights (just like a landlord does with a rental contract) the second she let a guy dump a load in her.

  • ||

    I claim she gave up a portion of her property rights (just like a landlord does with a rental contract) the second she let a guy dump a load in her

    Most women would disagree. What you've described sounds an awful lot like the "social contract" of the left.

  • ||

    Then "most women" want to have their cake and eat it too. How is it a social contract? It's, quite simply, liability. Her consensual action brought forth another person. She (and he) is liable for that person's life.

  • ||

    Ok. So how liable is she?

    Is she required to do everything in her power to make sure that the baby is born healthy?

    Should she be required to take folic acid during the first trimester to protect against neural tube defects?

    Should women who smoke and drink during pregnancy be punished?

    How far are you willing to go to make sure that women "own up to their responsibilities?"

  • ||

    How liable is a mother?

  • ||

    Why can't you just come out and say what you want, and how comfortable you are with this idea?

  • ||

    The bottom line, for me, is that I really don't care.

    The entire issue swings on one, simple, unprovable, concept...

    When is a person a person.

    It's a fun topic to think about/debate, but it doesn't deserve the passion that so many put into it.

    So, to answer your question...I don't WANT anything. Could care less. I will say:

    IF the fetus is a person at conception, its rights take priority over the mother's as she agreed to put it in there.

    IF the fetus is not a person until some point, go ahead and scrape it off, if you choose, until it is.

  • IceTrey||

    You again deny the fact of rape and failed contraception so your argument is false.

  • ||

    And YET AGAIN, you fail to recognize that the rights of the mother change when she consents to the parasite and when she doesn't.

    There is NOTHING inconsistent with weighing the rights of the mother differently based upon the situation. As we discussed yesterday, courts decide whose rights take precedence all the time. SO, provided it's a person:

    Rights of the child takes precedence when the sex was consensual. Rights of the mother if it was against her will.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Calling a killing "murder" is saying that the action you took that led to the death is unjust and you must take responsibility for it. The semantic distinction you are making does not exist.

  • ||

    Exactly, if the fetus is a person and their is a miscarriage that the woman could be deemed responsible for causing than she has to "take responsibility for [her] actions."

  • ||

    And there* is a miscarriage...man I wish we had an edit button. I fuck this shit up all the time in first drafts.

  • ||

    Pro-choicers immediately lose the argument if they allow any exceptions, like for rape.

    I think you mean pro-lifers.

  • IceTrey||

    Yeah. LOL.

  • SIV||

    "Rape and incest exception" people aren't pro-life. They're often politicians.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Then why are the pro-choicers against any exceptions?

  • ||

    life is guaranteed in the Constitution abortion is unconstitutional planned parenthood admits that abortion kills only laws the government should have is to prevent bones from being broken and your pocket picked so having a law restricting abortion is constitutional their a solid non religious argument

  • ||

    their a solid non religious argument

    This is anything but.

  • ||

    how so i ued the #1 abortion providers words & the constitution where is religion in my argument

  • sam the man||

    It would be nice if your grammar and spelling were a tad better. It would really make you sound more credible. Although technically you are correct, you did not make a religious argument and I personally agree with you that the issue is not religious.

  • ||

    Your argument was non-religious, but it is so incomprehensible and lacking im any supporting evidence that could never be characterized as "solid."

  • ||

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/b.....-they-are/ #1 what planned parenthood states on babies who survive & http://www.freerepublic.com/fo.....5302/posts evidance love the internet

  • kbolino||

    1. Learn how to read and write the English language.
    2. Learn how to employ the first-order predicate calculus.
    3. Try again.

  • Almanian!||

    derpfy spawn?

  • Almanian!||

    "For our next topic, The Reasonable would like to ponder whether circumcision should be encouraged or not, and whether being circumcised or not influences a boy's preference for New Yawk or Chicago style pizza, as well as his likelihood of becoming a home brewer....and whether he prefers to brew light beers or heavier types. Based upon whether he's circumced or not."

    Discuss....

  • sarcasmic||

    You forgot to consider if it is a properly healed circumcision or if the poor fellow has an adhesion.

  • Almanian!||

    So - would it be inappropriate to start posting Dead Baby jokes in this thread? Cause Dead Baby jokes were the SHIT in the 70's, but you never hear them any more.

    I want to bring back Dead Baby jokes.

    But maybe this thread isn't the right one....I don't know.

  • $park¥||

    What's worse than a barrel of dead babies?

    One at the bottom trying to eat its way out.

  • some guy||

    What's worse than that?

    He likes it.

  • The Renegade||

    What's worse than that?

    He goes back for seconds.

  • General Butt Naked||

    What's the difference between a truckload of bowling balls and a truckload of dead babies?

    You can't unload a truckload of bowling balls with a pitchfork.

  • General Butt Naked||

    What is red and creeps up you leg?

    A homesick abortion.

  • General Butt Naked||

    What's worse than finding 7 dead babies in a trash can?

    Finding one dead baby in 7 trash cans.

    --------------------------------------

    That's all I can remember right now. I should have some more, but I was 13 many years ago.

  • sarcasmic||

    I always liked the Grosser than Gross jokes.

    What's grosser than gross?
    Two vampires fighting over a used tampon.
    What's grosser than that?
    The winner.

  • ||

    What's red an bubbly and scratches at the glass?

    Baby in a microwave

    What's red and bubbly and scratches at the glass every 10 seconds?

    Baby in a carousel microwave

  • ||

    What's red and bubbly and and spins at 100 mph?

    Baby in a blender.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Oh, dang. I remember that one.

  • triclops||

    The only value I ever saw in those jokes was grossing out my squeamish classmates in middle school.

  • General Butt Naked||

    You know what grosses me out?

    Grown men having the same fucking abortion argument over and over and over...

  • Irish||

    Are you telling me you don't like abortion threads?!?!

    What's more interesting than an abortion discussion. No one ever gets offended by an abortion discussion. Whenever I'm at a fancy dinner, I try to avoid more controversial subjects and go right to talking about my opinions regarding abortion.

    For some reason, I don't get invited out much.

  • General Butt Naked||

    It's not that it's offensive, it's that it's fucking boring. There is nothing new to say; the same tired shit gets rehashed ad infinitum. Go read the above comments (excepting the dead baby jokes) and see if you can find anything novel. Hell, try to find a thing that hasn't been repeated in every one of the billions of abortion arguments since 1973.

  • Almanian!||

    I KNOW! Let's talk about pizza preferences!

    Oh, wait...

  • some guy||

    Eventually, mentioning pizza in abortion threads is going to become tiresome too. Then what will you do?

  • ||

    Mayonnaise?

  • RBS||

    Pretty much. I'd add that despite all that, not many people are going to change their positions.

  • ||

    I did. The pro-life argument won out.

  • General Butt Naked||

    It's easy to change your mind when you're born with a coat hanger wrapped around your head.

  • Apple||

    This is the first place I ever heard semi-intelligent arguments from both sides. Arguments not based entirely on religion or "my body, my choice, males have no right to an opinion!" were refreshing to me and actually convinced me to change my opinion on the matter. It might have been the 1000th time this debate has been rehashed on this page, but it was new to me the first time I stopped by. It'll probably be new and helpful to someone else in the future too. Debatable things are worth debating.

  • Randian||

    not to blow my own horn here, but I rarely hear brain life:life::brain death:death.

    I think that's a really straightforward, rational answer that no one seems interested in. Probably because it puts us right in the middle of conception and birth.

  • RBS||

    When does brain life begin? I really don't know or remember from when my wife was pregnant.

  • General Butt Naked||

    ...no one seems interested in.

    Then keep it to yourself. Is that so hard?

  • entropy||

    Week 14: By this stage, the baby is taking plenty of nourishment through the placenta. The fetus also begins its practice of breathing - inhaling and exhaling.
    Week 15: The baby's torso is now growing rapidly and it is completely covered with lanugo; fine hair that protects the skin. The sense of hearing also sharpens at this stage.
    Week 16: The baby makes its presence known by pulling and tugging on the umbilical cord.
    Week 18: The baby develops sensitivity to light and at the same time, the brain is growing rapidly.
    Week 19: The brain becomes capable of forming millions of motor neurons, enabling the baby to develop and make muscle movements voluntarily. The forebrain further develop into left and right cerebral hemispheres of the brain. The nerve cells required for the processing of all the senses are also developing rapidly.
    Week 20: Nerve cells at this stage are making complex connections and sensory perception with the brain and the entire body. This development carries on until the age of 5 or 6.
    Week 22: As the brain is understanding complex sensory perceptions, the fetus becomes capable of distinguishing between different sounds.

    http://www.buzzle.com/articles.....fetus.html

  • Randian||

    Hm. Great suggestion, GBN. Maybe I'll just hang out on threads that annoy me and tell everyone how annoyed I am. That would be productive and mature.

  • ||

    Perhaps he should change his handle to "General Butt Hurt."

  • entropy||

    Week 6: This week sees the formation of the brain hemispheres and also some wave activity. The neural tube that connects the brain and spinal cord also closes in this duration.
    Week 7: By this week, the brain is growing at a rapid rate.
    Week 8: In this week, the head is quite large, as compared to the rest of the body. The development of the hind brain, responsible for regulating heartbeat, breathing and all concerned muscle movements also begin now.
    Week 9: The nervous system, by now, is quite developed for proper functioning.
    Week 10: The genitals begin to develop at this stage, determining the sex of the fetus. Brain development is also very rapid as the brain is forming 250,000 neurons per minute.
    Week 11: The spinal cord is clearly defined and the spinal nerves start to stretch out from the spinal cord.
    Week 12: The brain enlarges very little as compared to its birth size and shape, along with the development of the taste buds and vocal cords.

  • Almanian!||

    I feel as though my dead-baby-joke reference made a difference. Thanks everyone who contributed their horrid bit to the dead, putrid pile.

    I always liked the visual ones....

    *makes shoveling motion*

    "What's this? Someone shoveling dead babies."

    *arms start jerking around*

    "What's this?? Got a live one...."

  • General Butt Naked||

    Oooh, good one.

    Never saw the visual ones. Must of been before my time.

  • $park¥||

    If you see one that looks like it might be alive, whack it with the shovel and move it to the bottom of the pile.

  • $park¥||

  • Zeb||

    No I will not watch it.

    And why do they keep pushing this thing? Are they sad when an abortion thread doesn't make it to 400 comments?

  • michael.bruce87@gmail.com||

    Did I miss either Ron or Katherine taking a firm position on when "personhood" begins? Really tired of abortion advocates basically saying "It's a really tough issue so let's leave the status quo alone."

  • kbolino||

    If a question cannot be answered, then inventing an answer is not an acceptable response.

  • Mickey Rat||

    If when personhood begins is a question that cannot be answered then the status of "person" is an arbitrary classification. If personhood is an arbitrary classification then the rights attached to it cannot be said to be inalienable. You cannot make a black/white distinction out of a gray blob.

  • ||

    If when personhood begins is a question that cannot be answered then the status of "person" is an arbitrary classification. If personhood is an arbitrary classification then the rights attached to it cannot be said to be inalienable.

    Oh bullshit.

    I know that a person is a person after it's born and therefore has the right to life. Just because the instant of "personhood" is not identifiable, DOES NOT mean it can never be ascertained.

  • Mickey Rat||

    If one says that a question can not be answered then the answer cannot be ascertained. Your answer is as useful as the definition of pornography being "I know it when I see it." It is an arbitrary and unexplained standard.

  • kbolino||

    Except you are conflating two different questions. "What is personhood?" is not the same question as "when does personhood begin?" Your argument is akin to saying that nothing is alive since we don't know how life began.

  • Mickey Rat||

    They are not different questions. One logically must follow from the other. If you cannot derive an answer to when personhood begins from your theory on what personhood is, then the latter lacks intellectual rigor and is an unfit basis for law.

  • thexjib||

    That is a really wise position... "we just don't know for sure so it is best to do nothing" Sound like wisdom to me.

  • CE||

    When does human life - and when do rights - begin?

    Human life begins at conception.
    Rights are an imaginary construct.

    What's the role of science - and religion - in setting abortion policy?

    Hopefully, science could inform people when a developing fetus is viable, and when it begins to feel pain, and when brain development begins, so people would know what they are doing when they attempt to kill it.

    Ideally, religion would have no role in public policy, but that's not the case in a democracy.

    Is there a role for the state in prohibiting, regulating, and providing abortion?

    Ideally there would be no state, and people would make their own decisions. Some of us would try to educate others on how early life begins, and try to persuade people to respect all human life.

  • KPres||

    "Some of us would try to educate others on how early life begins"

    And some others would just murder people that get an abortion. Not a problem, though, since rights are imaginary and there's nobody to stop them, anyway.

    Hell, some of those people might even band together, write down on a piece of paper somewhere that all abortions are wrong, then go around killing everybody that has an abortion....kinda like a government.

  • Randian||

    I like this, KPres.

    "Ideally there would be no state, and people would make their own decisions. Some of us would try to educate others on how early life begins, and try to persuade people to respect all human life."

    Yeah, gosh ideally speaking I'd just let someone murder my wife and then do nothing about it.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Hi, guys, did I miss anything? What are y'all talking about, anyway?

  • Almanian!||

    Dead baby jokes and pizza.

  • SIV||

    How do you make a dead baby float?

    Ice cream, root beer and one dead baby.

  • ||

    a bill he introduced in 2009 that would have required a woman to report her miscarriage to the police within 24 hours of it happening or risk jail time.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....07578.html

    An old bill dug up for political purposes, but it's a pretty good illustration of the kind of thing we could expect if we are going to say zygotes and fetuses have the same rights as infants.

  • thexjib||

    While libertarians might have many views and ideas about abortion there is only one "libertarian" view... pro choice.

  • Redmanfms||

    Umm. No.

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