Abortion

Why Is Killing Abortionists Wrong?

|

Leading pro-life activists are denouncing yesterday's murder of Kansas abortion doctor George Tiller, but I'm not sure I understand why. "It is immoral and it is unchristian," says the Rev. Rob Schenck of the National Clergy Council. Calling the killing "a cowardly act," Operation Rescue President Troy Newman says his group "has worked tirelessly on peaceful, nonviolent measures to bring [Tiller] to justice through the legal system, the legislative system….We are pro-life, and this act was antithetical to what we believe."

Yet if you honestly believe abortion is the murder of helpless children, it's hard to see why using deadly force against those who carry it out is immoral, especially since the government refuses to act. It may be unwise or counterproductive to the cause, as Schenck suggests when he worries that the killing could be "a greater setback to the pro-life movement than anything the so-called pro-choice movement could do." Promoting an image of pro-life activists as murderous extremists might dim the prospects for legislation restricting abortion, thereby leading to more deaths of unborn children than eliminating one abortionist prevents. But this is a tactical question that does not have to do with the inherent morality of killing in defense of innocent children.

Nor is it sufficient to note that killing Tiller was against the law. When the law blesses the murder of babies, it is hardly worthy of respect, any more than laws blessing the enslavement of Africans or the gassing of Jews were, and violent resistance against such enactments surely is justified in principle. Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry implicitly condemns Tiller's murder, saying, "We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God." Yet Terry continues to call Tiller a "mass murderer" and insists "the pro-life movement must not be browbeaten by Obama or the child-killers into surrendering our best rhetoric, actions and images," adding, "We hold absolutely no responsibility for [Tiller's] death."

The less militant anti-abortion organizations embrace a similar contradiction. Here is National Right to Life's statement:

National Right to Life extends its sympathies to Dr. Tiller's family over this loss of life.

Further, the National Right to Life Committee unequivocally condemns any such acts of violence regardless of motivation. The pro-life movement works to protect the right to life and increase respect for human life. The unlawful use of violence is directly contrary to that goal.

As I said, killing abortionists may be contrary to that goal for tactical reasons. But how is it possible to believe that fetuses are people with a right to life yet also believe that using deadly force to defend that right is wrong?

NEXT: Last Week's Top 5 Hit & Run Posts

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.

  1. But how is it possible to believe that fetuses are people with a right to life yet also believe that using deadly force to defend that right is wrong?

    You could be a pacifist.

    “Ladies, violence never solved anything…except conflict. Look, I’m a pacifist. I PASS a FIST. Get it?”

  2. Shorter Sullum: How is it possible to believe that two wrong don’t make a right?

  3. pacifists like me cannot justify the use of violence no matter the cause.

  4. anarch – noooo…because killing the abortion doctor would be the right thing to do, unless you’re stating that killing a concentration camp war criminal “wrong”, in which case, you’ll have to speak with the Nuremburg people about that.

  5. So any pro-lifer not killing abortion doctors is just a whiny little bitch?

  6. I am more interested in his involvement with the Lutheran church where he was an usher.That’s a contradiction I just can’t seem to wrap my head around.

  7. “But how is it possible to believe that fetuses are people with a right to life yet also believe that using deadly force to defend that right is wrong?”

    If someone grabbed a sniper rifle and started picking off guards at Auschwitz would it have been murder? This goes to the heart of why abortion is an impossible subject. On the one hand, if it is just a medical procedure and life begins at birth, why is a miscarriage such a tragedy? On the other hand, if it is murder, how can we all sit around and peacefully talk about it while millions of people are dying? Neither side explains their conundrum very well.

    That said, this was an act of terrorism. It was done not just for the purpose of killing this guy. It was done for the purpose of terrorizing other doctors into not doing abortions. That is the text book definition of terrorism.

    Sadly terrorism is really effective. That is why so many people do it. I mean at this point you would have to be nuts to provide abortions in this country.

  8. Is this building up to pointing out that pro-lifers are either murderers or hypocrites?

    Because that’s kinda weak.

  9. Some people believe all killing is wrong. I respect that view as logically consistent.

  10. Is this building up to pointing out that pro-lifers are either murderers or hypocrites?

    Um, yes . . .

  11. “Some people believe all killing is wrong. I respect that view as logically consistent.”

    I think we should take them at their word. I know a lot of people who are pro life and also anti death penalty.

  12. Hey Mad Max, pipe up please!

  13. I guess anti-abortionists should also seek and destroy all the women that had abortions in Tiller’s clinic.

  14. So any pro-lifer not killing abortion doctors is just a whiny little bitch?

    No, they’re just secret pro-choicers who are trying to get some pro-life pussy.

    Megan: Hey, you’re really hardcore, aren’t you?

    Mac: Oh, well, you know. I mean, if you really wanna see hardcore… (hands her a piece of paper)

    Megan: What’s this?

    Mac: That’s the list of doctors I’m gonna kill.

    Megan: There’s two already crossed out.

    Mac: Yeah, I know.

  15. Do Kansas jails have Internet access?

  16. I’m not a Catholic, but I think that the modern Catholic church probably has the best and most logical position on these issues, which is that the taking of another human life is never justifiable, with the exceptions that fall into the strictly defined “Just War” principles.

  17. Actually, bombing abortion clinics when they are not in use is just as effective as killing abortionists while not requiring the taking of a life. So this should be the first step. However, if an abortionist rebuilds a couple of times, then he or she should be fair game.

  18. But how is it possible to believe that fetuses are people with a right to life yet also believe that using deadly force to defend that right is wrong?

    I don’t think it is possible to believe that fetuses are anything other than [unborn] people is it? I can only speak for the Catholic conscience, which is fairly consistent in its belief in the sanctity of life, but last I checked there was a commandment against murder, which this clearly was.

    As to whether fetuses have a “right” t life, that is not for me to decide. I am interested in letting the Supreme Court take another swing at it though.

  19. I think if one has the deontological position that all killing is wrong you can get away with it.

    But if you think killing is justified and that abortion is indeed fully murder, then it’s gonna be a hard one for ya.

  20. Tricky, especially considering that many pro-lifers (though hardly all) support the death penalty. That said, though, I think I could sort of make a case for the pro-lifer. It’s not easy, and certainly it exposes tension in the pro-life position, but it’s doable. You could take the pacifist line, as suggested above, or you could take a line that says that violence is only justified in cases of imminent danger. The abortion doctor may be putting Fetal Americans in danger, but presumably the guy is not hurting anyone at his home or anything. Even in the abortion clinic itself, the only violence you’d really need would be just that “violence” you’d need to restrain the guy. Shooting him would be, well, overkill.

    Again, I don’t think it’s a terribly strong position, which should suggest to the pro-lifer that maybe his/her premises need to be reconsidered. But I’m not sure it’s a contradiction, especially if you have a problem with vigilantism. It’s one thing to say you’d be justified in liberating a plantation or a concentration camp. It’s quite another to say that you’d be justified in assassination and terrorism against the people in charge.

  21. “I don’t think it is possible to believe that fetuses are anything other than [unborn] people is it?”

    I think its undeniable that at the moment the sperm and egg join you have something human there. But a person in a vegatative state for whom a machine keeps alive is also certainly a human.

    The problem is that its not so much human beings that have so much moral weight as it is persons. And are fetuses, embryos, or persons in vegetative states such persons?

    Ever watched a movie or had the tragedy of visiting someone in a vegetative state? Someone will ultimately say “that’s not uncle John, uncle John passed a long time ago” in reference to the certainly human being in front of you….

  22. DR. TILLER WAS A HERO.

  23. Since the author of this otherwise worthwhile article chose to include a snippet of conventional wisdom regarding Auschwitz, permit me to post the following for your consideration and enjoyment:

    Governments of Israel, Poland, and Germany, published information refuting holocaust!

    For decades the commemorative plaques at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland proclaimed that the number of Jews murdered in that camp was 4 million; consequently 2 million must have been murdered elsewhere to arrive at the historic figure of 6 million Jews gassed and cremated by the Nazis.

    In 1990 the Polish government, after years of study and research concluded that the number of Jews murdered in Auschwitz had been exaggerated by the communists who had liberated this concentration camp, and that 1.5 million was a more realistic number. The commemorative plaques were replaced with new ones acknowledging this reduced estimate.

    Subsequently this lower figure was further reduced to a generally accepted number of 1.1 million (as per Wikipidia) for a revised total claim of 3.1 million murdered Jews.

    In 2002 the Israeli government is on record as stating that in the year 2000 about 1.1 million holocaust survivors were still alive.

    In 2005 the German government is on record as stating that it was still paying compensation to about 1.5 million holocaust survivors.

    The conflicting data from Israel and Germany may be averaged: (1.1 m + 1.5 m) / 2 = 1.3 million survivers in 2003, to establish a point half-way between the two data points. That puts the number of survivors at 1.3 million 58 years after liberation of the camps.

    The American Journal of Public Health, Dec. 1949, pg 1582, published the mortality rates for various European countries, varying from a low of 8 per thousand to almost 15 per thousand population. Since the camp survivors had been subjected to deprivations, disease, starvation, physical abuse, freezing cold, medical experiments, etc. it is reasonable to conclude that the camp survivors as a group would have a mortality rate at least at the higher level of 15 per thousand, certainly not less or the claims of deprivations would then sound hollow.

    The mortality rate of 15 per thousand may be applied as a multiplier to the Jewish survivor population as follows: P x .985**58 = 1.3 m, where P is the number of survivors in 1945, .985 is the multiplier for a mortality rate of 15 per thousand, meaning that 1000 people x .985 = (1000 – 15) = 985 people survive after one year. After 58 years the original population will have decreased by .985 raised to the 58th power, ie. .985 x .985 x .985 x …. for 58 terms. Then, solving the equation for P, and using the known information as published by the above governments, the calculation shows that: P = (1.3 m / .985**58) = (1.3 m / .416) = 3.124 million survivors in 1945, ie. slightly more than the number claimed as murdered.

    As author and professor Norman Finkelstein so aptly put it in his book: “With all these holocaust survivors, who did the Nazis kill”? Now we know: NOT ONE, as affirmed by those questioning the veracity of the premise of the holocaust.

    HdC

  24. I am more interested in his involvement with the Lutheran church where he was an usher.That’s a contradiction I just can’t seem to wrap my head around.

    I’m guessing ELCA, brotherben.

    Definitely nor Missouri Synod.

  25. But how is it possible to believe that fetuses are people with a right to life yet also believe that using deadly force to defend that right is wrong?

    Because if all life is precious, so is Dr. Tiller’s.

  26. Jacob, why do you believe that fetuses (even if they are 50 years old) have the right to life?

    They are nothing but clumps of cells.

  27. The only real question is whether a woman that seeks an abortion should be treated as an accessory to murder or co-conspirator.

  28. Next up on Reason.

    Why the ACLU are hypocrites because they oppose the use of the death penalty to protect abortion doctors.

  29. And Jacob, why are you using terms like ‘murder’ and ‘killing’? This was nothing but an abortion of Tiller; he was nothing but a clump of cells.

  30. “I think its undeniable that at the moment the sperm and egg join you have something human there. But a person in a vegatative state for whom a machine keeps alive is also certainly a human.

    The problem is that its not so much human beings that have so much moral weight as it is persons. And are fetuses, embryos, or persons in vegetative states such persons?”

    That is a very good point. But it I think proves too much. Once you start defining who is entitled to life and who is not entitled to life based on capabilities, it is a very slipery slope. You make an excellent point in how abortion is inextricably tied to euthanasia in that the answers to both issues are determined by what we consider to be a human being.

    Two things to consider. First, unlike the person in a coma, the fetus has an overwelming chance of someday being a fully functional person. So, even if it is okay to pull the plug on grandpa, that doesn’t mean abortion is okay. You certainly wouldn’t pull the plug on grandpa if the doctors told you he had a 99% chance of a full recovery in 9 months time.

    Second, if your right to exists depends on your capabilities, at what point do your capabilities get so weak as to take away your right to life? Once we say it is okay to stop feeding grandpa in a coma and letting him die, where do we stop? What is the definition of “personhood”. That part really scares me. I think we run a real danger of letting capabilities be defined so broadly that it becomes okay to kill the sick and the different. I would rather just pay for grandpa to be on the machine for a while.

  31. Abortionists do get a lot of pussy.

  32. “They are nothing but clumps of cells.”

    As are we all.

  33. Ever watched a movie or had the tragedy of visiting someone in a vegetative state? Someone will ultimately say “that’s not uncle John, uncle John passed a long time ago” in reference to the certainly human being in front of you….

    Which is why I find it odd that anyone who is pro-choice has a problem with DNRs or assisted suicide. I am pro-life but think it was a huge mistake for the state of California to spend however many millions of (taxpayer) dollars in neonatal intensive care for the Suleman octuplets. The right to life does not mean that everyone gets to live, just that no one is prevented from living against their will.

  34. I think what it comes down to is that no one is sure when, exactly, a thing goes from fetus with no rights to human being with full rights pertaining thereto. I’m not sure this CAN be known. All we’ve got is an arbitrary line, and folks arguing about where that line should be drawn. For instance, if i recall my medieval theology correctly, it was Thomas Aquinas who placed the beginning of life at 40 days after conception, but it’s not like the subject was any clearer then.

  35. Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
    Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

  36. I think its undeniable that at the moment the sperm and egg join you have something human there. But a person in a vegetative state for whom a machine keeps alive is also certainly a human.

    I disagree even with this concession. I have more in common with my house cat, in most relevant ways, than I do with a one-week old fertilized egg.

  37. Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord GOD, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?

    –Ezekiel 18:23

    At least for those pro-lifers who are religious, that would explain it.

  38. John, the problem imo is that with Roe v Wade, the govt. weakened societal requirements for sanctity of life. It isn’t very far from aborting a baby to killing the abortionist. It allows for justifying the statement that some folks just need to be killed.

  39. “”They are nothing but clumps of cells.””

    That’s bullshit. Tiller was a third-trimester abortionist. He destroyed humans that on there own were viable outside of the womb (granted they’d need food and a diaper change now and then). This wasn’t some guy at planned parenthood.

    I am glad he no longer practices medicine.

  40. Which is why I find it odd that anyone who is pro-choice has a problem with DNRs or assisted suicide.

    Conversely, living as i do in the shadow of PETA headquarters, i’ve met an awful lot of pro-choice vegetarians and vegans. They’re ok with destroying a human embryo, but not that of a chicken.

  41. But how is it possible to believe that fetuses are people with a right to life yet also believe that using deadly force to defend that right is wrong?

    Well, because generally speaking, you don’t have a right to use deadly force except under certain narrowly defined circumstances. One of them is in a just war. Another is in self-defense. A third in in defense of others. The only one of these categories that even arguably applies is defense of others, and that doesn’t really work unless you’re killing the abortionist as he’s actually preparing to perform an abortion (which clearly wasn’t the case here). Any other rule would lead to absurd results such as the conclusion that it would be OK for me to kill a mobster in church because I believed he was planning to kill me later in the week–or that it would be OK to attack Iraq because I believed Saddam’s government was stockpiling WMDs to use against me.

  42. I think what it comes down to is that no one is sure when, exactly, a thing goes from fetus with no rights to human being with full rights pertaining thereto. I’m not sure this CAN be known. All we’ve got is an arbitrary line, and folks arguing about where that line should be drawn.

    If a defining characteristic of humanity is sapience (esp. if we situate our individuality as an expression of mind, e.g. personality), then a creature that does not yet have a nervous system or brain could not yet be human. I’d call that the absolute lower bound.

    Where the practical bound should fall, I think, for many reasons, is the line beyond which the fetus has a non-negligible chance for survival outside the womb. That line, of course, moves back with technological and other medical breakthroughs, though I think it can’t be moved past the “hard lower bound” of absence of a formed and active nervous system.

  43. I also wonder how many people who think the murder of Tiller was outrageous think it would be OK (if not laudable) for Israel to kill Iranians in an attack against Iranian nuclear facilities, on the ground that Iran *might* be planning to make bombs that *might* be used against Israel.

  44. “John, the problem imo is that with Roe v Wade, the govt. weakened societal requirements for sanctity of life. It isn’t very far from aborting a baby to killing the abortionist. It allows for justifying the statement that some folks just need to be killed.”

    I agree. I think the answer to abortion is some kind of compromise where people have access to morning after pills and first trimester abortions but after that it is banned. I get the idea that a zygote is not quite the same thing as a baby. But at the same time, I have a hard time buying that a six and seven month old fetus that in this day and age would be nothing but a routine premi, is just bag of cells at the mercy of the mother.

  45. But how is it possible to believe that fetuses are people with a right to life yet also believe that using deadly force to defend that right is wrong?

    Even if someone fully believes this, this particular type of killing would still be wrong. The deceased wasn’t in the act of imminently taking another life, so the use of deadly force wasn’t defending anyone. If you see a suspected murderer on the street, you can’t just shoot him. The “correct” procedure would be to detain him and try him before a jury of his peers before meting out punishment.

    Even if a suspected murderer is about to kill again, a would-be vigilante/life defender is obligated to use the lowest degree of force necessary to prevent the killing — perhaps a verbal warning and a chance to surrender peacefully.

  46. Since, 1973 roughly 40-50 million fetuses have been aborted. That means 40-50 million people are not paying into the Social Security system! I don’t care that there dead, I just care that SS ids bankrupt and I’m not getting more benefits.

    1. Don’t worry. Illegal aliens with fake ssn’s are paying in for the aborted babies. It’s all good.

  47. I also wonder how many people who think the murder of Tiller was outrageous think it would be OK (if not laudable) for Israel to kill Iranians in an attack against Iranian nuclear facilities, on the ground that Iran *might* be planning to make bombs that *might* be used against Israel.

    Faulty analogy. Tiller had performed abortions in the past and planned to perform them in the future. No one would fault Israel (well, no with half-a-brain) if they bombed Iranian nuke facilities after they had been nuked, imminent threat or not.

  48. Yet if you honestly believe abortion is the murder of helpless children, it’s hard to see why using deadly force against those who carry it out is immoral

    If Tiller was shot whilst conducting an abortion, you might have a tiny distorted shadow of a point. But he was not. You don’t shoot murderers walking down the street. Even if the government is doing nothing about it.

  49. And to go along with Craig, vigilantes a la Batman don’t kill, they detain.

  50. “That means 40-50 million people are not paying into the Social Security system!”

    They are also not writing music, books, fixing cars or doing all the other wonderful productive and interesting things human beings do. That bothers me a bit more than the loss to social security.

  51. “If Tiller was shot whilst conducting an abortion, you might have a tiny distorted shadow of a point. But he was not. You don’t shoot murderers walking down the street. Even if the government is doing nothing about it.”

    Exactly. But imagine if the father of a baby he was about to abort, went to the clinic and shot him. What an interesting murder trial that would make.

  52. so, you don’t shoot Hitler until he starts issuing orders?

  53. “That bothers me a bit more than the loss to social security.”

    What bothers me is that they are disproportionately brownish in color.

  54. how is it possible to believe that fetuses are people with a right to life yet also believe that using deadly force to defend that right is wrong?

    because your belief that killing is always wrong outweighs the “good of the many” argument? that isn’t even a logically inconsistent argument. you’re really, really reaching with this one Jacob.

  55. Here’s an alternative perspective. I’m anti death penalty, but most people would agree (at least in a knee-jerk reaction) that it’s not as morally objectionable for the state to execute a murderer as it is for a private citizen to do the same. Why is that? I would argue that the law does not exist to enforce morality or protect citizens, but to provide an agreed-upon and mutually acceptable system of recourse for victims.

    So if someone murders my mom, that person can be punished by the government or be punished by me and my family. In the former case, there’s a fair chance that at the end of it all everyone will agree justice was served (or if it wasn’t its the government’s fault). But if it’s left to my family, we may kill someone who we later find out was innocent, or we may be so mad that we kill the murderer’s mom instead of the murderer. In any case, we’re far from impartial, and there’s a fair chance our actions will result in retaliation. That leads to escalation and a cycle of violence which is very harmful to society.

    You could also argue that such vigilantiism is inherantly immoral since it is motivated by hate and anger rather than necessity or self-defense.

    How does this relate to killing abortion docs? Well, you can believe that they are committing immoral acts which ought to be punished by the state. At the same time, you can believe vigilante justice is immoral because of it’s danger and motivations, even in the absense of legal recourse.

  56. Where the fuck is Max, dammit?

  57. Did a real live holocaust denier just stumble through here, and nobody had a thing to say about it? Did I just dream that?

  58. I am not sure what Sullumn’s point is. I think he is just trying to goad abortion foes into supporting the killer and thus discrediting themselves.

  59. If a defining characteristic of humanity is sapience (esp. if we situate our individuality as an expression of mind, e.g. personality), then a creature that does not yet have a nervous system or brain could not yet be human. I’d call that the absolute lower bound.

    I agree with you, with the caveat that i know a huge amount of people in their 20s who have yet to develop anything approaching personality or individuality.

    The only one of these categories that even arguably applies is defense of others

    Couldn’t you apply that argument in defense of some abortions as well, say, in the case of a teenager who is pregnant as a result of rape? It’s certainly not possible to argue that her life wouldn’t be pretty much destroyed, psychologically, emotionally, and probably economically, by carrying the pregnancy to term.

  60. Where the fuck is Max, dammit?

    He’s off bring up abortion in threads that don’t have anything to do with it.

  61. “Did a real live holocaust denier just stumble through here, and nobody had a thing to say about it? Did I just dream that?”

    I thought about it. But I thought it better to ignore him than encourage him and highjack what is otherwise a decent thread. Most of those people crawl out of their holes looking for attention more than anything else.

  62. If you see a suspected murderer on the street, you can’t just shoot him.

    Maybe so, but in this case the good doctor was an admitted abortionist. This means that we have a serial murderer who has publicly acknowledged that he has ended pregnacies in the past and has no intention of stopping.

    So when you have a serial murderer, that has admitted his crimes in public, has stated his committment to continue those crimes, and the state apparatus has declared that it won’t interfere in the continuing serial murder of future babies, then yes public execution at any time of convenience is justified.

  63. Couldn’t you apply that argument in defense of some abortions as well, say, in the case of a teenager who is pregnant as a result of rape? It’s certainly not possible to argue that her life wouldn’t be pretty much destroyed, psychologically, emotionally, and probably economically, by carrying the pregnancy to term.

    Women have no rights, Xeones. Duh.

  64. So, again, Hitler’s on his way to work in the Central Office. You don’t kill him until he “imminently” starts issuing Holocaust-related orders?

  65. “Couldn’t you apply that argument in defense of some abortions as well, say, in the case of a teenager who is pregnant as a result of rape? It’s certainly not possible to argue that her life wouldn’t be pretty much destroyed, psychologically, emotionally, and probably economically, by carrying the pregnancy to term.”

    Maybe. But if a one year old contracts a terrible disease and is severely handicapped for life, that would probably destroy the mother psychologically, emotionally and economically to. Would it be okay for her to save the trouble and kill the one year old?

  66. Oh, and I object to your groupism, Jacob. Here’s a cluestick: We are all individuals, with our own divergent beliefs and ideologies. Don’t cram several hundred million Americans into one of two tiny pidgeonholes, because we won’t fit. Accusing those on the pro-life side of hypocrisy because they aren’t following your narrow opinion of how they should act is crap.

  67. If abortion is akin to murder, then the woman who makes the decision to have an abortion is guilty of conspiring to commit murder, along with the abortion doctor. Anyone working at the clinic is also an accessory to the crime.

    O’Reilly should be pointing his finger at the women, not the doctor.

  68. Women have no rights, Xeones. Duh.

    I was gonna say something smart alecky, but then i remembered that you’re from Kentucky and are being completely serious.

    Did I just dream that?

    An actual decent, thoughtful (relatively) abortion discussion on the internet is too rare and beautiful a creature to derail, dude.

  69. “I thought about it. But I thought it better to ignore him than encourage him and highjack what is otherwise a decent thread. Most of those people crawl out of their holes looking for attention more than anything else.”

    I thought about it too, but then decided to pass. But I was reminded of the comedian that said the only six Jews were killed holocaust but since Jews are prone to exageration, over time the number mushroomed to 6 million.

  70. My mother had 2 abortions and my father paid for 4. There is a good 6 to 1 are not good odds. If you were born after Roe v. Wade like me, we’ve literally survived. The idea that I could not be here right now and that I could have 6 siblings really fucks me up. How could it not?

  71. I was gonna say something smart alecky, but then i remembered that you’re from Kentucky and are being completely serious.

    I only get 15 sarcasm credits a week, I had to go a waste one of them on you.

  72. Yet if you honestly believe abortion is the murder of helpless children, it’s hard to see why using deadly force against those who carry it out is immoral, especially since the government refuses to act.

    Leaving aside war, perhaps the only time it is moral to use violence against someone else is in self-defense (broadly defined to include acting in response to an imminent threat to yourself or others). I don’t think you can call this self-defense, as the doctor wasn’t posing an imminent threat to any fetus while he was passing out programs at church.

    Ergo, what the doctor and the shooter did was immoral, even if you believe abortion is murder. Both an abortion and shooting an abortionist in church are murder, as neither can be considered self-defense.

    Was that so hard?

    If someone grabbed a sniper rifle and started picking off guards at Auschwitz would it have been murder?

    Arguably, a war crime, if the sniper was an illegal combatant. Whether a combatant (illegal or not) killing someone actively serving in the armed forces during a time of war is murder, I couldn’t say.

  73. Maybe. But if a one year old contracts a terrible disease and is severely handicapped for life, that would probably destroy the mother psychologically, emotionally and economically to. Would it be okay for her to save the trouble and kill the one year old?

    Worked for Sparta.

  74. I have to say that I support what is known as the “consistent life ethic”, meaning that taking anyone’s life, for any reason, is immoral – even if by taking that person’s life you would prevent others from dying. Self-defense is theoretically justifiable, but only because the threat of imminent danger makes it difficult to make well thought out moral decisions, but even killing in self-defense should be considered regrettable. There’s no excuse for walking up to someone and just taking them out, however.

    Basically, in short, it’s wrong to kill anyone, not even abortion practitioners or serial killers. “Pro-life” means being pro-ALL-life. Tommy Grand and John at about 2 o’clock seem to understand this side of the pro-life argument.

  75. ***SURVIVOR | June 1, 2009, 2:45pm | #
    My mother had 2 abortions and my father paid for 4. There is a good 6 to 1 are not good odds. If you were born after Roe v. Wade like me, we’ve literally survived. The idea that I could not be here right now and that I could have 6 siblings really fucks me up. How could it not?***

    Yeah that fucks with my head too. Momma thinks she can decide whether I live? Well, fuck that cunt!

  76. Jonas said, “Self-defense is theoretically justifiable, but only because the threat of imminent danger makes it difficult to make well thought out moral decisions,”

    Jonas, I am a little touched in the head and it makes it difficult to make well thought out moral decisions. Where does that leave me when I feel that some folks just need killing?

  77. “Maybe. But if a one year old contracts a terrible disease and is severely handicapped for life, that would probably destroy the mother psychologically, emotionally and economically to. Would it be okay for her to save the trouble and kill the one year old?

    Worked for Sparta.”

    Only until the Macedonians showed up. Then they were reduced to a being a small village doing nastalgia acts for visiting Romans.

  78. If Tiller was shot whilst conducting an abortion, you might have a tiny distorted shadow of a point. But he was not. You don’t shoot murderers walking down the street. Even if the government is doing nothing about it.

    I don’t think this is true. If you had a political situation where the government declared that certain mobsters had an automatic right to kill whoever they wanted at any time [sort of like the ancient samurai did] then I think if you were a member of the non-samurai group you would in fact be entitled to shoot members of the privileged class as they walked down the street.

    In social systems where one group is privileged with the extraordinary right to abuse others, the entire system of law is illegitimate and one can morally resist it up to and including by committing violence.

    Think of a political system that allowed slavery, for example. Slaves, and their defenders, would certainly be entitled to commit acts of political violence against members of the master class, even if they were just walking down the street.

    All this being said, to return to the original post for a moment, I think the reason people ” believe that fetuses are people with a right to life yet also believe that using deadly force to defend that right is wrong” is because people are very hesitant to engage in political violence before all other options are exhausted. If libertarians “really believe” that only certain government powers are permitted, why is there no libertarian revolution? If Christians really believe in eternal damnation, why don’t they burn heretics any more? Because people stop short of violence even when they have strongly-held beliefs that would seem to logically end in violence.

  79. I often agree with Sullum, but this column I just can’t wrap my head around. There are legitimate and peaceful ways of defending the unborn that are far more effective than killing the doctor who performs them. From what I understand, Tiller was very close to having his license revoked. This is a legitimate way of stopping him.

    Being a libertarian means not forcing your will upon another. Murdering someone is anti-libertarian.

    The murder of Dr. Tiller cannot be seen as self-defense or defending the defenseless when other legitimate and legal means aids in the defense of the unborn at a much greater level.

  80. I thought the black dude in A Time to Kill should have been found guilty (and then given the minimum possible penalty). I would have forced a hung jury if I had been on it (yeah, yeah, I know its fiction).

    So, lets see…pro-life, mixed on death penalty (due to process more than in theory), in favor of pretty loose castle doctrines, and anti-vigilante.

    Nope, dont see any contradictions there.

  81. I would rather just pay for grandpa to be on the machine for a while.

    And if you don’t have that kind of money?

  82. Nastalgia: To reminisce about extreme sex acts.

  83. “Yet if you honestly believe abortion is the murder of helpless children, it’s hard to see why using deadly force against those who carry it out is immoral, especially since the government refuses to act.”

    Unless you take a consistent Tolstoyan type position of “non-resistance to evil.” Most Christians however, do not. Only the Quakers, Amish, Mennonites, (some) Jehovas Witnesses and a (very) few others could claim that is their reasoning.

  84. “Because people stop short of violence even when they have strongly-held beliefs that would seem to logically end in violence.”

    Or to put it another way: The fact that people stop short of committing violence over beliefs that would seem to logically end in violence does not mean those beliefs are not sincere and strongly held.

  85. “A Time to Kill”

    At my house we refer to this film as “Some Time to Kill” because there could be no other reason for watching it. Very, very bad acting all around.

  86. “At my house we refer to this film as “Some Time to Kill” because there could be no other reason for watching it. Very, very bad acting all around.”

    Worst American novelest of the 20th Century? I think any list has to include Grisham near the top, although my vote would go for David Foster Wallace. Grisham wrote crap, but at least he didn’t try to pretend it was profound.

  87. “Only the Quakers, Amish, Mennonites…”

    I lived with the Amish in Central PA. Good folks.

  88. If Christians really believe in eternal damnation, why don’t they burn heretics any more? Because people stop short of violence even when they have strongly-held beliefs that would seem to logically end in violence.

    Indeed. To paraphrase a quote I once heard, the difference between a gangster and an ordinary man is that for a gangster, violence is not a method of last resort.

  89. I am one shitty actor, folks.

  90. I only get 15 sarcasm credits a week, I had to go a waste one of them on you.

    Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

  91. so, you don’t shoot Hitler until he starts issuing orders?

    Well, maybe you could go back in time to kill Hitler, or maybe you couldn’t.

  92. Reading this blog makes me wish my mother would have sucked my brains out.

  93. Nastalgia: To reminisce about extreme sex acts.

    Good neologism.

    On topic: by Xenu’s scrotum! A “good” abortion thread!

  94. Hambone, I agree they are good folks. And they are the only people I trust when it comes to building anything made of wood. Does that make me a religious bigot by the way? I’m not Amish or I wouldn’t be posting here. Just wondering. Could a craftsman be sued for advertising “Handmade Amish Wood Furniture?”

  95. https://www.reason.com/blog/show/133830.html#1294165

    Jonas, I am a little touched in the head and it makes it difficult to make well thought out moral decisions. Where does that leave me when I feel that some folks just need killing?

    The killing is still wrong. That’s just what I’m getting at. You can’t say, “Well, that guy is a little touched in the head, so it’s really not so bad that he killed someone,” or “Well, that guy he killed deserved to die, so it’s really not that bad.”

    When I said certain killings are more “justifiable”, I just meant *legally* justifiable. The death penalty should never be a legal option, for example. People who kill in the heat of the moment in order to defend themselves or someone else have less stringent legal repercussions than someone who kills in cold blood. People who are “touched in the head” have more legal defense options than someone who’s perfectly sane and of average intelligence.

  96. “Hambone, I agree they are good folks. And they are the only people I trust when it comes to building anything made of wood. Does that make me a religious bigot by the way? I’m not Amish or I wouldn’t be posting here. Just wondering. Could a craftsman be sued for advertising “Handmade Amish Wood Furniture?”

    Where I live if you are just ordinary rich you buy a house, tear it down and hire a few mexicans to come in and throw you up a McMansion in a couple of months. But if you are really rich. I mean special rich. You buy a house, tear it down and hire a bunch of Pennsylvania Amish to come down and build you a house. No shit. An Amish built house is now the thing to have for the millionaire with everything.

  97. Could a craftsman be sued for advertising “Handmade Amish Wood Furniture?”

    Around here this just means that they are selling it on commission for the Amish.

  98. If you had a political situation where the government declared that certain mobsters had an automatic right to kill whoever they wanted at any time [sort of like the ancient samurai did] then I think if you were a member of the non-samurai group you would in fact be entitled to shoot members of the privileged class as they walked down the street.

    We actually have that today. Several states still have the death penalty. Why can we not shoot down legal executioners as they walk down the street?

  99. “We actually have that today. Several states still have the death penalty. Why can we not shoot down legal executioners as they walk down the street?”

    Yes because executioners just grab people off the street and kill them at random.

  100. Sullum are you anti-choice or not?

    1. Dude this is kind of heartfelt so please read it… I knew one of these day’s I’d see that term written somewhere. The problem with that statement is that the only reason the anti abortion movement started going by “pro-life” is because the Pro abortionists started going by ” pro choice” and the reason for it is that “we support choice” sounds better than ” we support a womens right to end her pregnancy” So sure coat your side in sugar thats fine everyone does it, but please don’t try and make the other side look like their side is obviously wrong, because if you do that in real life it makes you look like an ass. Sorry.

  101. Single point absolutism (aka zero-tolerance) is an attractive philosophy that inevitably leads to tyranny.

  102. Yes because executioners just grab people off the street and kill them at random.

    Yeah, um, just like abortion doctors do…oh wait.

  103. John,

    There are innocent people who have been executed by the state. What if one of the executioners who killed an innocent person were shot on the street by a vigilante? Would that be just?

  104. “Yeah, um, just like abortion doctors do…oh wait.”

    So you mean that aborted fetuses get 10 plus years of due process and have to be found guilty by a jury of their peers of some form of aggrivated first degree murder? Wow there are a lot of really violent fetuses out there.

  105. “There are innocent people who have been executed by the state.”

    Name one with link providing proof. Not someone who was innocent and spent time on death row. But someone who was exectuted and is now known undisputably to be innocent.

  106. Conversely, living as i do in the shadow of PETA headquarters, i’ve met an awful lot of pro-choice vegetarians and vegans. They’re ok with destroying a human embryo, but not that of a chicken.

    Stupid PETA, human embryos don’t make very good omlettes!

  107. John,

    Quick google search. I can find more if you like
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/21/AR2005112101384.html

  108. Pour some sugar on me!

  109. “Could a craftsman be sued for advertising “Handmade Amish Wood Furniture?””

    The chickens I buy at the local butcher are called Amish Fams on the label, but I doubt they really came from an Amish farm.

    Would the Amish sue anyone for trademark infringement? I doubt they have registered trademarks, but then, they do use electricity in their milking barns.

  110. So you mean that aborted fetuses get 10 plus years of due process and have to be found guilty by a jury of their peers of some form of aggrivated first degree murder? Wow there are a lot of really violent fetuses out there.

    No, I mean there aren’t any fetuses even available to “grab…off the street and kill…at random.” I mean seriously, at random? That’s really stretching things.

  111. You can’t kill someone because it’s illegal. If you don’t like the laws get them changed. How about a bit of common sense.

  112. well since most of the pro-lifers are christians I think that thou shalt not kill rule kind of frowns on murder.

  113. DHS,

    The Cantu case is an interesting one. The witnesses recanted but seem generally unreliable. I remember living in San Antonio when that came out. I forgot about it. He may be the only legitimately innocent guy ever to be executed in this country.

  114. Hey SugarFree,

    Pour some sugar on me!

    You are exhibiting a severe miscomprehension of my handle. 🙂

  115. DHS,

    I am not buying the Willingham case. They didn’t just had forensics in that case. They had the guys neighbors who testified that as the house began smoldering, Willingham was crouched down in the front yard, and despite the neighbors’ pleas, refused to go into the house in any attempt to rescue the children.

    The anti death penalty sites conveintly leave out that fact when they talk about the forensics in the case.

  116. John,

    OK, so we have at least one. The question was a philosophical one. Let us suppose a vigilante by the name of Rorschach were to hunt down the executioner who killed that innocent man and kill him in the exact same way that he killed that man. Would that be just?

  117. John,

    You may be right about DFW’s novels, which aren’t terribly good, but you have to admit he’s an essayist of the first rank.

  118. First, I know nothing about this, but…

    “They had the guys neighbors who testified that as the house began smoldering, Willingham was crouched down in the front yard, and despite the neighbors’ pleas, refused to go into the house in any attempt to rescue the children.”

    That strikes me as kind of funny. If the neighbors were so bent, why didn’t they go inside?

  119. Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has a good explanation of why murdering Tiller was wrong.

    http://www.albertmohler.com/blog_read.php?id=3866

  120. “You may be right about DFW’s novels, which aren’t terribly good, but you have to admit he’s an essayist of the first rank.”

    His essays are very good. He was brilliant with language and words. The problem was he had no idea how to write believable characters and interesting coherent plots. I thought Infinate Jest was the most pretentious piece of crap I have ever read. But, his essays about lobster fishing and such are really good. Sadly, he was a really troubled guy and killed himself last year.

  121. “OK, so we have at least one. The question was a philosophical one. Let us suppose a vigilante by the name of Rorschach were to hunt down the executioner who killed that innocent man and kill him in the exact same way that he killed that man. Would that be just?”

    No. Because that was just the guy pulling the switch. He acted in good faith thinking he was doing justice. If you want to kill anyone. Kill the DA who framed the guy.

  122. Stupid PETA, human embryos don’t make very good omlettes!

    Do you think chicken embryos do? Have you ever cracked open a soft-boiled, fertilized chicken egg that had been fertilized for a bit too long? 🙂

  123. “No. Because that was just the guy pulling the switch. He acted in good faith thinking he was doing justice. If you want to kill anyone. Kill the DA who framed the guy.”

    Befehl ist Befehl

  124. My youngest one told us she’d become a pro-lifer if the pro-life organizations put as much money & passion against wars as they do for their demands that government should control spawning habits.

    Out of the mouths of babes, squared!

    1. Children are reflections of their parents. My family say similar things now and again, but they do it from the other side. The only reason you have ANY of the beliefs you or your children have, are a result of something someone told, or did too you.

  125. Augie – did United States wars kill 1.21 million people last year?

    Thought not. Your child isn’t that clever, so tuck in that chest.

  126. I attend the same church as Mohler. I should bring him a sixer of my homebrew some time. 🙂

  127. “My youngest one told us she’d become a pro-lifer if the pro-life organizations put as much money & passion against wars as they do for their demands that government should control spawning habits.”

    So war is the same as abortion? Even if it was, why are pro life people obligated to fight every form of death and not just concentrait on the one that is happening here? Either they are right about abortion or they are not. Their failure to protest wars doesn’t make them any more or less right about abortion.

    Your youngest is a moron Augie. Looks like she didn’t fall far from the tree.

  128. At my house we refer to this film as “Some Time to Kill”

    It was a film too?

  129. Good article in that it does explore an uncomfortable thought process to go through. If Hitler was killed would that be ok? If so then why not someone who murders babies if that is your belief.

    I think this stems from it being a hotly debated issue, not concrete in any sense, the operation he performed was in fact legal.

    I might believe it’s murder but that doesnt give me the right to kill this man anymore than someone rationalizing I am killing Muslims by voting for Bush or that the people in the WTC deserved to die on 9/11 because they are “little Eichmans”.

  130. “No. Because that was just the guy pulling the switch. He acted in good faith thinking he was doing justice. If you want to kill anyone. Kill the DA who framed the guy.”

    This really does sound like the Nuremberg Defense.

  131. I find it odd that in all this abortion discussion there is only mention of the woman, and her rights. If nothing else the pro-choice mentality should find grounding in the castle doctrine for libertarians. I think its totally justifiable for you to shoot anyone who enters your house, its not your responsibility to figure out if he is there to jack your 52″ flat screen or to rape and murder your loved ones. If you feel that someone trespassed against you and is actually inside your body you may remove them at your convenience. The issue is not whether a fetus has the same rights as an adult human, but that many pro-lifers wish to bestow special rights to the fetus.

    1. No one is intruding in your, or anyone else’s body ma’am. The act of sex is an invitation to pregnancy, and realistically should not be looked as anything else. And also if you walked into your house and found your child there waiting for you, even if that child is a total sociopath it’s safe to say he/she is not there to kill you or steal your tv.

  132. “This really does sound like the Nuremberg Defense.”

    No. It is a reasonable mistake defense. In some cases, when the guy is guilty, the executioner is doing a public service. In this case he killed an innocent man not because he meant to but because he reasonably but mistakenly beleived the guy was guilty.

  133. “It was a film too?”

    That’s what they claimed.

  134. “or that the people in the WTC deserved to die on 9/11 because they are “little Eichmans””

    Wow now! I would not put that stretch anywhere NEAR the others. There were people in the WTC who had vastly different views from one another. It would have been one thing if they were all ideological clones of one another but they were not. I am confident that at least some of the people in the WTC opposed America’s interventionist foreign policies.

  135. Val,

    Are you insane? If someone breaks into your house, they are there by their choice. A fetus in contrast is not inside a woman’s body by any choice of its own. If a person were freezing to death and by necessity entered your house and posed no threat to you and you shot the person, even under the castle doctrine you would be guilty of murder. Lastly, a fetus in inside a woman, absent rape, because of choices the woman made.

    That is the most fucked up stupid argument for choice I have ever read.

  136. If life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable rights, then there is never a legal justification for execution.

    IF, they are inalienable rights, that is.

    It seems you can alienate yourself from your rights by acting against the rights of others, so…

  137. Yeah, val, you cannot just invite someone into your home and then shoot them in the head for trespassing. It’s counter to the definition.

  138. John, I can just see you foaming at the mouth. But think about it for a second, if this guy was freezing, and I said alright get the fuck out of my house and didn’t kill him, still ok? Or do you feel that because he is ‘freezing’ that the government has the right to pass some invasive fucked up ‘good samaritan’ law and force me to take care of him??

  139. val,

    There are many problems with your argument, but first among them is reliance on the idea that a property crime justifies deadly force.

  140. “No. It is a reasonable mistake defense. In some cases, when the guy is guilty, the executioner is doing a public service. In this case he killed an innocent man not because he meant to but because he reasonably but mistakenly believed the guy was guilty.”

    This is not equivalent to a heart surgeon who makes the wrong incision. This person is TRYING to kill someone. He did so because he trusted his superiors. At the time that Wilhelm Keitel was a field marshal the concept of Eugenics was fairly well accepted as a “science” in much the same way manmade Global Warming is accepted by Gorebots as a “science”. Keitel trusted Hitler and those who advised him that what he was doing was in the best interest of the German people. It is equivalent morally, on a much smaller scale, but in concept it is the same.

  141. Yeah, val, you cannot just invite someone into your home and then shoot them in the head for trespassing. It’s counter to the definition.

    For crying out loud. I can ask them to leave. Then if they refuse I can try to remove them. Call the cops. What the fuck ever. Even shoot them, if I feel threatened, but obviously as the last resort.But no way in hell could it be justifiable for me to be forced to take care of an encyclopedia salesman that decided he like my house and want to stay with me.

  142. If a fetus had a gun and shot the abortion doctor, I don’t think anyone would blame him.

  143. We wouldn’t have to worry about abortion if women would just stop being dirty whores.

  144. “We wouldn’t have to worry about abortion if women would just stop being dirty whores.”

    That was an imposter Billy to whom I say, “FUCK YOU, COCKSUCKER!”

  145. I think its totally justifiable for you to shoot anyone who enters your house, its not your responsibility to figure out if he is there to jack your 52″ flat screen or to rape and murder your loved ones.

    Actually, this is not the law. Even under the castle doctrine, you aren’t justified in shooting him just because he’s in your house. You are only justified in shooting him if you are in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury from him. (The castle doctrine only means that you don’t have a duty to retreat if you’re in your own house, before you use deadly force to defend yourself.) So yes, it *is* your responsibility “to figure out if he is there to jack your 52″ flat screen or to rape and murder your loved ones” before you empty your .45 into his chest.

  146. I am more interested in his involvement with the Lutheran church where he was an usher.That’s a contradiction I just can’t seem to wrap my head around.

    Brother Ben!!!!!

    I think it says something profound about the Lutheran church that this Pillar of the Community was shot while handing out the Sunday bulletin.

    Sadly for him, if the guy with the Big G on his pocket and the Cane and the Sheep is real, He’ll likely invoke the deeds v words rule.

    And the libertarians say the Christians aren’t progressive.

  147. “That was an imposter Billy to whom I say, “FUCK YOU, COCKSUCKER!””

    What, in the imposter Billy’s statement, is incorrect?

  148. but first among them is reliance on the idea that a property crime justifies deadly force.

    Like I said in the middle of the night its not your responsibility to figure out why the two masked men entered YOUR house. You come down the stairs and find them there, if you feel safer shooting first asking question later I cant fault your for that. If on the other hand you want to scare them away, make a citizen’s arrest or offer them tea and biscuits, I cant fault you for that either. How you conduct your self in your house in that situation is entirely your choice.

    1. you still go to prison for manslaughter at least.

  149. “Abolition of a woman’s right to abortion, when and if she wants it, amounts to compulsory maternity: a form of rape by the State.” – Edward Abbey

    Don’t make ad hominem arguments against Abbey because you don’t like Eco-terrorists. Address the merit of the statement itself. Shouldn’t “Libertarians” of every variety stand up for a woman’s right to choose? Isn’t the Libertarian mindset supposed to be “pro-choice” on EVERYTHING?

  150. But no way in hell could it be justifiable for me to be forced to take care of an encyclopedia salesman that decided he like my house and want to stay with me.

    It isn’t a matter of the fetus liking your uterus, val. It’s a matter of you taking actions or failing to take actions that led to pregnancy.

  151. think about it for a second, if this guy was freezing, and I said alright get the fuck out of my house and didn’t kill him, still ok? Or do you feel that because he is ‘freezing’ that the government has the right to pass some invasive fucked up ‘good samaritan’ law and force me to take care of him??

    If you were at the Scott-Amundsen Station at the South Pole in the middle of July (i.e., winter), and you discovered someone trespassing there, I don’t think the law would look kindly on your refusing him any assistance, much less your pushing him outside and slamming the door shut.

  152. Frank J., if a chicken had a gun and shot a farmer, would anyone blame him? It’s a retarded question, because chickens aren’t capable of that.

  153. dress the merit of the statement itself. Shouldn’t “Libertarians” of every variety stand up for a woman’s right to choose? Isn’t the Libertarian mindset supposed to be “pro-choice” on EVERYTHING?

    Libertarians are not (and this isn’t my view) pro-choice on killing another human being.

  154. “It isn’t a matter of the fetus liking your uterus, val. It’s a matter of you taking actions or failing to take actions that led to pregnancy.”

    Very well said.

  155. “Libertarians are not (and this isn’t my view) pro-choice on killing another human being.”

    I agree
    http://www.l4l.org/

  156. I mean, val, do you think that you should be able to give a live birth and then push the baby out a window?

    Why or why not?

    1. Ask Bill Cliton this and watch him squirm. Then put it on youtube PLEASE!!

  157. But, are libertarians absolute on where the line is drawn? Without a consensus is it something for the state?

  158. “What, in the imposter Billy’s statement, is incorrect?”

    His willingnes to judge.

    But the primary point here is that imposters are faggy asshats.

    That is all.

  159. Tiller is now a hero and his death will be used to whip up a frenzy of righteous indignation against gun owners in general and the second amendment in particular.

    Other than that he was a vile human being.

  160. Stupid PETA, human embryos don’t make very good omlettes!

    Do you think chicken embryos do? Have you ever cracked open a soft-boiled, fertilized chicken egg that had been fertilized for a bit too long?

    I have. They don’t taste bad at all. The bones and feathers were not developed yet – just some near-solid masses with the consistancy of tofu. Maybe that’s why I had to hold back the urge to vomit. Tofu isn’t food.

    Baby egg

    mmmmmm, looks yummy, doesn’t it?

  161. …if a chicken had a gun and shot a farmer…..

    That’s a good beginning and I was hoping for a punch line. 🙂

  162. How about you shouldn’t murder because its illegal. I’ll stick with that.

      1. And also that didn’t stop you from downloading about 2000 songs off the internet.

  163. “Address the merit of the statement itself. Shouldn’t “Libertarians” of every variety stand up for a woman’s right to choose?”

    C’mon. Late third-trimester (Tiller’s specialty) is rape by the state? Bullshit.

  164. “His willingnes to judge.”

    Why is it wrong to judge?

    “But the primary point here is that imposters are faggy asshats.”

    On that we agree.

  165. So yes, it *is* your responsibility “to figure out if he is there to jack your 52″ flat screen or to rape and murder your loved ones” before you empty your .45 into his chest.

    Look I didn’t want to turn this thread into a castle doctrine discussion or the practical implications there of. Once I pump my 45 into his chest as you had put it, he will have a hard time telling his side of the story, about how horrible his upbringing was that forced him to enter my house. But thats besides the point.

    I was getting at the fact that if nothing else, I can ask the dude to get the fuck out of my house and have various options available to me to remove him. And it would be pretty crazy to force me to take care of the guy because he doesn’t want leave.

    You try to frame the abortion discussion in terms of killing baby not killing baby. I see it in terms of removing unwanted intruder, thats why the viability threshold is such an attractive line. At that point give up for adoption becomes an option, up until that point there is no way to have the intruder leave your premises without killing it.

  166. DHS Thinks I’m a Terrorist

    Really?

    Dam German freight companies.

  167. Every form of contraceptive has a failure rate. If every sex act has attached to it the possibility of being forced to carry a child nine months, then the only choice of a woman who does not want a child is to not have sex at all. Thus, women are only allowed to have sex for procreative purposes.

    1. dude, narrowing that down to women makes you sound sexist, but Other than that yeah..

  168. I mean, val, do you think that you should be able to give a live birth and then push the baby out a window?

    Why or why not?

    Absolutely not. While we may have all sort of discussions about which trimester is ok and which isn’t. I imagine every pro-choicer and pro-lifer, my self included, will agree, that birthing is a very real event, not some arbitrary line, after that anything malign done to the baby is murder.

  169. I think val has taught us an important lesson here:

    If you think you have a short, unanswerable solution to the argument over abortion:

    You’re wrong.

    Another example:

    Abolition of a woman’s right to abortion, when and if she wants it, amounts to compulsory maternity: a form of rape by the State.

    Maternity after consensual sex is no more rape by the state than a judgment requiring you to perform a contract is state-sponsored slavery. In both cases, your voluntary actions have consequences. To the extent avoiding those consequences violates the rights of others, the state has a legitimate role to play.

  170. bigbigslacker:

    I think you meant this.

    *blech*

    I see it in terms of removing unwanted intruder, thats why the viability threshold is such an attractive line.

    you wanted the intruder! And he’s dependent on you for his literal life…not his livelihood, or comfort, but his life. And you put him in that spot.

  171. “Abolition of a woman’s right to abortion, when and if she wants it, amounts to compulsory maternity: a form of rape by the State.” – Edward Abbey

    I didn’t think that’s what rape was.

  172. How about you shouldn’t murder because its illegal immoral.

    Fixed that for you.

    Illegal isn’t always immoral and vice versa.

  173. “Tofu isn’t food.”

    I like tofu – some people do not understand it because it has no flavor of it’s own. It isn’t supposed to. It’s function is to absorb the flavor of those foods or sauces around it. I love well prepared tofu – if it is with other food that has a good flavor. You probably had a bad experience with it or tried it without any other food cooked around it.

  174. Dear Imposter Imposter Imposter Billy,

    I am off to fuck your mother now. I’d stick around, but I hear there’s a real long line today. But then when isn’t there a long line? I mean $2 blowjobs are pretty rare in this country.

  175. You shouldn’t smoke pot because it’s illegal.

    You shouldn’t jaywalk because it’s illegal.

    You shouldn’t evade taxes because it’s illegal.

    Circular logic is fun until the wheels come off the bus.

  176. Every form of contraceptive has a failure rate.

    Just so.

    If every sex act has attached to it the possibility of being forced to carry a child nine months, then the only choice of a woman who does not want a child is to not have sex at all.

    Not at all. She can take the risk, and bear the consequences. Every time you leave your driveway, there is the possibility that you will be killed by a drunk driver or crushed by a runaway semi. That doesn’t mean your only choice is to give up driving your car.

  177. “I see it in terms of removing unwanted intruder”

    A greatful Planned Parenthood salutes you, val.

  178. I haven’t posted on this thread in hours. Who are all these imposters?

  179. “Every form of contraceptive has a failure rate.”

    Mouths and assholes don’t get pregnant.

    1. ewwww….

  180. Billy,

    Giver her a kis for me.

  181. If every sex act has attached to it the possibility of being forced to carry a child nine months

    Oh, come now (not literally) Sugarfree. Not every sex act comes with the possibility of pregnancy. See 2 girls 1 cup or…other unspeakable and even heterosexual things. Plus, sex acts with Tom Cruise are unlikely to end in pregnancy.

  182. I also wonder how many people who think the murder of Tiller was outrageous think it would be OK (if not laudable) for Israel to kill Iranians in an attack against Iranian nuclear facilities, on the ground that Iran *might* be planning to make bombs that *might* be used against Israel.

    Faulty analogy. Tiller had performed abortions in the past and planned to perform them in the future. No one would fault Israel (well, no with half-a-brain) if they bombed Iranian nuke facilities after they had been nuked, imminent threat or not.

    I think you missed the point. My point was that, if it was *wrong* to kill Tiller, who “had performed abortions in the past and planned to perform them in the future,” then it must a fortiori be wrong to attack Iran, which has not nuked anyone, especially when the likelihood that Iran will do so if left alone is a lot less certain that the likelihood that Tiller would continue to perform abortions if left alone.

  183. Disclaimer: I tend toward the squishy middle on this issue – I think women should be allowed to abort during the first trimester or so.

    I just think a lot of the real expansive arguments that lead to unlimited abortion are krep. That is all.

    1. See you should say that more often. I’m more of the uncompromising extreme right, the problem with your standpoint is as long as 20% of the population has your standpoint the laws will stay the same with an extreme tendency to lean toward the left. And that’s why partial birth abortion is legal in my otherwise wonderful country. (canada)

  184. “It isn’t a matter of the fetus liking your uterus, val. It’s a matter of you taking actions or failing to take actions that led to pregnancy.”
    How a pregnancy came about makes no difference.
    You are trying to instill onto a fetus a right that no other human being enjoys. Basically you are saying that the fetus has an absolute right to be parasite off another human being. And I mean a literal parasite, something that lives inside you, and eats what you eat. You have no real responsibility to rear your own children, they can be given up for adoption, but for some reason, the fetus gets a new right, but only while it’s in the womb?

    1. I do agree with you on one level, and it’s that it doesn’t matter how the pregnancy came about. It’s still a child.

    2. and the only responsibility you have towards your children, is the same one you have to everyone you’ve ever/never met. Not to kill them.

  185. “Giver her a kis for me.”

    Sorry, but I don’t kiss whores. That’s something only their kids will do.

  186. Damn, Hambone beat me to it.

  187. “Disclaimer: I tend toward the squishy middle on this issue – I think women should be allowed to abort during the first trimester or so.”

    Isn’t that the Leonard Peikoff position?

  188. Shouldn’t “Libertarians” of every variety stand up for a woman’s right to choose?

    Absolutely! I believe in the right to choose any or all of the following:

    Abstinence
    Sterilization
    Birth Control of every kind with the probable exception of RU-486
    Adoption
    The Morning After Pill
    and having the child of an unplanned pregnancy.

    Most importantly I stand up for the right to choose to take responsibility for one’s actions.

  189. Um, val, we all *used to be* ‘parasites’, so your “no other human being” distinction is just confusing to me.

  190. “Sorry, but I don’t kiss whores. That’s something only their kids will do.”

    You don’t understand. It’s a family act.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Aristocrats_(joke)

  191. Wait, this…

    You have no real responsibility to rear your own children, they can be given up for adoption, but for some reason, the fetus gets a new right, but only while it’s in the womb?

    …is the most confusing part.

  192. Um, val, we all *used to be* ‘parasites’, so your “no other human being” distinction is just confusing to me.

    Right, except that I came into being not by government fiat, but because my mommy wanted me.(as far as I know) See it’s that whole pro CHOICE thing. We all used to be parasites, my mom was ok with it, some might not be.

  193. I’ve always wondered how the anti-abortion right to lifers can justify the position that all abortions are wrong EXCEPT in the case of rape or incest. If fetuses are “innocent” and little humans with full human rights to be protected at all costs, why is it acceptable to abort are fetuses that result from rape or incest? After all, the circumstances of their conception are not their fault.

  194. Every time you leave your driveway, there is the possibility that you will be killed by a drunk driver or crushed by a runaway semi. That doesn’t mean your only choice is to give up driving your car.

    Bad analogy. No one thinks you should be killed by a drunk driver or crushed by a semi for the “crime” of leaving your driveway. If there was a law passed saying that 1.3 million people had to be crushed every year for backing out of their driveways, few people would drive and you’d cry foul.

    When pregnancy is used as a punishment for (certain) sexual transgressions, then we are way out of anything even resembling liberty.

    Either I own my body, or someone else does.

    (No, I’m not a woman. But the point stands.)

  195. You try to frame the abortion discussion in terms of killing baby not killing baby. I see it in terms of removing unwanted intruder, thats why the viability threshold is such an attractive line. At that point give up for adoption becomes an option, up until that point there is no way to have the intruder leave your premises without killing it.

    That’s why I posed the hypothetical of the trespasser at the Scott-Amundsen Station. Believe me, when it comes to expelling him from the station into the Antarctic winter, he is just as “non-viable” as a 6-week embryo expelled from its mother’s body. Strangely enough, that non-viability makes it worse, not better, than if you pushed him out the door a few months later when he might have a better chance of surviving on his own.

  196. “Right, except that I came into being not by government fiat, but because my mommy wanted me”

    Is she still feeding you that BS?

  197. “At that point give up for adoption becomes an option, up until that point there is no way to have the intruder leave your premises without killing it.”

    Suppose there is a huge blizzard. I mean one that runs for days and you are on an Island. It will be two months before a boat shows up to help you. Someone washes up on your shore. They want to stay in your house to get out of the storm. The only way to remove them from your house is to kick them out into the ocean to die in the storm. Does that give you the right to shoot them? No it doesn’t.

    Val your nuts. Go back to Emily’s list.

  198. See it’s that whole pro CHOICE thing. We all used to be parasites, my mom was ok with it, some might not be.

    Right, but that’s all very academic. I’m not saying that your position is right or wrong, I’m just saying that it solves no ethical dilemmas.

  199. “I’ve always wondered how the anti-abortion right to lifers can justify the position that all abortions are wrong EXCEPT in the case of rape or incest.”

    Not all of them agree with that. I saw a piece on TV about a woman who had her rapist’s child. It was an interesting piece. I’d have trouble with that, but it was her choice not to abort.

  200. “Thou shalt not kill [murder].” — Exodus 20:13

    The abortion doctor was wrong to kill the unborn babies, and the guy who went into the Lutheran church and killed the abortion doctor was wrong. Classic “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

    Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

    Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

    Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

    — Romans 12:19-21

    I think that about sums it up.

    1. I have been waiting for someone to point that fucker out since I started reading this. It’s interesting because that one little mistranslation is the cause of so much confusion in the world today.

  201. “Either I own my body, or someone else does.”

    THEN SELL ME YOUR LIVER TO EAT!

  202. No, I need my liver for drinking.

  203. You have no real responsibility to rear your own children, they can be given up for adoption, but for some reason, the fetus gets a new right, but only while it’s in the womb?

    So, if you have no responsibility to your children, why do you have to give them up for adoption? Can’t you just dispose of them as you see fit?

    The fact remains that, at some point, that “parasite” becomes a rights-having human being for whose care *you* are responsible.

  204. A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

  205. Either I own my body, or someone else does.

    Said the fetus. 😉

  206. Anti-abortion zealots don’t actually care about children. Once they’re born they take positions that ensure the hardest possible life for most of the children who’d otherwise be aborted.

    It’s a political wedge issue dreamed up by the GOP-christian right alliance to help the GOP win elections, and I wish more people would take that into consideration.

    Or perhaps I missed the bible verse that condemns abortion.

    1. But they don’t try to kill them.

  207. That’s why I posed the hypothetical of the trespasser at the Scott-Amundsen Station. Believe me, when it comes to expelling him from the station into the Antarctic winter, he is just as “non-viable”

    Are you guilty of murder though? I’m not sure what the legal outcome of that situation is. I personally don’t know, you’d be a real immoral fuckin’ asshole for doing that, but I’m not sure weather that is a jailing offense, in my view that is, not legally.
    I posit however that an intrusion not to your property but into your body is much more grave of an offense and as that justify more extreme measures.

    Let me ask you a question. Do you think the woman has a ‘body integrity’ right? And if so why does the fetus override her right?

  208. Right, except that I came into being not by government fiat

    Assume that there is someone out there who would kill you, val, but-for the long prison term and/or potential death sentence.

    Voila, you are alive by “government fiat”.

  209. Why do the British spell it foetus and the Americans spell it fetus? Just wondering? How do they spell it in Liberia?

  210. Sugarfree, marinate on this:

    How are you supposed to know? Fucking men like you built the hydrogen bomb. Men like you thought it up. You think you’re so creative. You don’t know what it’s like to really create something; to create a life; to feel it growing inside you. All you know how to create is death…and destruction

  211. It’s a political wedge issue dreamed up by the GOP-christian right alliance to help the GOP win elections, and I wish more people would take that into consideration.

    You’re right, Tony. Were it not for the GOP, there would be no ethical or moral controversy regarding abortion.

  212. Let me ask you a question. Do you think the woman has a ‘body integrity’ right? And if so why does the fetus override her right?

    Heh. Assume you have a conjoined twin reliant on your shared liver to live. Surgery would yield the death of one and the continued (and obviously better) life of the other.

    Now what?

  213. “Anti-abortion zealots don’t actually care about children.”

    Another bucket pulled overflowing from the Tony bullshit well.

    That is one deep fucking well.

  214. Do you think the woman has a ‘body integrity’ right? And if so why does the fetus override her right?

    Do conjoined twins have body integrity?

  215. Holy fuck, never in my life have my talking points been so thoroughly PWNed by other peoples’ faster responses.

  216. “As I said, killing abortionists may be contrary to that goal for tactical reasons. But how is it possible to believe that fetuses are people with a right to life yet also believe that using deadly force to defend that right is wrong?”

    Wow. You’re putting me on. Really?

    Wow!

    Worst ‘morality’ argument I think I have ever heard, and certainly from this otherwise-great organization.

  217. Once they’re born they take positions that ensure the hardest possible life for most of the children who’d otherwise be aborted.

    I suppose you think that is clever, but other than advocating that the individuals who bring the child into the world accept responsibility for their actions, how is a non-party to the parenthood ensuring anything?

    Or perhaps I missed the bible verse that condemns abortion.

    I think if falls under the part about abstaining from killing.

  218. Not all of them agree with that. I saw a piece on TV about a woman who had her rapist’s child. It was an interesting piece. I’d have trouble with that, but it was her choice not to abort.

    Isn’t there a politician who was a result of such a coupling? I recall the talking point along the lines of, if that were the case then so-and-so wouldn’t have been born.

    Of course so-and-so might still have been born, since it’s an option. It also begged the question, “Would it have been a disappointment it would have been if his mother hadn’t been raped?”

  219. You’re right, Tony. Were it not for the GOP, there would be no ethical or moral controversy regarding abortion.

    Thanks for agreeing with me.

    There was no controversy for most of human history until movement conservatism came along and discovered they could get idiots to vote GOP on a single, emotionally-charged issue such as abortion.

    They’re on the wrong side of 1000 years of common law, women’s independence, and for that matter the Bible itself, which condones the “abortion” of children, one-by-one or en masse, with glee.

  220. zounds, you are one dumb motha, Tony.

  221. Art-P.O.G.,

    What almost no wants to talk about is that this is about conflicting rights. Bodily integrity vs. a potential human life. I just don’t come down on the side that wants to create a massive miscarriage surveillance state to monitor the wombs of America.

    The rights of the fetus begin to out-weigh the rights of the mother at viability. (And real viability, not 3-million dollars worth of equipment viability.)

    But we shouldn’t kid ourselves or sugarcoat it. Forcing a woman to carry an unwanted child to term is not rape, its slavery. She is living her life without autonomy. No legal choice (sex) should have slavery as a consequence.

    (Please know that I do not bring up slavery to race-bait.)

  222. I think if falls under the part about abstaining from killing.

    Except that no part of the Bible equates aborting children with murder. There are several parts where the murder of viable children well beyond the 3rd trimester is not only condoned but required.

  223. Heh. Assume you have a conjoined twin reliant on your shared liver to live. Surgery would yield the death of one and the continued (and obviously better) life of the other.

    Now what?

    Cut the live in half? I think liver is actually an organ that can be sectioned. Am I wrong about that? But I see what you are trying to get at. Even so, are you trying to tell me that if one twin wants to undergo a surgery, lets say very very risky, so as to gain ‘body integrity’ but more like;y loose his life, while the other one doesn’t, the ethical solution here is to take the second one’s no surgery option?

  224. You are trying to instill onto a fetus a right that no other human being enjoys.

    Wrong. If a pair of conjoined twins cannot be surgically separated, then each has the right to live as a “parasite” of his brother (or her sister). And for a lot longer than nine months, I might add.

  225. and for that matter the Bible itself, which condones the “abortion” of children, one-by-one or en masse, with glee.

    Oh, gosh, Tony, do you imagine I’ve never read the Old Testament? Look, man, I’m not religious and I’m definitely not a conservative and…really, Tony? In the old days infant mortality was so high that I can’t imagine ‘bortions were in particularly high demand.

  226. Or perhaps I missed the bible verse that condemns abortion.

    There’s also no Bible verse that condemns slavery (and some would argue that there are plenty that condone it). So what’s your point? That Christians ought to have STFU about slavery in the 19th century (and should STFU about it in places like the Sudan today)?

  227. no, val, I said that surgery “would” absolutely kill one and free the other from his “parasitic relationship”.

    So now what?

    Forcing a woman to carry an unwanted child to term is not rape, its slavery. She is living her life without autonomy

    As RC said, no more than obligating you to perform your duties under contract is slavery. If it is the fact that we set the “line” at a certain point and the woman knows or should have known about that line, then the consequences past that line are hers to bear, as in all things with the law.

  228. I really REALLY hope Sullum is trying to point out the hypocrisy of many pro-lifers and not defending ? man who murdered a doctor in the middle of church services.

    Firstly, I feel the need to point out that the late term abortions that Dr Tiller performed were used primarily for cases in which the child had mentally or physically debilitating conditions that had not been identified up to that point, things like Potter’s syndrome or Down syndrome which would at the very least vastly reduce quality of life, and in many cases would ensure an extremely painful end to a very short life.

    If a fetus has the same moral weight as an adult, what about the morning after pill? Do women using it deserve to die? The pharmacist who prescribes it? The doctor who writes the prescription?

    and WTF is up with the holocaust denial up there?

  229. Except that no part of the Bible equates aborting children with murder.

    I didn’t say that it did.

    There are several parts where the murder of viable children well beyond the 3rd trimester is not only condoned but required.

    Other than Highway 61 Revisited, where does it say this?

  230. Promoting an image of pro-life activists as murderous extremists might dim the prospects for legislation restricting abortion, thereby leading to more deaths of unborn children than eliminating one abortionist prevents. But this is a tactical question that does not have to do with the inherent morality of killing in defense of innocent children.

    Jacob, you answered your own question here. My own opinion, and I suspect that of the Church as well, is that intentional killing is immoral by default, and only under extremely strict circumstances does it become moral. One such circumstance is to stop a person from killing others, but this is only allowed when there is a reasonable chance of preventing those future killings AND killing the killer will not cause greater harm than letting him live.

    In this case, there is very little probability that the death of this abortionist scumbag will save any unborns. The abortions he would have committed are just going to be committed by other “doctors”.

  231. If it is the fact that we set the “line” at a certain point and the woman knows or should have known about that line, then the consequences past that line are hers to bear, as in all things with the law.

    If that line is conception, why should she be the sole bearer of the consequences?

  232. (Please know that I do not bring up slavery to race-bait.)

    Oh no, you di’in’t!

    But seriously, my objections to abortion are due to my own reasoning process, and I respect the (well-reasoned) positions of the Pro-Choice crowd, even when I don’t agree with them. I know neither side has definitively won the debate, but in the absence of certainty I will continue to side with the pro-life side.

    So basically, the abortion debate to me is an example of how intelligent people can come to different conclusions (God…yes or no? is another great example).

    I am more certain that 3rd-trimester abortion is wrong than early-early term, but…

    …I see your point, and respect it.

  233. Let me ask you a question. Do you think the woman has a ‘body integrity’ right?

    “Bodily integrity,” as in the right not to have body parts cut off our out? Sure. Which is why I disagree with Justice Holmes’s decision in Buck v. Bell. Not quite sure what that has to do with the issue at hand, though.

    Maybe “autonomy” was the word you were groping for.

  234. Wrong. If a pair of conjoined twins cannot be surgically separated, then each has the right to live as a “parasite” of his brother (or her sister). And for a lot longer than nine months, I might add.

    I dunno why you guys bring up the conjoined twins thing. I’m fairly sure that the most common course of action where you have a parasitic conjoined twin, that twin is generally removed (i.e killed)with the parents consent?

  235. If that line is conception, why should she be the sole bearer of the consequences?

    Last time I checked, fathers and well as mothers had the legal obligation to support their children.

  236. the late term abortions that Dr Tiller performed were used primarily for cases in which the child had mentally or physically debilitating conditions that had not been identified up to that point, things like Potter’s syndrome or Down syndrome which would at the very least vastly reduce quality of life

    Being killed before being born also tends to vastly reduce one’s quality of life. It’s interesting how this argument gets trotted out there again and again, despite the fact that many, many elderly people try to avoid death even when the remainder of their life will have vastly reduced “quality”. Too bad the unborns don’t get the same choice!

  237. and WTF is up with the holocaust denial up there?

    Among reguars, we’ve all learned to ignore that Wolff clown.

  238. val – but what if that decision wasn’t made at birth? Let’s say that you’re 20 years old and you have a shared liver, but you have 70% of the liver and the other twin has 30% of it. Do you think that you should be able to essentially kill your parasitic twin (i.e. abort him) at 20 years of age because of your right to “bodily integrity” or autonomy?

  239. If that line is conception, why should she be the sole bearer of the consequences?

    Ha. I wasn’t considering setting the line at conception, because of all the impossibilities that go along with that and because that would require banning The Pill, which would never work.

  240. As RC said, no more than obligating you to perform your duties under contract is slavery.

    Actually, courts rarely order specific performance of contracts for personal services. The 13th Amendment is one of the reasons for this. (Another is the fact that people compelled to perform personal services often do a lousy job of it. The way slaves often used to.) Instead, the courts usually just order payment of damages.

  241. Yet if you honestly believe abortion is the murder of helpless children, it’s hard to see why using deadly force against those who carry it out is immoral, especially since the government refuses to act.

    So if someone guns down the cops who killed Kathryn Johnston (or insert any of the other innocent people killed in SWAT-style drug raids), Reason will cheer them on, eh Jacob?

    Murdered helpless people? Check.

    Government refuses to act? Check.

    I’ll be waiting to see if you guys put your money where your big mouth is.

  242. I dunno why you guys bring up the conjoined twins thing.

    Well, it might have had something to do with falsifying your claim that pro-lifers would give a fetus a right (that of being as “parasite”) that no other human being is given.

  243. val – but what if that decision wasn’t made at birth? Let’s say that you’re 20 years old and you have a shared liver, but you have 70% of the liver and the other twin has 30% of it. Do you think that you should be able to essentially kill your parasitic twin (i.e. abort him) at 20 years of age because of your right to “bodily integrity” or autonomy?

    Alright we are getting into some pretty weird, what ifs here. But yes, in my view, you as the majority liver owner would have that right. While it maybe noble of you, to sacrifice your quality of life and exist as a horrible freak so that your brother may live as well, no way in hell would I think it is moral for me to force you to do so.

  244. Seamus – I am aware of the rarity of specific performance, but monetary damages are de facto performance because they are calculated based on (usually) reliance or expectation interest. The fact remains is that you have to fulfill your obligations one way or another.

  245. val – so, yes, through no fault of his own, your twin has to die based on an affirmative decision you are making. As it stands, the status quo, the negative, the no-action route is that you both live (admittedly diminished) lives. The affirmative, the action, is death for one and increased quality of life for the other.

    Perhaps you’re seeing a stronger analogy with abortion now.

  246. So wait, Art, Seamus, T.O.A, etc.., am I to understand that you feel that what when doctors remove the parasitic twin, as is usually the case in those situations, what actually takes place is an abhorrent murder of a child?

  247. I favor abortion until the 300th trimester.

  248. I canibalism wrong? If so, why?

  249. Seamus | June 1, 2009, 5:17pm | #

    As RC said, no more than obligating you to perform your duties under contract is slavery.

    Actually, courts rarely order specific performance of contracts for personal services. The 13th Amendment is one of the reasons for this. (Another is the fact that people compelled to perform personal services often do a lousy job of it. The way slaves often used to.) Instead, the courts usually just order payment of damages.

    This is true as a matter of practice, but not of principle. There are certain occasions when monetary payments simply cannot address the issue.

  250. Perhaps you’re seeing a stronger analogy with abortion now.

    I get the analogy, I just thought it plays for my side of the argument, considering that the standard operating procedure is to cull the parasitic twin, so as to improve the quality of life for the other twin, with nary a peep from the pro-life crowd. You never know though, since these cases are so rare, is this also a hot issue for the pro-life a crowd?

  251. val, again, we’re not talking about birth. We’re talking about hypothetical adult you undertaking surgery you *know* will kill your conjoined twin.

  252. So wait, Art, Seamus, T.O.A, etc.., am I to understand that you feel that what when doctors remove the parasitic twin

    In most cases, the parasitic twin is essentially stillborn, so, no.

  253. Suppose there is a huge blizzard. I mean one that runs for days and you are on an Island. It will be two months before a boat shows up to help you. Someone washes up on your shore. They want to stay in your house to get out of the storm. The only way to remove them from your house is to kick them out into the ocean to die in the storm. Does that give you the right to shoot them? No it doesn’t.

    The problem, John, is that if the guy who washed up on shore has a right to stay in my house, because if I don’t let him stay he’ll die, that means that his need supercedes my property right.

    And if that’s true, I don’t see what basis we would have for asserting that ANY property right whatsoever survives the assertion of need by a third party.

    If it is murder for me to not let that guy in, it’s also murder for you to retain any property above bare subsistence rather than give that property to starving Africans. They need it, and will die – DO die – because you don’t give it to them.

    The answer to your thought experiment has to be “I can let him in, or make him leave, at my moral option” or absolute socialism has to be the moral ideal. You have to pick. I know which one I pick.

  254. Ah, the gross miscarriage of justice, that mass murdering parasitic clumps of cells like Tiller the Killer have to be shot in the most historically romantic way possible, and not while stood up against a wall after being tried and convicted of torture, genocide, and crimes against humanity. In any case, he’s most certainly in Hell right now. Judging by the response of his family and his standing at his church, most of his friends and family will doubtless be joining him there whenever they die.

    And yes, Val, any of you parasitic feminists who go to these murder mills to have a psychopath like Tiller murder your babies so you can avoid the consequences of your choosing to have sex should also be stood up against the wall and shot as well, your case having been tried in much the same way we would try the case of anyone who hires a hit man to take out a relative, and you having been found guilty of murder in the first degree and conspiracy to murder. (You’ll notice that this, however, lets anyone who’s been forced into an abortion–as in women in China or as in the case of all those child molestors Planned Parenthood has been helping–off the hook.)

    Unless we can prove that Tiller’s killer is too insane to be morally culpable for what he’s done, he should also be stood up against a wall and shot; or fried in the electric chair, or gassed, or given a lethal injection. Whatever.

    The same goes for the murderer(s) of the military recruiter(s) in today’s incident of vigilante “justice” which, if one is to believe all the political parasites bashing the pro-life movement right now, has permanently destroyed all anti-war protesters’ moral standing.

  255. But, val, hypothetically there is still a point on the continuum between conjoined and parasitic where there is a moral dilemma.

  256. Fluffy – fine and fair. Now, what if you pluck someone from a previously safe place (nonexistence, even!) and push him into traffic? Who’s responsible then?

    Yo, HITHPN, shut the fuck up.

  257. val, again, we’re not talking about birth. We’re talking about hypothetical adult you undertaking surgery you *know* will kill your conjoined twin.

    I’m pretty sure I answered what my view was on the ‘adult’ parasitic twin issue. But I fail to see how adult vs new born comes into play, if you have some sort of right to be parasite because it will save your life, you have that right whether you’re 50 years or 50 minutes old. So how do you reconcile the fact that one is usually killed to improve the quality of life of the other with your view on abortion.

    In most cases, the parasitic twin is essentially stillborn, so, no.
    I dunno, thats a pretty big fact to throw out there with out much back up. But anyways, since you said mostly, lets pick that one or two cases where its not still born. Perhaps the hypothetical adult pair that T.O.A was talking about.

    And yes, Val, any of you parasitic feminists who go to these murder mills to have a psychopath like Tiller murder your babies so you can avoid the consequences of your choosing to have sex should also be stood up against the wall and shot as well

    LOL, I’m a dude, dude, and can say with 99.9% certainty that none of my boys have ever lead to an abortion.

  258. But, val, hypothetically there is still a point on the continuum between conjoined and parasitic where there is a moral dilemma.

    I suppose there is a point. I’m guessing where organ ownership is roughly 50/50, or at least close enough where you cannot clearly point one out and say he is the parasite.

  259. I understand Jacob’s reductio ad absurdum argument: pro-lifers believe that a fetus’ life is equal in value to a grown person’s. Thus, pro-lifers MUST inherently support the killing of an abortion-provider to save the lives of more fetuses. The pro-life position therefore reaches an absurd conclusion and the whole proposition of the value of fetal life fails.

    This is a terrible argument.

    1) Equal value is NOT placed on a fetus and a grown person. A miscarriage is mourned far less than the death of 10 year old. Which is worse: two miscarriages or the simultaneous death of a mother and her fetus?

    2) The death of one abortion-provider will not prevent an abortion from occuring any more than the closing of one gas station will prevent someone from filling his gas tank.

    3) Even if you accept the bone-headed version of the pro-life position presented in this article: “abortion = murder”, then you accept that pro-lifers are OPPOSED TO MURDER. If they are opposed to murder, then how are they supposed to support the murder of an abortion-provider?

  260. if you have some sort of right to be parasite because it will save your life

    It’s not an affirmative right, val, it’s the situation that exists without interference that you are actively trying to change.

    Fact: a parasitic twin is a living human being. Therefore, it has the right to life, and therefore, you do not have the right to do *something* to that parasitic twin that you know is actively going to kill that living, rights-having person.

    My understanding is that the only time one living twin is separated and therefore killed is if the state of being conjoined means that they would both die, because the “weak” one will surely kill the “strong” one, and the “weak” one cannot live on its own. That’s a self-defense/defense of others situation.

  261. I dunno, thats a pretty big fact to throw out there with out much back up. But anyways, since you said mostly, lets pick that one or two cases where its not still born. Perhaps the hypothetical adult pair that T.O.A was talking about

    My answer is that if that adult twin has full central nervous system function and capability for coherent thought, that would be murder.

  262. Fluffy – fine and fair. Now, what if you pluck someone from a previously safe place (nonexistence, even!) and push him into traffic? Who’s responsible then?

    But I don’t accept that that’s what you’re doing.

    If we want to keep John’s analogy going, it’s more like I decided to invite the guy in to my house – but then after a few hours I decided I didn’t like him and wanted him to leave.

    Would the fact that I invited him in for a little while change the situation, and give him an ongoing right to stay? I don’t think it would.

    Now, of course in 999999 times out of 1000000, I would let the guy stay. But for a property right to be a right, it’s got to stay in existence even for that one in a million instance where I’m a total dick. And the same would go for a bodily integrity right.

  263. But I don’t accept that that’s what you’re doing.

    I don’t care that you don’t accept it. Your analogy fails because the guy in your house isn’t totally dependent, thanks entirely to your actions, on you and you alone for his survival.

    The fact remains is that the hypothetical female is entirely responsible for placing the human inside of her (if we accept that’s what it is, arguendo). She placed it in a position of helplessness. Like I said, you cannot just pluck someone from safety and put them in danger.

  264. TAO,

    That sounds right to me.

  265. That is a one-testical question. Why is killing abortion doctors wrong if abortion really is murder.

    It also has the problem of relying on some flawed logic. You don’t prevent any abortions by killing a doctor, because they are not the ones seeking to kill fetuses. Anyone on this doctor’s waiting list will simply make other arrangements.

    Hence the two-testicle question is when are you gonna get around to killing the women who engaged these services.

    Because if it really is murder then there’s also no allowable limit before it counts.

  266. Like I said, you cannot just pluck someone from safety and put them in danger.

    If nonexistence is “safety”, then abortion returns the fetus to “safety”.

    [That’s why I don’t accept that you’re “plucking the fetus from safety”. For that to be true, you’d have to define nonexistence as safety, which have I just reductio’d.]

    No situation is perfectly analogous to abortion, so we only can get so close.

    You seem to be arguing that the dependence of a fetus is of a special character, that it’s the mother’s fault, and that therefore the mother’s rights are trumped by the duty of action she owes to the fetus – and that this is a unique moral circumstance, that is not applicable or extendable to situations where you yourself might be called upon to provide aid and support to a person in need. Because those no-good whores are guilty, and you aren’t.

  267. My answer is that if that adult twin has full central nervous system function and capability for coherent thought, that would be murder.

    That fine but do you agree that there is an issue of competing right there. That the dominant twin, has some right to seek out normality for him self and restore his body integrity which he lost/never had due to a freak birth defect? Obviously that right stands directly perpendicular to the parasitic twins right to exist.

    It’s not an affirmative right, val, it’s the situation that exists without interference that you are actively trying to change.
    I have to totally disagree with you on that. You are suggesting that you loose some pretty basic rights because of a birth defect.

    Like I said, you cannot just pluck someone from safety and put them in danger.
    This discussion is getting a tad metaphysical, for what safety is the fetus plucked exactly?

  268. Hypothetical:

    You are in a hospital awaiting test results, an ambulance peels in with someone suffering from acute liver failure. If ?hey do not receive a transplant within an hour they will die. It would take longer than that to get a replacement, or to test willing donors for compatibility, but the doctor informs you that you are a perfect match, and are in perfect health to donate.

    Should the doctors (or anyone else) be able to force you to donate a portion of your liver against your will to save the man.

    His life is completely dependent on you, thanks to no fault of his own.

  269. That fine but do you agree that there is an issue of competing right there. That the dominant twin, has some right to seek out normality for him self and restore his body integrity which he lost/never had due to a freak birth defect? Obviously that right stands directly perpendicular to the parasitic twins right to exist.

    No, I don’t think the dominant twin has any “special right” to restore “body integrity”.

    No situation is perfectly analogous to abortion, so we only can get so close.

    Yes.

  270. You are in a hospital awaiting test results, an ambulance peels in with someone suffering from acute liver failure. If ?hey do not receive a transplant within an hour they will die. It would take longer than that to get a replacement, or to test willing donors for compatibility, but the doctor informs you that you are a perfect match, and are in perfect health to donate.

    Should the doctors (or anyone else) be able to force you to donate a portion of your liver against your will to save the man.

    His life is completely dependent on you, thanks to no fault of his own.

    In fairness to TAO, he seems to be saying that YES, they can take an organ from you – but only if you were the guy’s bartender. Then, since you contributed to his predicament, you would be morally bound to make it good.

    This is his attempt to put a boundary around the set of situations where need trumps rights. It has its strong points and its weak points.

  271. and that this is a unique moral circumstance, that is not applicable or extendable to situations where you yourself might be called upon to provide aid and support to a person in need. Because those no-good whores are guilty, and you aren’t.

    Are you finished, fuckwad?

    OK, good.

    Look, as you say, we can only get so far because of the uniqueness of the situation. IF it is the case that, at a certain point prior to passing the birth canal that a fetus becomes a human, THEN it is inarguable that killing it without a self defense justification would be murder. It’s as simple as that.

    You are suggesting that you loose some pretty basic rights because of a birth defect.

    No, you are, specifically, that due to no fault of his own, the “weak” twin isn’t entitled to continue life as his life was, through chance or God or the cosmos, given to him.

  272. No, I don’t think the dominant twin has any “special right” to restore “body integrity”.

    Do you think YOU should have the right to do whatever YOU please with YOUR body?

  273. His life is completely dependent on you, thanks to no fault of his own.

    Nor is it YOUR fault. I suppose if you stabbed the guy in the liver it might be just to force you to hand it over, or (and this is more likely) pay for the subsequent transplant surgery.

  274. Do you think YOU should have the right to do whatever YOU please with YOUR body?

    Like it or don’t, this doesn’t fit. Your body IS his body. They are one and the same.

  275. Forcing a woman to carry an unwanted child to term is not rape, its slavery. She is living her life without autonomy. No legal choice (sex) should have slavery as a consequence.

    Its not slavery; the pregnant woman isn’t the chattel of the fetus. Words have meanings, you know.

    Actually, courts rarely order specific performance of contracts for personal services.

    True, but they will do so in the rare case where money damages aren’t sufficient. I would note that specific performance is routinely ordered in contractual disputes involving non-competes and confidentiality.

    If we want to keep John’s analogy going, it’s more like I decided to invite the guy in to my house – but then after a few hours I decided I didn’t like him and wanted him to leave.

    Fine. But the only way to get him to leave is to shoot him in the head, and you knew that when you invited him in.

  276. No, you are, specifically, that due to no fault of his own, the “weak” twin isn’t entitled to continue life as his life was, through chance or God or the cosmos, given to him.

    You keep talking about fault. Neither of the twins is at fault. One wants to live, the other wants to be normal, they both have the right to pursue happiness. Those rights conflict.

    Like it or don’t, this doesn’t fit. Your body IS his body. They are one and the same.

    Thats why we talked about parasitic twins where one is piggy backing on the other’s body. Since thats more analogous to the fetus/mother situation. You yourself brought up the example of 70%-30% percent liver split. Well its pretty damn obvious who owns the body in that situation. Its an even clearer ‘body-split’ with a fetus I’m afraid.

  277. Words have meanings, you know.

    Thanks for clearing that up, joe. Now tell us how taxation isn’t theft because theft is illegal and taxation isn’t illegal.

    I’m fine with calling any situation where you are compelled by the state to be at the service of another against your will and without having committed a crime by the simple to understand word “slavery.” If you are compelled to serve another person you are a slave.

    You are free to come up with a word you think better describes the situation.

  278. Neither of the twins is at fault. One wants to live, the other wants to be normal, they both have the right to pursue happiness. Those rights conflict.

    And should you be allowed to murder for normalcy?

  279. Should the doctors (or anyone else) be able to force you to donate a portion of your liver against your will to save the man.

    Inapt analogy. In this case saving the man’s life requires a positive act. If nothing is done, the man will die.

    In the case of abortion, if nothing is done, the unborn will live. It requires a positive act to cause the unborn to die.

  280. You are free to come up with a word you think better describes the situation.

    Serf?

    Its an even clearer ‘body-split’ with a fetus I’m afraid.

    Poor. Of course the fetus only takes up the womb, that’s nature. That’s circular logic in this case, too.

  281. Since we’re going nuts with analogies here, how ’bout this one:

    You’re out in the middle of the Pacific in your sailboat, when suddenly a plane in the sky above explodes, but not before the pilot ejects and lands safely on your boat. Do you have the right to throw him or her overboard?

    The boat is your property.

    He landed in your boat through no fault of his own.

    And you didn’t want him in your boat.

    It’s going to take a long time to get him to safety.

  282. things like Potter’s syndrome or Down syndrome which would at the very least vastly reduce quality of life

    As someone whose brother had Downs Syndrome, let me say “fuck you!” He had a very high quality of life. He lived his life to the fullest, despite his disadvantage. The idea that he was unworthy to live is offensive.

  283. TAO-5:21

    How did you think you did in your contracts exam?

  284. So wait, Art, Seamus, T.O.A, etc.., am I to understand that you feel that what when doctors remove the parasitic twin, as is usually the case in those situations, what actually takes place is an abhorrent murder of a child?

    If the “parasitic twin” is alive, then yes.

  285. Are you guilty of murder though? I’m not sure what the legal outcome of that situation is. I personally don’t know, you’d be a real immoral fuckin’ asshole for doing that, but I’m not sure weather that is a jailing offense, in my view that is, not legally.

    I believe that (1) it would be a jailing offense and (2) it should be a jailing offense.

  286. Serf?

    Serfdom was just a modified form of slavery. Their labor belonged to a third party, even though they were not owned outright as property themselves. (Although a good many libertarians and anarcho-capitalist argue that one’s labor is a product of self-ownership, and therefore owning someone’s labor is the same as owning them.) Since the forced labor of not being able to abort a child has no direct feudalistic or Manorialism features, is seems to be a needlessly obscure synonym to use instead of “slavery.”

  287. Sugarfree, stop race-baitin’ me. I’m gonna go…ah

  288. Too late.

    “Slavery” still doesn’t work for me in this example.

  289. None of the property analogies are even close to the point.

    I am 100% for the idea of self-ownership. It’s axiomatic for me. Having said that, I see no contradiction in distinguishing the self-owned self from the property outside oneself that you can own.

    The question is not “Can I kick him out of my house if he’ll die?” it’s “Because he will die other wise, do I have to allow him to crawl into my body and share my blood, liver, kidneys, and breath for nine months?”

    Of course you don’t.

  290. SugarFree – how forced is it? Of course, what we should realize is that not all of us are talking about a blanket ban on abortion. If there is a reasonable timeframe known to all (my personal crossover period is at the development of uniquely human brainwaves, or around 5-6 months), then we aren’t talking about slavery any more, we’re talking about not terminating a human life that the person voluntarily chose to carry to that point.

  291. What would Joe have posted on a thread like this?

  292. “Because he will die other wise, do I have to allow him to crawl into my body and share my blood, liver, kidneys, and breath for nine months?”

    Well, then you don’t have to feed him or clothe him after that point, then. After all, a human baby, in our society, has an affirmative right to your money, your food, your house etc. etc.

  293. “Slavery” still doesn’t work for me in this example.

    That’s cool. I’m not invested in making you accept it. Abortion is a tough subject to apply principles to, and different axioms are going to be employed.

  294. Embryos / fetuses don’t crawl into your body, SF.

    It’s true, there is no foolproof analogy for this situation. It is truly unique.

    For me, the case where the embryo came into existence due to consensual sex is open and shut. If you own your body then you have to own the consequences of what you choose to do with it.

    The cases of rape and very young women getting pregnant are much harder, and I understand why people have a hard time saying no when someone in those situations wants an abortion. Still, these amount to less than 1% of abortions, so permitting abortion on demand for those who get pregnant due to consensual sex, just for the sake of these hard cases, is letting the exception swallow the rule.

  295. Is viability the threshold? Viability as in being able to function outside of the womb? Who gets to make the viability call? By what standards?

  296. Abortion is a tough subject to apply principles to, and different axioms are going to be employed.

    Yeah, no kidding.

  297. TAO,

    Just bear with me a minute…

    If you are a slave, does it matter whether the master you serve is conscious or not? What if you were the servant of a comatose person who was not your owner, but those who did own you (in the sense that you have no autonomous choice in the matter) made you serve him (or them by proxy as it were.)

    The moral blame for your servitude does not fall on the comatose person, but you are his slave nonetheless.

    As to the second part of your question: I assert that if a woman is prevented at any point from terminating her pregnancy, she is a slave forthwith. This has nothing to do with the viability of the child and in fact it might be even more morally reprehensible after viability in that she is being forced to care for a person who is “capable of taking care of themselves.”

    I’m not saying that abortion should be legal up to the moment of birth, but this notion that a woman–even one that has taken every reasonable precaution against conception–suddenly forfeits all notions of autonomy and integrity the moment sperm meets egg (or anytime after) is just madness to my ears.

  298. Tulpa,

    Embryos / fetuses don’t crawl into your body, SF.

    You have a poor grasp of the locomotive mechanics of spermatozoa. 😉

  299. Sugar Free,

    You have a poor grasp of the difference between spermatozoa and embryos.

  300. You are in a hospital awaiting test results, an ambulance peels in with someone suffering from acute liver failure. If ?hey do not receive a transplant within an hour they will die. It would take longer than that to get a replacement, or to test willing donors for compatibility, but the doctor informs you that you are a perfect match, and are in perfect health to donate.

    This is not a correct analogy for abortion. The correct analogy would include two key facts:

    1:) The reason that the patient is suffering acute liver failure is that you just accidently shot them.

    2:) Only a small portion of your liver is needed. What would be required of you is an operation lasting a few hours, then a slow recovery to normal that requires about a year.

    Hmmm….doesn’t seem so simple any more, does it?

  301. Tulpa,

    The voluntary action in the procreative sex act is the woman letting sperm into her body. Men don’t shoot embryos out of their wang-a-doodles.

    Since we are talking about which voluntary acts are sufficient in your mind to force a woman into nine months of slavery, maybe you should try and keep up.

  302. TAO,

    Sorry, I missed our other comment:

    Well, then you don’t have to feed him or clothe him after that point, then. After all, a human baby, in our society, has an affirmative right to your money, your food, your house etc. etc.

    Once again it comes down to the difference between the self and the things the self owns. And that is the difference between putting in jail a woman who starves her children and a woman who refuses to breastfeed but whose child is perfectly nourished with formula.

  303. “As someone whose brother had Downs Syndrome, let me say “fuck you!” He had a very high quality of life. He lived his life to the fullest, despite his disadvantage. The idea that he was unworthy to live is offensive.”

    At no point did I say that anyone was “unworthy to live.” I was making the point that late term abortions are generally not performed for convenience nor indecisiveness, they are usually a wanted pregnancy involving complications that leave the parents with an extremely difficult choice to make. Nor am I saying that abortion should be the choice they make, I’m saying that they are extremely difficult and heartbreaking ocurrences, and that the parents are the only people qualified to make that decision, not legislators or activists.

  304. , I’m saying that they are extremely difficult and heartbreaking ocurrences, and that the parents are the only people qualified to make that decision, not legislators or activists.

    I would argue just the opposite. Parents are the most biased decision-makers imaginable.

  305. Yet if you honestly believe abortion is the murder of helpless children, it’s hard to see why using deadly force against those who carry it out is immoral, especially since the government refuses to act.

    It’s the same reason James Hansen and Al Gore don’t gun down Exxon/Mobil executives, even though they’ve compared fossil fuels to Auschwitz.

  306. And the same reason that people who think that Gitmo is torture and that terrorists have human rights generally don’t approve of a terrorist assault on the base.

  307. I can’t wait until abortions are made illegal, and then there will be more great quotes like:

    “Will people be better off if they are legalized? Well, yes, they will be, because they will avoid all the problems created by prohibition, including black-market violence, unreliable quality, artificially high prices, and the risk of arrest and imprisonment.”

    Oh wait, where have I heard that argument before…?

    https://www.reason.com/blog/show/132089.html

    Oops! I guess libertarians can be hypocrites too!

  308. Oops! I guess libertarians can be hypocrites too!

    Weak. You really don’t see the difference between drug use and abortion?

  309. how is it possible to believe that fetuses are people with a right to life yet also believe that using deadly force to defend that right is wrong?

    Come on, Jacob, it’s really quite simple. I believe my 7-yr-old daughter has a “right to life”. If I felt someone was trying to take her life, I’d use deadly force to defend her.

    The real hard-core pro-lifers merely see this a the same thing. The unborn fetus is, in their mind, no different than my 7-yr-old daughter.

  310. It’s the same reason James Hansen and Al Gore don’t gun down Exxon/Mobil executives, even though they’ve compared fossil fuels to Auschwitz.

    Bad example. James Hansen and Al Gore don’t really believe that fossil fuels are comparable to Auschwitz. That’s just political hyberbole.

  311. Stoner:

    1. I would argue that many of those statements would apply to abortion if it were to become illegalized.

    2. All groups have their hypocrites, and it could probably be argued that everyone is a hypocrite at some level.

    3. That was an awfully trollish sounding post.

  312. Sorry, *Stoned.

  313. As I said, killing abortionists may be contrary to that goal for tactical reasons. But how is it possible to believe that fetuses are people with a right to life yet also believe that using deadly force to defend that right is wrong?

    Jacob, if you are actually trying to achieve a major change in the world — as opposed to vainly demonstrated how rad and committed to the cause you are — then tactics do matter. Critically, in fact.

    There is certainly no reason to believe that sincerity compels you to choose the most violent option available to you. You can effectively oppose slavery without turning into John Brown.

    Although I oppose the application of strictly religious arguments to public policy on abortion, I do think that the Catholic doctrines of Just War are a pretty good guide to the morality of the use of force in general.

    The following is from the Catholic Catechism (although I don’t regard it as strictly religious; these are “rules” that have been deduced by reason, rather than relying strictly a supernatural revelation). The parts that I think apply to the use of force in general (rather than specifically war) I’ve put in bold:

    The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:

    1) the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;

    2) all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;

    3) there must be serious prospects of success;

    4) the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated.

    #1, taken by itself, might justify the killing of an abortion doctor in order to prevent the doctor killing another human being.

    #2 is arguable. Some might argue that peacable means of abolishing abortion have been tried and failed. They might make an analogy to slavery — it took a war to force half the country to “change its mind” with regard to the moral and legal status of enslaved Africans in the USA. On the other hand, other nations were able to abolish slavery without civil war.

    But #3 and #4 tip the balance decisively against trying to stop abortions by murdering abortion doctors. Wrong it may be, but abortion is legal; the “right” to have it done is protected by law. Because roughly half the country believes it should be, and does not see most abortions as killing another human being. However, they definitely do see the shooting of a doctor as the killing of a human being.

    Thus, one guy with a sniper rifle is never going to stop abortion in America; at most, he might stop one. Nor will hundreds or thousands or millions of snipers; before that point is reach, there will be sufficient outcry to have the power of the State suppress the vigilantes.

    Even most people who believe murderers should get the death penalty would have qualms about a Dirty Harry scenario — a vigilante who takes it upon himself to snuff out killers who cannot be punished by law. Outside of immediate self-defense, most of us don’t want to give any individual that kind of power.

    An attempt to violently exterminate abortion doctors would bring about a backlash of public opinion. You’d lose the undecided people sitting on the fence for sure. You’d set back the abortion-abolition movement even further. More abortions will continue to be performed that much longer.

    You can’t change people’s minds by force; you have to persuade them. And stopping abortions is particularly difficult to do by force. If you really want to end abortion in America for good, you have to persuade Americans to internalize the idea that abortion is wrong. Especially those American women who would otherwise choose to get one.

    But however sincere you are in opposing an action you believe is homicide — or any form of harm that is “lasting, grave and certain” — neither logic nor consistency nor sincerity compel you to choose a use of force that is both ineffective and ultimately adds to the harm inflicted. Indeed, Just War doctrine argues that this is precisely the kind of thing you should avoid.

  314. As it is said, when using a gun be sure you kill the other guy so the judge will only hear yoiur side of the story.

    Also DFW was deservedly pompous because he wrote one of the best short stories in mankind: The Girl With Curious Yellow Hair. Also Infinite Jest, although arguable as a whole pretentious, if one reads it in snippets it is some astounding shit.

  315. Sullum Wrote: “As I said, killing abortionists may be contrary to that goal for tactical reasons. But how is it possible to believe that fetuses are people with a right to life yet also believe that using deadly force to defend that right is wrong?”

    Agreed. I don’t believe in the sanctity of life and am pro-abortion, but if I believed that fetuses were human being persons with as much right to life as a 15 yr old healthy kid, then I would have to believe that killing abortion doctors was morally justified. Since I don’t equate fetuses with living human being persons, I don’t condone such conduct.


  316. So if someone guns down the cops who killed Kathryn Johnston (or insert any of the other innocent people killed in SWAT-style drug raids), Reason will cheer them on, eh Jacob?

    Murdered helpless people? Check.

    Government refuses to act? Check.

    I’ll be waiting to see if you guys put your money where your big mouth is.”

    If someone shot a police officer in legitimate self-defense, I would very much cheer them on.

  317. Mad Arab,

    That wasn’t the question… this guy didn’t shoot Dr Tiller in self-defense, yet Mr Sullum seems to think pro-lifers should support his action.

  318. The voluntary action in the procreative sex act is the woman letting sperm into her body. Men don’t shoot embryos out of their wang-a-doodles.

    Since we are talking about which voluntary acts are sufficient in your mind to force a woman into nine months of slavery, maybe you should try and keep up.

    And smokers don’t breathe tumors in when they smoke, yet we consider them responsible for their own lung cancer since the development of tumors is known to be a likely consequence of smoking. Likewise, getting pregnant is known to be a likely result of having sex (even when using contraceptives).

  319. On the one hand, if it is just a medical procedure and life begins at birth, why is a miscarriage such a tragedy?

    Someone may have already answered this… but my take on this question has always been that the tragedy was not, strictly speaking, the loss of the fetus; it was the loss of the fervent hopes, sunny dreams, and pleasant fantasies of the parents. If by forcing an unwilling woman to give birth you force her hopes and dreams for herself to become impossible, it’s even worse than the so-called “murder” of the fetus; it’s the murder of a living person’s future. Don’t forget all the pregnant girls and women without access to abortion who pray for an opportune miscarriage, even suspecting that it will hurt or even kill them.

    In this sense, abortion is in one sense like the breakup of a marriage. If someone desperately wants to stay in a marriage in which they and their partner have invested all of their future hopes in life, and all is going well, it’s a terrible tragedy to separate them through no fault of their own (= miscarriage). But if the marriage is horrible and destructive to even just one partner, only the most obstreperously pro-forced-marriage advocate would insist that the marriage be preserved at all costs. Most of us would offer the suffering partner(s) any help we were in a position to give in order for them to terminate the marriage (= abortion) and rebuild their lives.

  320. I watch from Australia the extraordinary expressions of American religiosity, not to say religious fanatacism about microscopic blobs of cells which just might one day grow into (one or more) human persons. I watch with fascination not seeing any recognition that God, who is presumably the source of their morality, did not see fit to instruct the Hebrews about abortion (apart from protecting the patriarch’s interest in his wives’ pregnancies against their being mishandled and damaging his property), Jesus didn’t mention the subject and the Catholic Church was still relying 100 years ago (in the Catholic Encyclopaedia) on Aristotles 2300 year old errors so that a man who had arranged an abortion for his girlfriend in the first 40 days of pregnancy was still able to become a priest – because the foetus could not have “quickened”, i.e. receive a soul and become a person even if it was male…. So, if God clearly didn’t and doesn’t care, why do Americans who claim to be able to read (at least the Bible) and pretend to think get so righteous when sensible rational modern people take the view that the only legitimate purpose of the criminal law is to stop citizens from having to take the law into their own hands to avenge or protect themselves, or others, who are citizens.

  321. Yet if you honestly believe abortion is the murder of helpless children, it’s hard to see why using deadly force against those who carry it out is immoral, especially since the government refuses to act.

    Yet if you honestly believe the death penalty is murder, it’s hard to see why using deadly force against those who carry it out is immoral, especially since the government refuses to act.

    Yet if you honestly believe killing animals for meat is the murder of helpless animals, it’s hard to see why using deadly force against those who carry it out is immoral, especially since the government refuses to act.

    Yet if you honestly believe smoking is a passive method of murder, it’s hard to see why using deadly force against those who carry it out is immoral, especially since the government refuses to act.

    Yet if you honestly believe 9/11 was a planned attack by the US government to murder 3000 citizens, it’s hard to see why using deadly force against those who you believe carried it out is immoral, especially since the government refuses to act.

    Yet if you honestly believe the US is the a murderer of fellow Muslims in an attempt to spread its dominance in the middle east, it’s hard to see why using deadly force against those who carry it out is immoral, especially since the government refuses to act.

    Yet if you honestly believe that Jesus is telling you that there is a local satanic cult that is murdering children, it’s hard to see why using deadly force against those who carry it out is immoral, especially since the government refuses to act.

  322. Jonas | June 1, 2009, 2:48pm | #
    I have to say that I support what is known as the “consistent life ethic”, meaning that taking anyone’s life, for any reason, is immoral – even if by taking that person’s life you would prevent others from dying. Self-defense is theoretically justifiable, but only because the threat of imminent danger makes it difficult to make well thought out moral decisions, but even killing in self-defense should be considered regrettable.

    If someone who is about to assaulted and killed by a serial murderer, but succeed in killing their assailant why should they “regret” it? If they hadn’t killed him, they wouldn’t be alive to see their friends and family, and would probably have suffered rape and torture before being killed.
    They would be quite justified in feeling ecstatic to be alive, and not in the least regretful that their would be killer is the one who is a carcass.

  323. rog | June 5, 2009, 12:34am

    “If someone who is about to assaulted and killed by a serial murderer, but succeed in killing their assailant why should they “regret” it? If they hadn’t killed him, they wouldn’t be alive to see their friends and family, and would probably have suffered rape and torture before being killed.
    They would be quite justified in feeling ecstatic to be alive, and not in the least regretful that their would be killer is the one who is a carcass.”

    If I were in that situation, I would feel glad to be alive, but I would also feel regret for having to end a human life.
    A pregnant woman who discovered she has cancer but could not receive chemo while she was pregnant may also feel that way if she had an abortion so that she could continue to live.

  324. Usually when someone writes something like this they clarify that they don’t, personally, think killing abortionists is morally right-it only takes a sentence. The fact that Sullum opts not to do this, and that he thinks late-term abortions are wrong (see http://www.bwcitypaper.com/Articles-i-2006-03-23-156688.112112-Terms_of_Pregnancy.html) suggests that unlike other people who’ve written stuff like this (Damon Linker, William Saletan, Megan McArdle) he actually does think Tiller’s murder was morally OK. It’s annoying that someone would write a whole column chastising pro-lifers’ reticence in endorsing murder while being so deliberately coy and ambiguous about their own views.

  325. The reason people don’t endorse it is that they don’t want to have to fight the state. That is it.

    If they endorse it, people will say they are accomplices to a crime. In reality, I am not responsible for the death of babies even if I do not intervene. I am not responsible to ruin my own life to end something that is horrible, and I will never jeopardize my quality of life by putting myself against the entire police powers of the United States.

    I am not responsible to go against all the law enforcement agencies in the entire country.

    The real opinion of pro-life people is that what happened was not a terrible thing, but we are not going to do anything illegal in order to support such things. How can we endorse something we won’t do ourselves?

    Yes, Abortion is worse than slavery, but don’t get all mad at the peaceful abolitionists for not supporting the murder of slavers.

    Requiring me to pay for what others have done (abortion) by asking me to commit a crime and ruin my life is incredibly unfair.

    Your article was something terrible. We point out that it is murder because it is. You are basically saying that we either consider it as not murder or we commit a crime or nearly act as an accomplice to a crime.

    It is murder, people need to realize that, until they do it is not the responsibility of those of us who are opposing it to ruin our lives in the process by enticing the ruin of others.

  326. Scott Roeder did the right thing. I’m glad that babykilling abortionist George Tiller is dead and now he won’t be murdering any more innocent children.

  327. Tiller was a serial child killer who mass murdered children; therefore using deadly force to stop Tiller’s murderous rampage is morally justified. At one time it was illegal to help save Jews from the death camps, but those who did were heroes and not criminals.

  328. this is actually one of the silliest, most juvenile pieces I’ve read on the subject.

    Even if abortion were legally considered murder, killing Tiller would be illegal in every state in the union unless you caught him in the act of committing an abortion, and even then, you’d only be able to shoot him if he refused to stop the procedure after you’d challenged him. And that would only apply in jurisdictions where use of deadly force by civilians is permissible.

  329. The contradiction only arises if you consider advocating that the state kill someone to be equivalent to killing him yourself — an insight that almost no non-libertarians will ever grasp.

  330. This is no different than the rhetoric offered at any other right wing website. I will not be coming to your website in the future.

  331. If you feel called by God to punish these murderers, than go and fulfill your duty. make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. personally i would rather break into an abortion clinic and break all their tools and machines, but if violence is neccessary, then so be it. we are dealing with murderers who are protected by the law, and they must be stopped at all costs.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.