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Free Minds & Free Markets

Why I Am a Pro-Life Libertarian

Rand Paul gets attacked for being pro-liberty and anti-abortion. But there's nothing inconsistent about his view.

Ultrasound of a human babyMark BaylorThere's a belief on the American left that says it's impossible to be both a principled libertarian and a principled pro-lifer—that the two positions are somehow intellectually incompatible. It's been popping up more often lately as liberal writers look for ways to criticize Sen. Rand Paul, as in this Salon piece, where the author says Paul and his father "have always played fast and loose with their libertarian principles when it comes to reproductive health."

The unstated premise on which that statement relies is that No True Libertarian could also be against abortion. But in reality, it's not the case that all libertarians believe women should have the right to terminate a pregnancy. More to the point, it's flatly incorrect to suggest that opposition to legal abortion is irreconcilable with the belief system that places a person in the libertarian camp.

What is true is that most libertarians—at least historically—have held pro-choice views. In their 2012 book The Libertarian Vote, David Boaz, David Kirby, and (former Reason Foundation polling director) Emily Ekins looked at the data and confirmed as much. "According to our analysis of 2008 [American National Election Study] data, 62 percent of libertarians are pro-choice versus 37 percent pro-life, similar to percentages of the national population," they wrote. Stated otherwise, as recently as 2008, a six-in-ten majority of libertarians thought women should be able to legally get an abortion.

Here at Reason that tendency has been even more pronounced, with the magazine's editorial staff overwhelmingly favoring a right to legal abortion. You've probably seen my colleague Elizabeth Nolan Brown's writing on the subject, including her recent quasi-defense of Planned Parenthood. From the general tenor of our coverage of this issue over the years, one might get the impression that most if not all prominent libertarians support the so-called "right to choose."

Yes, libertarians tilt pro-choice. But as a young, female, pro-life Roman Catholic who also happens to identify as libertarian (and who works for a magazine dedicated to free minds and free markets), I'm always rather dismayed when someone on the far side of the political universe professes to be an authority on what "consistent libertarianism" requires.

From my perspective, the consistent libertarian position on abortion is contingent—it depends whether you believe the entity developing in the womb counts as a human being.

I accept that some people don't think it does. And if I were one of them, I'd probably be pro-choice too. Like many libertarians, a fundamental question I use to adjudicate whether an act should be considered a crime is whether or not it has a victim. Drug use? Consensual prostitution? Working for less than the wage some politician has decided should be the legislatively mandated minimum? I oppose government intervention to stop any of these things, because none of them involves the use of force by one human being against another.

But for the consistent libertarian who looks at an ultrasound and sees a baby, a person, a fully human life, it's extraordinarily hard to avoid the conclusion that abortion is an act of violence.

That's where I come down. No doubt my Catholic faith has something to do with it, but so does my (admittedly imperfect) understanding of the science of what happens during conception and at the various stages of fetal development. In moments of honest reflection, alone only with my conscience and my God, this is the inescapable conclusion I can't help but arrive at.

And while I may be in the minority among libertarians, I'm definitely not alone. In 1978 Reason published an entire issue dedicated to debating this topic. There, in a piece called "It's a Matter of Life and Death," the author Karl T. Pflock made the pro-life libertarian case as follows:

The unborn are human beings. Unborn human beings are persons. Unborn persons are innocent of aggressive behavior. Therefore, except in a “life-boat” situation, they must be accorded the protection of the nonaggression principle. And, therefore, under normal (nonemergency) circumstances, abortion is a violation of the cardinal principle of libertarianism.

Recall as well that the authors of The Libertarian Vote found more than a third of libertarians opposing abortion. There's even reason to suspect that number might be on the rise. Although millennials are routinely painted as socially liberal, a 2014 Pew Research study found that people 18 to 29 are actually more likely than those 30 to 64 to say the practice should be illegal. A majority of Hispanics, the fastest-growing demographic in the country, also said it should be banned.

For obvious reasons, the largest divide is between what Pew calls "consistent conservatives" (just 19 percent of whom said abortion should be legal in all or most cases) and what Pew calls "consistent liberals" (88 percent of whom answered the same). It's worth noting, though, that even on the political left, few people will go so far as to say abortion should always be allowed.

At a recent Young Americans for Liberty conference, The Washington Post's David Weigel remarked that attendees were largely unbothered by Paul's belief that life begins at conception. "I don't think a civilization can long endure that does not have respect for all human life, born and not yet born," the Kentucky senator said in 2012. Weigel wrote that many liberals see that stance "as antithetical to 'choice.' Doctrinal libertarians don't necessarily agree."

That shouldn't be surprising. The philosophy of liberty simply cannot speak to whether abortion is an act involving one human being or two. For that, you have to look elsewhere—at science or experience or religion or tradition or intuition or a combination of all those things. How you answer the question will determine your starting point. Libertarianism can only show you where to go from there.

***

If you're interested in this subject, you may want to check out the great Reason abortion debate of 2013, featuring Managing Editor Katherine Mangu-Ward and Science Correspondent Ron Bailey arguing the pro-choice side and Mollie Hemingway (then of GetReligion and Ricochet, now of The Federalist) arguing the pro-life.

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.

  • Trshmnstr doesn't recycle||

    Batten down the hatches!!! It's an ABORTION THREADDDDDDD!!!!!!!!

    *panicked screams*

  • Lee G||

    ABORT! ABORT!

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    If anyone needs me, I'll be in the fallout shelter. Let me know when we get through the Mexican ass sex w/ pot thread so I can come back.

  • WTF||

    Just don't miss the deep dish circumcision pizza thread.

  • Almanian - Trump's Woodchipper||

    NOW WITH MOAR RAPE!

  • EndTheGOP||

    Yawn. When is the anti-abortion crowd going to learn? This battle has been over for 40+ years. It was a losing battle then and it's a losing battle even more so now. If the GOP, or Libertarians continue with this nonsense the only thing you will accomplish is taking us that much closer to socialism. As a matter of fact, if the democrats win in 2016 capitalism will be over and so will the abortion issue because Hillary will appoint 2 or 3 Supreme Court justices who will nail the abortion issue shut for the next 50 years.

    You should be HAPPY socialists are aborting their fetuses. That'll be less socialists trying to control you and your children.

  • MSimon||

    We need to be anti-abortion - because we need more government minders.

  • MSimon||

    Of course we could live by the Jewish rules on personhood. They are pretty much parallel with current laws.

    And Jewish opinion is that abortion is acceptable to improve the mental health of the mother.

  • obadiahlynch||

    It's small and unworthy of me but I love these threads

  • Trshmnstr doesn't recycle||

    Yes, libertarians tilt pro-choice. But as a young, female, pro-life Roman Catholic who also happens to identify as libertarian (and who works for a magazine dedicated to free minds and free markets), I'm always rather dismayed when someone on the far side of the political universe professes to be an authority on what "consistent libertarianism" requires.

    From my perspective, the consistent libertarian position on abortion is contingent—it depends whether you believe the entity developing in the womb counts as a human being.

    *standing ovation*

    Finally, we have somebody who recognizes that abortion is an unsolved issue in libertarian circles. Can we get an edit button next?

  • some guy||

    We'll decide the official Libertarian stance on both abortion and animal cruelty before we get an edit button.

  • Restor-woodchipper-as||

    I'm always rather dismayed when someone on the far side of the political universe professes to be an authority on what "consistent libertarianism" requires

    Where is The Arbiter when you need him?

  • Trigger Hippie||

    "I'm always rather dismayed when someone on the far side of the political universe professes to be an authority on what "consistent libertarianism" requires.

    If that isn't a Hihn signal, I don't know what is.

    Hihn....Hihn...?

  • Catatafish & Woodchips||

    I have this mental image of you standing in front of a mirror in a darkened room and saying "Candyman, Candyman, Candyman."

    OH MY GOD HIHN IS BEHIND YOU!

  • CatoTheChipper||

    "The unborn are human beings. Unborn human beings are persons."

    Actually it comes down to whether the fetus is a person, not whether it is a human being. There is a difference. A fetus is, and it is human; therefore it is a human being. Although 1 U.S. Code § 8 (a) says that "the words “person”, “human being”, “child”, and “individual”, shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive", that does not mean they are synonymous. (Conceptualize the Venn diagram if this is not immediately clear.)

    The question is when the fetus acquires personhood, not whether it is human or whether it exists.

    I salute Stephanie Slade for recognizing that this is a sui generis problem that cannot be solved with libertarian theory. It takes courage to write something like this for Reason, which seems to be comprised mostly of the libertine wing of the libertarian movement.

  • MattFC||

    I don't think pro-lifers (myself included) distinguish between "personhood" and "humanity", regardless of what the law says. They're synonymous. So, one can recognize that the law has defined the issue as well as the fact that abortions are currently legal, but it's kind of irrelevant as it regards the underlying discussion.

  • ant1sthenes||

    I don't know about courageous. Yeah, most of the writers are on the other side of that fence, but they seem to understand and accept the libertarian pro-life position, even if they don't accept the base premise (which is outside of the scope of libertarianism).

  • Mickey Rat||

    Maybe some types of human are not persons, but the pro abortions rights side does not serm capable of explaining a reason why an unborn child is not up until birth that does not exclude from personhood humans in other situations where they are protected by law.

  • IceTrey||

    Because it's a parasite. It's not an independent organism. It relies on the mother to survive.

  • Slocum||

    Consider Siamese twins. Sometimes only one of two can be viable separately. And sometimes we do surgery to give one infant a normal life and allow the other to die. But this is always a wrenching decision. And this is morally acceptable ONLY because the viable twin is facing a lifetime of extremely debilitating 'parasitism'. If the second twin were definitely going to become viable after a few months of living co-joined, we would never, EVER allow surgery that would kill one of the twins rather than waiting a few months so both could live.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Consider the Greek root terato... It means monster, as in the sort of beast that would force women to reproduce unwillingly, deer populations to starve to death on an island, or humans on a planet. Mysticism requires the initiation of force because the brainwashing that induces it only works on defenseless children. The saddest part is that the practitioners have no choice. Their parents and brainwashers shut of reason as an option so that force is all that remains to them by elimination. No answer will work that does not send men with guns out to threaten and kill rational adults. Arguing with these mystics is as useful as arguing with World Trade Center kamikaze hijackers.

  • Haskell_Hunter||

    The same thing can be said for a newborn baby. Without another human being around to sustain its existence, it will die.

    The concept of "survival outside of the womb" in the case of humans, always requires another human to sustain existence outside of the womb.

    Unlike other animals, humans are incredibly helpless for a considerable period of time after birth.

  • IceTrey||

    But a newborn isn't dependent on one specific person. Anyone can take care of it.

  • Harold Falcon||

    You can implant a fetus into all kinds of wombs. Even animal ones.

  • ThomasD||

    That only narrows responsibility down to a particular person. It does nothing to refute the observation that all small children require close care and attention otherwise they surely will die.

    That you think spreading the burden around somehow makes the burden acceptable does nothing to shore up your libertarian bona fides.

  • IceTrey||

    A newborn doesn't live in or on a host.

  • Barry Gold||

    It's not a question of "spreading the burden around". It's a question of, if the birth parents do not want to raise the child, someone else can take over that role. If nobody does, then the child dies. (Or its raising is paid for with taxes via the foster care "system"). Of course, in the latter case, the burden is "spread around" through taxation. But it doesn't have to be that way.

  • Barry Gold||

    And the logical solution to the abortion problem is the uterine replicator, as described in the Vorkosigan saga by Lois McMaster Bujold.

  • DJ1706||

    So?

    It's going to be a "parasite" on SOMEONE.

  • IceTrey||

    Not if it dies.

  • DJ1706||

    "Not if it dies."

    What, you're for abandoning newborns, too? That's the only way this response makes any sense.

    Between this and your notion that the baby develops "externally" to the mother, I simply can't take you seriously.

  • IceTrey||

    It could die for some medical reason.

  • DJ1706||

    You're just a troll.

  • IceTrey||

    You're an idiot.

  • Barry Gold||

    "You're an idiot" is not a useful argument. Look up "ad hominem".

  • Barry Gold||

    "You're a trollt" is _also_ not a useful argument. Look up "ad hominem".

  • Bodica Slayer of Woodchip||

    Wow. Nothing like the Ayn Rand "parasite" response.

  • IceTrey||

    It's true.

  • DarrenM||

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/parasite

    1. an organism that lives on or in an organism of another species, known as the host, from the body of which it obtains nutriment.

    2. a person who receives support, advantage, or the like, from another or others without giving any useful or proper return, as one who lives on the hospitality of others.

    3. (in ancient Greece) a person who received free meals in return for amusing or impudent conversation, flattering remarks, etc.

  • Hank Phillips||

    The Ayn Rand response, 1947, when Christian National Socialists were still explaining at Nurenberg how they were only following orders and making the world safe for Christian altruism, was that we should forswear "the initiation of force" against individuals. Oddly enough, SS in German means Protection Squadrons, and they were indeed protecting the young from all manner of non-altruistic and unmystical thoughts. Now imagine, as a gedankenexperiment, a group of True Believers™ determined to convince the Libertarian Party to back nationalsocialist policies and kidnap children for Hitlerjugend and Lebensborn projects--and you have the equivalent of this infiltrating tool, her trainers' article and its shills. The Prohibition Party has its own website, dogma, platform and agenda--elsewhere.

  • Hank Phillips||

    My concern is the rights of an individual, such as a woman even if pregnant. In any conflict between the rights of an individual and purported right of something other than an individual, I side with the individual against Allah, Ra, Minerva, Thor, Krishna, Pontus, Pallas, Morpheus, the Infallible Pope of Rome, Mussolini, Nicolae Ceausescu and any number of hobgoblins. Indeed, a hero in a Robert Heinlein novel poised to abort a child after birth rather than saddle the young couple with the product of radioactive teratogenesis. I would side with Heinlein against all fake infiltrators of the LP. Honest bigots stick with the Prohibition party where they belong.

  • Suicidy||

    So does a full term infant long after being born. So what?

  • IceTrey||

    An infant doesn't live in or on a host.

  • Jen G.||

    Neither does a premature infant in an incubator. You've just articulated a theory of 'personhood' where the point at which personhood would be acquired is dependent on the level of technology available.

  • IceTrey||

    No. A baby in an incubator doesn't live in or on a biological host therefore it's not a parasite.

  • DarrenM||

    So you're saying women deliberately have a "parasite" implanted in themselves? Either that, or you are saying those that don't are stupid and irresponsible.

  • scooby509||

    How is your appendix not a parasite by that definition? Or a transplanted kidney?

  • DJ1706||

    That's not the actual definition of a parasite. It's not a member of another species which latched on.

    A baby is something which developed internally, within the organ which exists specifically for it to do so.

  • IceTrey||

    Parasite
    an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host's expense.

    The lining of the uterus is not internal tissue it is contiguous with the external skin. In other words I could put my finger on a womans forehead, run it down her body, in and out of her uterus and back to her forehead without lifting it off her body.

  • DJ1706||

    "Parasite
    an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host's expense."

    That's a colloquial definition. it's not a scientific definition.

    Does it matter? Sure, because you're trying to be super-technical by saying:

    "The lining of the uterus is not internal tissue it is contiguous with the external skin. In other words I could put my finger on a womans forehead, run it down her body, in and out of her uterus and back to her forehead without lifting it off her body."

    Which doesn't have a thing to do with what I said. The uterus is an organ which exists solely to host a baby. It matters not what the lining is "contiguous" with. By your argument, a baby should be able to develop anywhere along the skin, then, internally or externally. That, of course, is absurd.

  • IceTrey||

    You say my defintion is incorrect but don't provide any yourself.
    You say a baby is developed internally whixh is incorrect. The liver is internal tissue the lining of the uterus is not.

  • DJ1706||

    "In biology/ecology, parasitism is a non-mutual symbiotic relationship between species, where one species, the parasite, benefits at the expense of the other, the host."

    Your preposterous notion that a baby develops "externally" need not be bothered with. It would be like arguing with someone who claims the Earth circles the Moon.

  • IceTrey||

    Is a fetus attached to the mother? Does it take nutrition and excrete waste through the mother? Does it benefit at the expense of the mother? Just becasue it's the same species doesn't mean it's not a parasite.
    If a doctor can reach into the uterus through the vagina and touch the baby it's external.

  • DarrenM||

    So, is the egg produced by the mother prior to conception a parasite, too?

  • Bob Straub||

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but ...Would anything contained within the skin be considered to be internal to the organism? If so, in the running the finger example, while within the uterus couldn't the finger also run along the umbilical cord and any arbitrary path along the fetus's skin without lifting it off? Mother and fetus would appear to be conjoined, or the interior of the fetus would be contained within the extended skin of the mother.

    This observation may do nothing to resolve the matter, but getting the biology (or topology) straight might be necessary for a meaningful discussion.

    I side with the majority of Libertarians re abortion, but I am not entirely happy about it. That may be because of my Catholic upbringing. It is hard (though not impossible) for me to suppress the sentiments that arise from that upbringing. I don't think I'll ever be able to deprogram them from by brain, and I've been trying for more than 50 years.

    I think that abortion may well be the taking of a life. But we deliberately take life in many ways. As with euthanasia, capital punishment, etc. it should be a matter for serious thought.

  • Trshmnstr doesn't recycle||

    I could put my finger on a womans forehead, run it down her body, in and out of her uterus and back to her forehead without lifting it off her body.

    Go on...

    (sorry, had to insert some humor)

  • BillEverman||

    If you mean this literally, then your grasp of human anatomy is woefully inadequate. The cervix is there to prevent anything that's not supposed to go into the uterus from getting in there. If you mean it as a sort of half-metaphor, then the same is true of the lining of the lungs and stomach as well. In any event, it doesn't make a difference as to whether or not the uterus is a reproductive organ; if human fetuses grew out of fingernails, they'd be reproductive organs too!

  • DJ1706||

    No, he's been seriously arguing -- in multiple places -- that the baby is an EXTERNAL parasite. Literally, not metaphorically.

  • IceTrey||

    Is the liver an internal or external organ? Can you connect the liver and a fetus with a string? You're an idiot.

  • BillEverman||

    So...any two internal organs can be connected by a string? That's what I tied my brain to my spleen to remind myself of!

  • Barry Gold||

    "You're an idiot" is not a useful argument. Look up "ad hominem".

  • Barry Gold||

    "You're an idiot" is not a useful argument. Look up "ad hominem".

  • IceTrey||

    The cervix is nothing but a sphincter muscle. Sperm goes through it. The lining of the lungs and stomach are external tissue.

  • BillEverman||

    Again, the purpose of that sphincter muscle is to keep out what's meant to be kept out. Sperm, which is microscopic except maybe for Warty's, can pass through; when the muscle is relaxed through labor, a whole baby can pass through. Oxygen molecules pass through the lungs into the bloodstream. Does that make the blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood to the heart external tissue as well? And what does ANY of that have to do with whether a fetus is parasitic?

  • IceTrey||

    I think we are taking about whether the lining of the uterus is external tissue or not. I've already proven a fetus is a parasite.

  • BillEverman||

    Okay, I'll dumb this down even further. I have a box here from Amazon. If I run my finger along any side of the box, eventually I find my finger inside the box. Are you arguing that the inside of the box is actually the outside of the box?

  • IceTrey||

    That's a stupid analogy because a piece of paper doesn't have an inside and an outside.

  • IceTrey||

    If you make a fist is the skin on the palm of your hand inside your body?

  • BillEverman||

    If a man and a woman have sexual intercourse, does that take place inside or outside of the woman's body? Do M&Ms; melt outside your mouth, not outside your hand? If you break a window, does the inside of your house suddenly become the outside?

    You are bending the meaning of, and everyday usage of these terms to create a Bizarro world in which digestion takes place outside the body and the inside of a cave is actually the outside because you can get into it from the outside without using a shovel, apparently so you can consider a fetus to be roughly equivalent to a skin tag.

  • Bob Straub||

    Re my previous post, the "inside" surface of the box is part of the "outside" surface, in strict topological terms. Our language allows a lot of confusion and semantic ambiguity. Your external skin and your digestive tract are topologically just a torus, like a doughnut. When you include your nasal passages, it's more like a doughnut with a Y-shaped hole.

  • Bob Straub||

    Be careful about classifying analogies as stupid. How many sides does a piece of paper have? How many edges? What about a Moebius strip?

    upload.wikimedia. org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/ d9/Möbius_strip.jpg/250px- Möbius_strip.jpg

    Run your finger along that.

  • Bob Straub||

    Mr. Hihn: I have no idea what you're talking about in that last line. We're discussing the relationship of a fetus to the woman carrying it. In discussing whether the fetus is inside or outside of the woman, analogies were made to a piece of paper and a box. A Moebius Strip is a topologically interesting construct. One might think that, like most constructs made of paper, it has two sides. But you can get from one "side" to the other without crossing an edge. That makes the idea of a side, and terms like "inside" and "outside" ambiguous. Analogies don't always work. That's all I was trying to say. Sorry you found my wording incoherent. Maybe I should have used crude language.

  • Mickey Rat||

    No, it is not a parasite. "Parasite"has a rather specific biological meaning as a symbiote with negative implications for the host. From a biological standpoint, as the young of the species, an unborn offspring is a beneficial symbiote, otherwise female mammals would not have an organ with the specific finction of nurturing such a symbiote.

    Try again, with less ignorance.

  • IceTrey||

    Parasite
    an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host's expense.

    Try using Google before accusing others of ignorance.

  • Mickey Rat||

    I have cracked open a Biology textbook and have some idea of the different classifications of symbiotic relationships. Parasitism is the one with no beneficial results to the host. Reproduction is a basic biological function, passing the hosts genes down to the next generation is beneficial to the host from a biological standpoint. Therefore pregnancy cannot be considered a parasitical relationship.

    Only an ignoramus would consider Google to be a definitive authority.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Or titties. ( . Y . )

  • ThomasD||

    Being of the same species it simply is not a parasite by any recognized definition of the term.

    Your usage is either ignorant or overtly misanthropic.

  • IceTrey||

    From the CDC.

    "A parasite is an organism that lives on or in a host and gets its food from or at the expense of its host."

  • DarrenM||

    http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/glossary.html#p

    Parasite: Any organism that lives in or on another organism without benefiting the host organism; commonly refers to pathogens, most commonly in reference to protozoans and helminths.

  • Rhino||

    The same is true long after birth.

  • ChuckHagerman||

    What 6 month old does not rely on its mother to survive? Exposure was a common practice to rid oneself of a child precisely because a baby cannot survive on its own. What does survival have to do with personhood anyway. This is a ridiculous argument.

  • Hank Phillips||

    ...protected by law. Negroes were "protected by law" from attempting to flee slavery in the 1850s. It was for their own good, as their owners were christianizing them.

  • IceTrey||

    Sure it can be solved with libertarian theory. Abortion is a question of property rights. The question being who owns the womb? Obviously the woman owns her womb. A fetus is a parasite an external parasite in fact. We all know how libertarians feel about parasites. If a fetus is granted a proprietary right to use of the womb then the woman has been enslaved to the fetus. This of course violates the non-aggression principle. The fact is a fetus survives solely on the goodwill of the woman and that's all there is to it.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    So if I drag you onto my property I cam shoot you for trespassing? Infants survive purely on the goodwill of their parents. Can I just decide to stop feeding my infant?

    No one can prove or disprove personhood. It's axiomatic, which was Slade's whole point.

  • SoCal Loko||

    Dragging someone onto your property would seem to violate the NAP, no?

  • IceTrey||

    Actually anyone can take care of a baby. Never heard of orphanages?

  • JFree||

    One could just as easily argue that by engaging in sex the woman has biologically contracted with the fetus that directly results from that sex. The womb has no other function.

  • IceTrey||

    Never heard of rape?

  • Overt||

    Never heard of rape?

    So are you conceding the point for all abortions except those caused by rape? Because Pro-Lifers have answers to that as well. But before moving on to that, let's be clear on whether you have agreed that the mother's property rights don't override the baby's rights to life when the mother's act put the baby there in the first place.

  • SoCal Loko||

    when mother's act put the baby there in the first place.

    So what?

    Does an individual lose her right to evict someone from her house just because she invited them in? Furthermore, would she not be be justified in using force to remove said person once they refused to leave?

  • Trshmnstr doesn't recycle||

    Does an individual lose her right to evict someone from her house just because she invited them in?

    Yes, when an implied term of the implied-in-fact contract is a residency for 9 months.

  • SoCal Loko||

    Yes, when an implied term of the implied-in-fact contract is a residency for 9 months.

    It's not clear to me when/how mutual consent to contract would be implied between a women and her fetus. .

    It's also unclear to me what the consideration between both parties is.

  • SoCal Loko||

    Yes, when an implied term of the implied-in-fact contract is a residency for 9 months.

    It's not clear to me when/how mutual consent to contract would be implied between a women and her fetus. .

    It's also unclear to me what the consideration between both parties is.

  • BillEverman||

    I'd think that the use of deadly force to evict someone who was physically incapable of leaving would be problematic for most people.

  • tommyboy||

    So you only support abortion in cases of rape?

  • IceTrey||

    No.

  • Zxcson||

    No fetus exists during sex. No embryo exists during sex. There is only a sperm and an egg. Implied biological contracts with a potential future person who in no form exists? That's a very poor argument. Also the womb has nothing to do with sex.

    After reading this comment I have to inform you that I haven't started a tree planting corporation yet but if and when I do I'm going to need you to front nine months of payments. As someone who will potentially be breathing the oxygen created by the trees I might plant you are entering an implied biological contract with me. Your lungs have no other function.

  • JoeB||

    Without the womb, no sex would have evolved as an activity. Your notion that the womb has nothing to do with sex is a late-20th century invention.

  • Harold Falcon||

    Except in cases of rape women choose to have this particular parasite installed in them.

  • IceTrey||

    What if she was on the pill, using a diaphragm and the guy wore a condom?

  • DesigNate||

    Since none of those measures is 100%, and that is a well known fact the world over, then yes, they still participated in the act that deposited the "parasite" in the womb.

  • IceTrey||

    But she didn't "choose" to get pregnant. Active measures were taken to prevent it.

  • JoeB||

    Weak. She chose to engage in an activity that in some cases, despite all precautions, result in pregnancy.

  • IceTrey||

    No as a response to Harold's comment.

  • DJ1706||

    So which is it?

    Is it an external parasite, or is it in the womb?

  • IceTrey||

    Both. The lining of the uterus is external tissue. It's a pocket.

  • DJ1706||

    You are a preposterously silly person.

  • IceTrey||

    You're an ignoramus.

  • IceTrey||

    Is the surface of your tongue internal or external tissue?

  • Rhino||

    Except that the woman, in most cases, voluntarily carried out the action that puts the baby in her womb. So, she cannot force the baby out by killing it as she is responsible for it being in the position of dependence on her. It'd be like if i took you out on my boat and drove way out into the ocean, then decided i don't want you on my boat anymore so i kicked you off the boat and left you to drown. An excercise of property rights? sure, but also murder.

    Walter Block has a great speech on Youtube talking about how he would propose handling the situation. The mother could not have an abortion until the baby was viable to survive outside of the womb. Then she would be responsible for keeping the baby alive until the baby could take care of itself, or she could find someone else to care for the baby. If you want to find the talk, look up Evictionism or search Walter Block abortion or something like that.

  • Hank Phillips||

    "Every Sperm is Sacred" is also on Youtube...

  • SimonJester||

    If unborn human beings are persons (and citizens), and thus subject to all the protection given all citizens, does this also mean that the parents of the unborn child can claim exemptions on taxes?

    What about immigration? If we decide, as a nation, that an unborn human becomes a "citizen" at a specific number of hours (be it 24 hours post copulation or any number below 6,720 hours post copulation), does this change when a mother must enter the country in order to secure citizenship for her child?

  • DJ1706||

    1) Why would any libertarian have a problem with said tax exemptions?

    2) The 14th Amendment does actually say "born."

  • SimonJester||

    It wasn't meant to be picking a fight, I was just wondering what folks think. It was just friendly conversation. Also, thanks for the correction on 14th A.

  • Rhino||

    Well, a person can be found guilty for murder if he kicks a pregnant woman in the stomach and the baby dies, so....

  • John Moore||

    The constitutional protections apply to all persons within US jurisdiction, not just citizens, so it is irrelevant.

  • Robert||

    No, it comes down to a more fundamental Q: why, & under what conditions (Smoking Cat aside), death is bad.

  • Robert||

  • Issue Ninja||

    "...Reason, which seems to be comprised mostly of the libertine wing of the libertarian movement."

    Is 'libertine' (like 'sinister') a synonym for 'left'?

  • Marshal||

    abortion is an unsolved issue in libertarian circles.

    Why does there have to be a solution? A wide range of abortion positions are consistent with libertarian principles, why not invite them all in?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Because liberty means everyone must live their life in the same exact manner, according to the same set of values and with the same conception of what constitutes the good life.

  • Zunalter||

    Well, since either answer to this argument results in a perceived violation of liberty by proponents the opposing view, it seems that not both of them are consistent, either 1 of them or none of them are.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Since when is it consistant with libertarian principles that you can avoid the NAP by writing someone else out of personhood?

    If it is, then the NAP is meaningless.

  • IceTrey||

    If a fetus is granted a proprietary right to the use of the womb then the woman is a slave to the fetus and that violates the NAP.

  • Marshal||

    the woman is a slave to the fetus and that violates the NAP.

    So you have two NAP violations. One is temporary and a foreseeable consequence of a voluntary act. The other is the death of a non-consenting party.

    Which is worse?

  • Bodica Slayer of Woodchip||

    If the pro-choice libertarians aren't bothered with that ethical dilemma, they haven't really thought about libertarianism.

  • Suicidy||

    And often intellectually lazy. I have a friend who is an NNP who doesn't believe a fetus is a person until it's succssfully delivered. When I pointed out the scientific inconsistently of that line of thinking and that given her professional training and experience, it is even more inconsistent, she basically admitted that she didn't wan to be professionally bothered with that sort of headache. She just wanted to take the lazy way out.

  • IceTrey||

    Never heard of rape? The pill? Condoms? Cycle tracking?

  • Rhino||

    We do. And then we discuss the issue and try to come to the truth of the matter and convince those who disagree with us, if we can, that our arguments are sound, or be convinced by others if the evidence supports their arguments. You know. The opposite of what liberals or conservatives do.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Yeah. Why not libertarian Klansmen, libertarian child molesters, and libertarian chainsaw mutilators? There are already libertarian communists, libertarian socialists and libertarian anarchists? What's wrong with libertarian inquisitionists? libertarian heretic-burners? We want a really big tent here. We could publish a platform full of Whereases and Unresolved and be really effective at repealing idiotic laws.

  • Mike M.||

    Or a search feature that works.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Can we even really fight about what is basically a decent encapsulation of the whole libertarian debate over abortion?

    Edit: Ok, there's also the question of trespass, but that's usually a specious argument since the people that rely on it would not usually actually apply it to a normal guardian/minor relationship.

    Edited by ant1sthenes on 8/14/2015 at 11:48 EDT

  • Lawless Heathen||

    It would be beneficial to have access to the original unedited version, to prevent silliness/sneakiness by knuckleheads. Also a report feature for spam or recaptcha for registering in the first place.

  • SQRLSY One||

    *standing ovation*

    Are you SURE that this is a standing ovation and NOT a standing ovulation? Please clarify...

  • Hank Phillips||

    Yes, consistency--especially logical consistency--is really important to communists, socialists and fascists, and absolutely an indispensable virtue to religious fanatics. Ask anyone...

  • sarcasmic||

    *tosses a bag of popcorn into the microwave*

  • Warren's Strapon||

    *orders pizza*

  • Another David||

    Thin crust or deep dish?

  • bacon-magic||

    Deep dish...DEEP DISH.

  • WTF||

    DEEP DISH IS NOT PIZZA!

  • SimonJester||

    Mmmm ... pizza flavored casserole. Or, possibly, pizza flavored meat pie.

  • RBS||

    *circumcises new born*

  • Libertopian||

    Circumcision should be something that there is *no debate* about in libertarian circles, unlike abortion. It's an act of brutal aggression against an innocent person and should be illegal. There is no legitimate medical justification for it and it is not a parent's right.

  • Set Us Up The Chipper||

    I quite enjoy my hoodless dick. Worth the pain that I don't remember. So fuck off....

  • Trigger Hippie||

    No, it's not an act of brutal aggression, it's a religious practice that's been appropriated by the majority of American families. While I can accept your premise that it's not necessary for your well being, it's certainly not something that effects your life in a negative manner. I sure as hell don't feel violated by my parents for having me circumcised. As an infant I was subject to a myriad of things that temporarily upset me. I moved on, and lived my life accordingly.

  • SimonJester||

    I am afraid that you should do a bit more research. Turns out there is a fair amount of evidence (that I can't point you toward -- sorry, I am worse than wikipedia) that says circumcision deals irreparable damage to one's sex life. Not that sex is bad with a clipped dick, it isn't, but that it could be BETTER having not been circumcised.

    Not that you should feel violated, or not move on. You seem healthy. However, it may "effect your life in a negative manner"

  • Trigger Hippie||

    Fair enough. You've given me a valid reason(drink!) to study the subject further.

  • Bodica Slayer of Woodchip||

    You hooded dick is ugly.

  • Akira||

    I hope that was sarcasm or snark. If not, I have a question: is a fully intact vagina ugly? Or should they slice off the labia and clitoris at birth to make it more aesthetically pleasing?

    "Eww! Your uncut vagina looks like a messy pile of roast beef! You should have undergone female circumcision!"

  • Set Us Up The Chipper||

    I figure that you lose some sensitivity (since the head is always exposed) but you gain in controlling yourself. Bet hooded dick wielders come too fast on average.

  • MacDaddy81||

    Actually, the medical community is split. Some say it leafs to lower rates of penile caner, STDs, cervical cancer in the partners of circumcised men, etc. Others dispute this.

  • Trigger Hippie||

    I'm aware of that. But like you said, the issue is disputed by many medical professionals. While I'm far from a settled science guy(the term in and of itself is ridiculously anti scientific), I error on the side of caution when there's no concrete facts to make such a judgement.

  • Akira||

    I'd still say that infant circumcision is wrong even if it does reduce the rates of some diseases.

    If some studies found that cutting off ears at birth reduced the risk of ear infections, or cutting off noses at birth reduced the risk of sinusitis, or tearing off fingernails reduced the risk of nail fungus, I don't think many people would support these practices.

    If the benefits are so great, let the kid read up on it and decide for himself when he's older.

  • Bodica Slayer of Woodchip||

    Other than a hooded dick looks like a Sharpei. And the only female who wants to fuck a Sharpei is another Sharpei.

    Damn! Get that fucking Sharpei AWAY FROM ME

  • Akira||

    Absolutely right. Infant circumcision should never be permitted. The glans penis is a mucosa; it's not supposed to be keratinized like circumcized penises are.

    I know that the "more sanitary" excuse is coming. My response is: It takes about five seconds to wash under it in the shower. Besides, we don't cut off natural parts of the body because they reduce the risk of diseases by a few percentage points. If we're going to do that, why not just slice off babies' ears at birth? Wax just builds up in there and probably leads to ear infections, so just cut them off, right? Why not cut off girls' labia?

    If the benefits of circumcision are so wonderful, let the kid decide when he's 18. The option to get circumcized is always there, but if you cut that skin off without his consent, that's irreversible.

  • Princess Trigger||

    Total clickbait.

  • DJ1706||

    Why "clickbait"? It's a perfectly relevant topic, which is a genuine matter of contention in libertarian thought.

  • dbw1977||

    titties.

  • gaoxiaen||

    ( . Y . )

  • Idle Hands||

    So what kind of cocktail parties does she attend?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    as a young, female, pro-life Roman Catholic who also happens to identify as libertarian

    I hear Eddie's single, Ms. Slade.

    Jus' sayin'

  • ||

    Thank you for saying that and saving me yet another of Eddie's whines.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I'm just trying to hook a brotha up.

  • SugarFree||

    Hopefully she likes 'em fat and sassy.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    They see me rollin
    They hatin
    Patrolling they tryin to catch me ridin' fat 'n sassy

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Gosh, HM, thank you for making it *awkward.*

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Sorry...was trying to keep it lighthearted.

  • ||

    attendees were largely unbothered by Paul's belief that life begins at conception

    Um, Steph, that's because nobody credibly questions whether life begins at conception. It's never not alive since it's the product of two living cells. This is either profound cluelessness or profound dishonesty on your part and not a good way to establish credibility.

  • Jordan||

    I think it's pretty obvious that "life" refers to humanity in this context. Bacteria are alive too, but nobody balks at killing them.

  • ||

    One is never sure with the anti-abortion people. Words mean things.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Both sides of this debate tend to be (at the most charitable interpretation) tone deaf to the nuances of word choice. The Pro-Chocie side always drifts back to not really believing that anyone could consider a fetus a human life, and thereby to conspiracy theories about how Pro-Lifers want to control women. Conversely, the Pro-life side is deaf to the idea that a fetus ISN'T a human life, and so they call Planned Parenthood all, manner of names for finding a practical use for medical waste.

    Admitting that both positions are reasonable based on what we know about the human mind and the human spirit seems to be beyond the capabilities for the debaters.

  • ||

    The Pro-Choice [FTFY] side always drifts back to not really believing that anyone could consider a fetus a human life...

    No, Shoe. I have no trouble accepting that others believe that fetuses and zygotes are human beings. Nor do many of the other people on here who don't believe in banning abortions.

    Oh, and by saying fetuses (which are different things than zygotes), you are yourself being tone deaf to actual meaning, or perhaps dishonestly claiming that people are saying something different than what they are actually saying. Your choice of the emotionally-laden, inaccurate, and ultimately dishonest terms "pro-choice" and "pro-life" is also noteworthy.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    The nature of this debate is that any terms applied to either groups will rapidly become "emotionally-laden, inaccurate, and ultimately dishonest". Pro-Life and Pro-Choice are, at least, broadly understood.

  • BillEverman||

    I generally find it polite, and often more effective to use the terms that people self-select, which are usually "pro-choice" and "pro-life". Given that many pro-choicers don't recognize choices such as prostitution or illegal drug use, and many pro-lifers are also pro-death penalty, the terms aren't that accurate, but they are in standard use. "Pro-abortion" and "anti-abortion" might be somewhat more accurate but slightly more offensive. "Anti-choice" and "anti-life" are just name-calling.

  • ||

    Thanks for that correction, CMW. Good point. But the anti-abortion people uniformly conflate those terms.

  • Zunalter||

    "But the anti-abortion people uniformly conflate those terms."

    Perhaps because they consider them synonymous. Also, the philosophical implications of not making them synonymous in non-abortion contexts.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Who gets to decide how that legal concept applies and under what stsndard? What other classification of human's personhood is open for debate?

  • DJ1706||

    "Of course a fetus is human life. But is it a person? One is a biological concept, the other is a legal concept."

    The problem is that one of those is actually science. The other is made up.

    And that other is made up to serve policy preferences and to ignore the science. In other words, it's forming the definition to fit the policy.

    Whereas the opposite argument is actually using the scientific reality -- that it's human life -- to form the policy.

  • JoeB||

    Are you sure? Think how science cuts through the BS debate about gender. If you're XY, your male, XX you're female. Other variations (XO, XYY, etc.) can enjoy whatever status they choose.

  • Hank Phillips||

    My fingernail clippings are human. The 14th Amendment says "All persons born..." It is a collectivist tactic to refer to human rather than individual rights, so that, as in Germany some years back, the numerous had rights and the outnumbered persons born had none.

  • DJ1706||

    Actually, Tonio, when it comes to anti-abortion people, one CAN be sure what they mean when they say that life begins at conception. There's only one thing it can mean -- that a human person is created at conception.

    It's actually the pro-abortion crowd who parses the term, and as such you can't be sure exactly what THEY mean.

    One need not take either side to acknowledge that much.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Bacteria are alive too, but nobody balks at killing them.

    - a few million Jains

  • Jordan||

    The Nazis trolled those guys hard when they adopted the swastika.

  • Trshmnstr doesn't recycle||

    The phrase "life begins at conception" is well known and regularly used. Only the most pedantic and butt-hurt have issue with such phrasing.

  • some guy||

    It's about being precise with your terminology. Precision is important to facilitating understanding when discussing complicated topics.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Precision is important to facilitating understanding when discussing complicated topics.

    This is true, but there is no need to turn into a hyper-autistic mentat when debating philosophy on an internet comment forum. Assuming that we're all native speakers of English, we have enough familiarity with the language to understand the meanings and connotations of common idioms.

    Again, jus' sayin'

  • Zunalter||

    Oh yea, you're an idiom!!

  • Inigo "Chip" DuBois||

    Haha, you could say the same thing about "climate change." Anyone with even a passing knowledge of earth science is well aware that the climate has always been changing, with or without any contribution whatsoever from humans. In fact, by far the most dramatic changes in climate occurred long before humans existed. Talk about imprecise terminology!

  • ||

    Thanks for sharing, Trashy.

  • DJ1706||

    Claiming that there's a distinction between saying "life" and "human life" in this context is pretty disingenuous.

    If it's life, there's no other kind of life it could be.

    It's not a carrot. It's not a gazelle. It's not an organ of the mother's body.

  • SugarFree||

    It also elides the conversation about when personhood attaches, which is the whole point of using such a weaseling phrase in the first place.

    If you think a zygote is a person with full legal rights, say so. And suffer the consequences of that decision.

  • DJ1706||

    Actually, the exact opposite is true.

    "Personhood" is a concept meant to elide the question of humanity.

  • SugarFree||

    And therefore bringing the full force of the state down on a women for the sake of a two-week old clump of cells is perfectly reasonable.

    And have fun proving your early miscarriage wasn't negligent homicide.

  • DJ1706||

    How does that speak to what I said? You're changing the subject.

  • SugarFree||

    No, you are relying on a rhetorical crutch that I discarded and you refused to make a counter-argument against.

    "Life" means nothing. Unless you are a radical vegan Jain, you take life everyday in order to keep yourself living.

    Around 60% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage before four weeks. All are those "persons who have died or been murdered through negligence"? Should the police follow up on every late period to make sure that an abortion doesn't occur?

    If you don't, then shut up about every zygote being a person.

  • DJ1706||

    That still doesn't speak to what I said.

    If life begins at conception, then it's human life.

    You say that doesn't matter; what matters is "personhood."

    But personhood is a made-up construct. Human life is not.

    The made-up construct exists entirely to determine whether or not it's OK to terminate the life.

    Accepting that it's human life answers that question. Humans are humans.

    Bringing the further, unnecessary concept of "personhood" into it serves only to deflect from the humanity of the life.

    As for the policy question of whether police should investigate, that's exactly that -- a policy question.

    Whether or not something is human life isn't dependent on preferred policy. It is what it is regardless of what policy someone prefers.

    Which is something "personhood" is great for getting around, for creating definitions to serve policy, rather than forming policy around what actually is.

  • Trshmnstr doesn't recycle||

    Around 60% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage before four weeks. All are those "persons who have died or been murdered through negligence"? Should the police follow up on every late period to make sure that an abortion doesn't occur?

    Do police investigate every death at an old folks home? No, and I highly doubt their natural death rate is 60% every 4 weeks.

  • Marshall Gill||

    If you don't, then shut up about every zygote being a person.

    For someone who bitches about everyone else getting emotional on this subject, it only takes a post or two and you are there. Now scream at me for something, something.

  • Hendu Manchu||

    Someone isn't acknowledging who has the burden of proof.

  • DJ1706||

    Which "someone" is that?

  • Hendu Manchu||

    "And have fun proving your early miscarriage wasn't negligent homicide."

    ^^ that guy

  • SugarFree||

    Because being investigated by the police is no big deal, right? Because there are no kook-ball prosecutor's, right?

  • DJ1706||

    Who still have the burden of proof, even if they're "kook-ball."

  • SugarFree||

  • DJ1706||

    I see hasty generalizations.

    Plus, your argument is basically: the life-begins-at-conception arguments are invalid because the prosecution might violate several areas of the Bill of Rights.

  • Trshmnstr doesn't recycle||

    Because being investigated by the police is no big deal, right? Because there are no kook-ball prosecutor's, right?

    You're right. Because of kook-ball prosecutors and the burden of police investigations, I think we should get rid of homicide investigation as a whole. People die of natural causes all the time, and we don't need some kook-ball prosecutor meddling in their shit.

  • SugarFree||

    Because of kook-ball prosecutors and the burden of police investigations, I think we should get rid of homicide investigation as a whole.

    Man, you beat that strawman up good. Because that's like totally what I said.

  • ||

    And have fun proving your early miscarriage wasn't negligent homicide.

    That, right there. Can you imagine Fetal Lord Protector Santorum?

  • Marshall Gill||

    Sure, because every single death in the US is investigated as a homicide.

    Do you even read the shit you post?

  • DJ1706||

    And it's not like there wasn't a century of abortion being illegal from which one can draw actual experience.

    Was every miscarriage investigated as a potential negligent homicide?

    Were any? Any at all?

    It's up to SugarFree and Tonio to demonstrate that it was even the slightest issue, even in states where there were no exceptions to the abortion laws.

  • DJ1706||

    The burden of proof is always on the state.

  • Zunalter||

    Hey, don't be an asshole...

    That's "Right Honorable Fetal Lord Protector Santorum"

  • Bodica Slayer of Woodchip||

    Oh, pleeze - you want to go there? Fine.

    If two weeks is a clump of cells, 24 weeks are just a bigger clump. So - bring on the hammer and chisel

  • thinkmore||

    actually the burden of proof would rely on the state. As a matter of course the state would avoid attempting to prosecute anything for the first several weeks simply becuase they realize it is impossible to win.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Claiming that there's a distinction between saying "life" and "human life" in this context is pretty disingenuous.

    Irrelevant.

    Is it a person with rights?

  • DJ1706||

    It's only "irrelevant" if you seek to cast humanity aside and come up with a different concept as to which human life is worthy of protection.

  • Jordan||

    Personhood and life are entirely different concepts.

  • DJ1706||

    Yes, "personhood" is an artifical construct meant for classifying who is worthy of protection.

    "Life" is not.

  • DJ1706||

    The point should be pretty obvious: the definition of "life" isn't created by man.

    "Personhood" is a concept created by man in order to dismiss the definition of "life" to serve a policy purpose.

  • ||

    Didn't take long for the butt-hurt and goalpost shifting to start.

  • DJ1706||

    I'd say the creation of "personhood" as a concept specifically to justify terminating a life is the ultimate goalpost shift, and as butt-hurt, well, it's pretty much that -- the definition of "life" doesn't serve the purpose, and we can't have that, so "personhood" is created to assuage feelings.

  • Marshall Gill||

    This is how Tonio "debates". When he is reduced to no arguments, he claims his opponents butthurt. Sad really.

  • DJ1706||

    I know. He uses the term "butt-hurt," yet still claims it's others who prevent "adult" conversations about these things.

  • Holgar||

    It's a parasite embedded in an organ of the mother's body.

  • ScoobaSteve||

    Or a symbiont.

  • DJ1706||

    Actually, it's an organ of the mother's body working exactly as it's supposed to, as well as the systems of the rest of the mother's body doing exactly what they're supposed to do. It's programmed genetics.

  • ||

    I'm not the one who used the imprecise term, DJ. Take it up with the author.

  • DJ1706||

    She didn't. As Marshal says below, trying to pretend she did is indeed pedantry, though I'd call it "petulant" more than I'd call it "boring."

    You've been seeking throughout these comments to simply dismiss an entire line of argument as illegitimate, while at the same time claiming that those who offer that argument are the "absolutists" who shut down "adult" conversation.

  • Marshal||

    Boring pedantry. If this is what you call profound dishonesty your scale is broken.

  • SimonJester||

    +1

  • Illocust||

    Bravo, we've been needing this article for a while. It's not enough for the commenters to point out that libertarian philosophy alone doesn't answer the abortion debate. Having a article writer point it out so clearly shifts the entire debate to the real subject. When does a human gain human rights, and my answer is fuck if I know.

  • QueerLib||

    You gain rights the moment another person's physical body isn't required to sustain yours. Simple.

  • DJ1706||

    How does a newborn survive if not through the effort of someone's physical body?

  • QueerLib||

    How does a poor person who needs medical care survive if not through the effort of public health care funded by taxation on your assets?

    Ooops. You sorta effed yourself there.

  • Atma||

    Oops. You proved his point.

  • Illocust||

    I had a spinal surgery when I was eleven. A dozen odd people where required to keep me alive until the surgery was done. My human rights didn't suddenly disappear.
    There where many times in my infanthood that if my mother had set me down and walked away I would have died before being found. My human rights weren't in question.
    Human rights aren't dependent on an ability to survive without the aid of others.

  • ||

    Human rights aren't dependent on an ability to survive without the aid of others.

    Um, OK, sure, but I don't see how that's relevant. So are you asserting that the state has a duty to provide medical care?

  • Illocust||

    QueerLib thinks you don't gain human rights until you can survive without the aid of others. I was pointing out how that's obviously not true.

  • Carston||

    This. If "personhood" doesn't happen until your self sufficient, there are plenty of adults in this world would could legally abort...

  • Restor-woodchipper-as||

    Human rights aren't dependent on an ability to survive without the aid of others

    Unless those rights get in the way of....something. Career? A fulfilled life? Or...just taking responsibility for your actions.

  • ||

    Or...just taking responsibility for your actions.

    Which is very much what you're doing. You just don't like the choices they are making, presumably because you believe the rights of a human are being violated. Others don't see it that way, Resty.

  • Restor-woodchipper-as||

    I don't see it that way. In my view, if you have sex there is a chance you can become pregnant. So, if you choose to have sex you also choose to accept that you may become pregnant and are responsible for the human life thus created. If you don't want that responsibility then take the necessary precautions to prevent pregnancy. To take responsibility after the fact doesn't mean toss it out with the rest of the trash.

    However, that rests on the view that human life begins at conception and the natural rights of that life are fully endowed. If you don't believe that life begins at conception then it really doesn't matter when you terminate the pregnancy.

  • ||

    Again, the difference between life and personhood.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Tonio; I seriously doubt that you are a person.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Ok, what is you definition of personhood that excludes the unborn from conception to birth without excluding any othet type of human that is considered a person.

  • Just say Nikki||

    If you don't want that responsibility then take the necessary precautions to prevent pregnancy.

    So does this mean people who don't want to procreate are required to be celibate? Or would some form of contraception be sufficient "precaution"?

  • Mickey Rat||

    If zero risk is the only acceptable outcome, then yes.

    Do you know of another way to be absolutely certain of not procreating?

    Abortion does not count, procreation has already occurred.

  • Restor-woodchipper-as||

    So does this mean people who don't want to procreate are required to be celibate?

    Obviously it does not. You can suck and butt-fuck to your hearts content.

    Or would some form of contraception be sufficient "precaution"?

    I suppose any and all are generally sufficient though I don't believe anything is 100%.

  • Vernon Depner||

    But isn't Donald Trump proof that pregnancy can result from butt-fucking?

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    "So does this mean people who don't want to procreate are required to be celibate?"

    Let me ask a question in return;

    What is it about procreative sex, as opposed to masturbation, that is so goddamned wonderful that people who consider abortion to be infanticide will react to your question by saying "Well, of course, if the alternative is celibacy, then by all means, on with the child murder!"?

    Mind you, I'm pro-abortion. But some of the arguments made by my own side strike me as odd, not to say brain damaged.

  • QueerLib||

    You entered into a voluntary contract with those "dozen odd people," in which consideration was duly paid by you (and your agents at the insurance company) in exchange for medical care.

    That created the requirement that they had to provide you with care.

    No contract is signed between a zygote and a woman stating that she is required to allow it to embed itself in her uterus in exchange for some other form of consideration.

  • wareagle||

    and as we keep seeing with younger and younger preemies surviving, that is also a moving target.

  • Restor-woodchipper-as||

    And once science gets to the point where humans can be grown outside the womb, totally irrelevant.

  • ||

    Remember that the anti-abortion people consider the embryos (which are clusters of a few cells at that point) created by in-vitro fertilization to be humans. Some of those people even "adopt" these embryos and have them implanted and carry them to term.

  • ||

    For precision, that should read "frozen embryos..." The freezing doesn't affect the humanity (or lack thereof), but the fact that the IVF-created embryos are frozen at a specific developmental stage whereat they only consist of a few cells per embryo.

  • Bodica Slayer of Woodchip||

    Isn't the real debate among libertarian circles is "who decides"? Even some pro-life libertarians pause at having government involved. And prefer persuasion, rather than coercion.

    Me - I'm sorta thinking John Brown was right.

  • epsilon given||

    I'm pro-life, and would even be vaguely in favor of laws that protect the unborn from aggression. If we're going to have a State, and that State has laws against murder, then sure, why not?

    Having said that, I'm also anarcho-capitalist, which means that I can't *technically* be for laws against abortion, because I advocate the repeal of laws against premeditated murder, and let the chips fall where they may...

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    You gain rights the moment another person's physical body isn't required to sustain yours. Simple.

    So, 2-3 years?

  • Carston||

    ... or somewhere between 3-18, or until 26. Yeah the goal post keeps moving. Like I said above, if self sufficiency is the question, there are plenty of full grown adults in this world whose mom could legally kill them...

  • QueerLib||

    No, approximately 10 months or so. No other person's physical body is required to sustain someone past that point -- rather, physical LABOR.

    Conflating the two is the sort of nonsense that one expects of conservatism.

  • Carston||

    Isn't a physical body required for physical labor?

  • BillEverman||

    Funny, I thought drawing the line between the two was kinda arbitrary.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    So, some people should never gain rights. The mentally challanged. The permenantly work-shy. Politicians.

  • QueerLib||

    How many mentally challenged, work-shy or politicians have a physical requirement of being embedded inside the body of another human being?

  • jacob||

    100% of 'em

    If they hadn't, they would've never been born

  • jacob||

    100% of 'em

    If they hadn't, they would've never been born

  • QueerLib||

    At which point, the existing human being loses her right to determine her own body's health and well being, and becomes subject exclusively to the whims of state agents "acting on behalf of the fetus which now has rights?"

    Yeah, that's libertarian alright.

  • robc||

    I think libertarian philosophy does answer it, just not in a satisfying way. Until some point, it is birth control. After said point, it is murder (subject to legitimate exceptions, of course).

    What libertarian philosophy cannot answer is where the line is. Somewhere between conception and algebra.

  • Restor-woodchipper-as||

    Well said, robc.

  • RBS||

    But damnit, we are going to take 500+ comments to argue about.

  • robc||

    I think the line is very early on, that should keep the comments coming.

  • Je suis Woodchipper||

    I knew the answer was pi-something.

  • dan'o en barrel||

    The answer is 42

  • some guy||

    The unborn are human beings. Unborn human beings are persons

    There's a jump I'm not willing to make. Personhood is attained somewhere in the second trimester. We can argue about where, but there's no way you'll convince me that a 2-celled zygote is a person any more than you'll convince me that every single sperm is a person.

  • Jordan||

    That's pretty much my stance too.

  • sarcasmic||

    What about Tony? Is he a person? Would it be OK to abort him?

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    Tony is sentient.

    PB on the other hand...

  • Jordan||

    He's sentient, but he's not a person. He's the personification of envy.

  • sarcasmic||

    That was my point. Are progressives who operate strictly on reactive emotions instead of rational thought actually people? Or are they mere animals that react to stimuli?

    If they're not people, then would it be OK to start performing some really, really late-term abortions?

  • robc||

    Do you think Tony can do algebra?

  • Tony's Math Teacher||

    No, he can't.

  • Don'tTreadOnMeChipper||

    +1 teacher's know

  • sarcasmic||

    Do you think Tony can do algebra?

    Considering that he feels taking less money from the rich equals giving money to the rich, and giving less money to the poor equals taking money from the poor, no, I highly doubt he can do algebra.

  • Zunalter||

    +1 Impeccible Logic.

  • Zunalter||

    +1 Impeccable spelling.

  • some guy||

    I may not agree with what he says, but I'll defend to the mild inconvenience is right to say it.

  • some guy||

    *his* right to say it.

  • ||

    Tony is a strong argument for retroactive abortion.

  • DesigNate||

    No, we just shouldn't feed him.

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    Every sperm is sacred
    Every sperm is great
    If a sperm is wasted
    God gets quite irate

  • ace_m82||

    Non Sequitur. Also, Juvenile (as should be expected from your name).

  • SimonJester||

    It is a quote from a grand old Monty Python song. Don't get too irate yourself. :-/

  • ace_m82||

    Fair enough.

  • SimonJester||

    It is a quote from a grand old Monty Python song. Don't get too irate yourself. :-/

  • ||

    Thanks you, some guy. While I'm personally unsure when actual personhood begins, I'm certain that zygotes are not persons. As always, it's the absolutists poisoning the well and preventing an adult discussion with their moment-of-conception nonsense. And I understand that from a polemical pov anything other than MOC is a slippery slope, but that's their problem, not ours.

  • some guy||

    Yeah, that's why I come down pro-choice. You can't draw a line somewhere that is just to everyone. If zygotes are persons then you can't allow abortion even in case of rape or threat to the mother's life. That isn't right. But then who decides how much threat to the mother's life is acceptable? There's no easy answer, so why not let the competent person with the most at stake decide?

  • ||

    That rape/incest exemption has always struck me as a fatal flaw in reasoning. IF it actually is a human how are its rights somehow trumped by the unfortunate circumstances of its conception? Fully acknowledging the horror of asking women to carry those pregnancies to term, but that's really not the issue here.

  • BillEverman||

    I think with regard to the question of the mother's life, intent would come into play. The need to end the pregnancy to save the mother does not mean that there is an intent to end the life of the fetus; in fact, in most cases there would be a preference that, were it possible to save the fetus as well, the pregnancy would be ended with the fetus surviving as well.

  • Zunalter||

    "so why not let the competent person with the most at stake decide?"

    The baby?

  • Restor-woodchipper-as||

    Well, until it can be scientifically proven when sentience begins it doesn't seem an unreasonable stance and is no more absolutist than life begins at birth.

  • ||

    When it begins to use language is a good delineator. And do note that language does not necessarily mean speech.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • ||

    Actually, yes I do heroic. But pre-conditioning for speech recognition is different than language production and language acquisition does seem to be hard-wired (imprecise term) into the human brain. While I'm not the linguist you are, I used to be a middlin' decent one before I took a phoneme in the knee. Remember that I'm also one of the few people on here who believes that smarter animals deserve some limited rights. I have no trouble with species-neutral definitions of what is or isn't sentient, and no problem with extending limited rights to certain organisms, again species-independent, based on the intelligence of the organism.

  • Zunalter||

    I only believe in the rights of intelligent animals if they are not tasty.

  • DJ1706||

    Wait, you try to handwave away a "heartbeat" as a milestone by saying that "earthworms" have heartbeats, and then you use as a delineator of "sentience" a standard -- non-verbal language -- that almost every animal life form possesses?

  • ||

    No, not waving it away at all. Acknowledging it and throwing the question back in the face of those who claim that heartbeat, qua heartbeat, is somehow significant.

    non-verbal language -- that almost every animal life form possesses

    Bzzzzzt. I think you're talking about signalling systems, such as the predator warning cries exhibited by some birds*. That is not language, even though it is often inaccurately described as such. But I would like to hear more about the signalling systems employed by common fauna such as earthworms and tardigrades.

    (*)Fun, OT, fact: some bird species have different warning cries for different types of predators ie, airborne predator vs terrestrial predator.

  • DJ1706||

    Then you're arguing that sentience is not achieved until actual language -- not signalling, actual language, as in, describing abstract concepts -- so you're saying that newborns and babies of a certain age are not sentient.

    That's pretty darn silly.

    Also silly: you thinking I need to describe "signalling" between "earthworms" and "tardigrades" when I didn't say all animal life employed it.

  • ||

    No, not presumptuous enough to define your needs at all. You're projecting.

    You wrote: non-verbal language -- that almost every animal life form possesses. Help me unpack that, DJ. Be as precise as possible. Use examples. When you say "life form" are you talking about species or individual organisms?

    Why the shock quotes? Are earthworms not a thing? Tardigrades not a thing? Signalling (actual technical term) not a thing?

  • DJ1706||

    I don't think very many people have too much of a problem understanding what "animal life form" means.

    It's an interesting way to argue -- to simply, continually, pretend you don't understand what the other person wrote.

    I suppose it's easier than actually responding to it.

  • ||

    The phrase I use is "organized neural activity." That's what distinguishes a human from a clump of cells with human DNA.

  • Restor-woodchipper-as||

    The criterion is not actually having sentience, but having developed the neural structures required for sentience

    So approximately when have those neural structures formed?

  • Overt||

    Why is "Having developed the neural structures" the litmus test? After all, at that point you are merely saying "the potential for sentience". But from that standpoint, even a 2 day old zygote has the "Potential for sentience". You have sentience. The day you had the "neural structures" you had the potential for self-actuating sentience. The day you were conceived you had the potential for self actuating sentience.

  • Restor-woodchipper-as||

    So, before the advent of spoken and written language there was no communication? That seems absurd.

    Language - spoken or written - is an advanced form of communication that replaced what came before it, or until it is learned.

  • ||

    First paragraph: No.

    But we don't have any really good, examples of proto-languages.

  • DJ1706||

    And by the way, it's not "heartbeat, qua heartbeat." It's about stages of human, not animal, development.

    Animals reach a point of viability, too. So throwing it back at you, why would THAT be a determinant of "personhood"?

  • Restor-woodchipper-as||

    When it begins to use language is a good delineator. And do note that language does not necessarily mean speech.

    Infants communicate by crying, including preemies, so I'm not sure that will work.

  • ||

    See above. Signalling is not language. Vocalization is not language. ASL is language.

  • Restor-woodchipper-as||

    It is communication. That is the point of language - to communicate.

  • ||

    Of course it's communication. Language is a super-fancy, special form of signalling. But not all signalling, or communication, is language. Really, people (like HM, although I don't know his exact specialty) actually study this stuff as an academic discipline. These aren't just random words I'm throwing out.

    Heroic Mulatto, could you help a fellow out, here?

  • ||

    Signalling is simple ideas - ie, the noise a bird makes to warn others that there's a predator around. Language has distinct components (nouns, verbs), grammar, and expresses complex ideas like past, present and future. Signalling doesn't have any of that.

  • Restor-woodchipper-as||

    Signalling is simple ideas

    Sure - mostly related to basic survival.

    Language has distinct components (nouns, verbs), grammar, and expresses complex ideas like past, present and future

    Absolutely - without it science, philosophy, etc would be impossible.

    Signalling doesn't have any of that

    That's true. But to me that suggests - if we are assuming that language is an indicator of sentience - that pre-language humans then weren't sentient? That the signalling they were engaged in for basic survival wasn't advanced enough to express complex, abstract ideas doesn't really seem to have a bearing on sentience, or lack thereof.

  • ||

    But to me that suggests - if we are assuming that language is an indicator of sentience - that pre-language humans then weren't sentient?

    OK, assuming you're talking like Australopithecenes here (because someone could spin "pre-language humans" as H. Sapiens fetuses): That's a good question and one to which I have no answer. We'd really need a time machine since (verbal) language leaves no clear archaeological evidence. Tool-making and written language leave evidence.

    Getting back to something I said earlier about gray areas: There was probably no "2001" moment, but a slow evolution of sentience and language with a long liminal period of proto-humans using proto-language. Again, I don't know and nobody can ever know without a time machine.

  • DenverJ||

    My favorite interpretation of human evolution says there was a 2001 moment: When Australopithecine, or one of our earlier ancestors, discovered how to control fire and cook meat. Without cooking, meat is impossible to digest ( ok you can break down the cell walls other ways, steak tartar, for instance).
    This opened up a way of acquiring large amounts of calories for our ancestors, allowing larger brains to evolve.

  • Restor-woodchipper-as||

    So, the ability to learn a language indicates sentience but the ability to communicate does not?

  • ||

    Not sure where you're going with that, Resty. Language is a superset of communication. Mere signalling (simple communication) is not in itself an indicator of sentience, but doesn't preclude it. Language is a clear indicator of sentience, but that doesn't preclude a sentient creature from using mere signalling when it chooses.

  • Restor-woodchipper-as||

    So then, language is proof of sentience, but lack of language is not proof on non-sentience.

  • ||

    "lack of language is not proof on non-sentience"

    Correct, but only in an immediate sense. If you observe an organism for a brief period and it doesn't use language that's inconclusive. If you observe an organism throughout its entire life and it never uses language that's pretty conclusive.

  • Restor-woodchipper-as||

    That's just categorically bad logic.

    I think it is safe to say that language was developed to communicate more effectively and efficiently than the means of communication that were used before it.

    In no way does that suggest or rule out that language does not have other purposes, but those purposes were discovered after the invention of language.

    Does that qualify as bad logic? What would the correct logic be?

  • ||

    ^This. If we knew how and when it developed it would answer a lot of questions.

  • Restor-woodchipper-as||

    Some linguists think language evolved from primate communication, while others think it evolved from primate cognition

    Or, perhaps, the two evolved together?

  • ||

    We'll never know, Resty, unless Warty takes us along on one of his time travel jaunts. But if we do decide that primates are sentience there's going to be a whole lotta butt-hurt from both the anti-abortion crowd (angered that somebody else gets a pony) and the "animals are the moral equivalent of lumps of clay" crowd.

    The rich irony here is that if the animal-rights people joined forces with the fetal rights people they might both achieve some of their goals.

  • Hi there!||

    If I had to guess at the distinction, it'd be that language is a specific form of signalling wherein signals are consciously chosen and organized, whereas the simple forms of signalling exhibited by the majority of animal life include no such conscious selection process. This is why language is limited to so-called higher life forms having sentience.

  • DJ1706||

    Why would the concept of life beginning at conception not be an "adult" conversation?

  • ||

    Do try to keep up, DJ.

  • DJ1706||

    That's not an answer; that's a dismissal.

    Which, ironically, is an absolutist and childish thing to do: "your argument is simply not allowed."

  • ||

    Again, you're projecting. Again, I'm not telling you what you can and can't say. But, yes, you were dismissed, because your arguments lack merit. It is my choice whether to continue to respond. It is your choice whether to continue to make those unmeritorious arguments.

  • DJ1706||

    You never answered why the concept of life beginning at conception isn't an "adult" conversation.

    The only thing you've said is that you don't agree with it.

    In other parts of the conversation, you've simply dismissed it by saying it's not important, that only "personhood" is important.

    I said that "personhood" is a concept created to relieve one of the responsibility of whether or not it's human life, and all that goes with human life. To wit: it doesn't matter if it's "human" if it's not a "person."

    You can come to different reasonable conclusions.

    But it's certainly an adult conversation.

    I'd say, though, that the one who resorts to such terms as "butt-hurt," or others who resort to "fuck you" and "shut up" might be the ones who aren't having the adult conversation.

    Also, saying the equivalent of "nuh-uh" isn't actually an adult response. Which is pretty much how you yourself have operated here.

    Note: I haven't even actually taken a side on the abortion question here. I've only discussed the arguments themselves.

  • Zunalter||

    To be fair, all of your arguments lean in one pretty easily detectable direction.

  • Bodica Slayer of Woodchip||

    Well, then why don't you open Sanger Fetal Parts Farm? Women get pregnant, you harvest the womb contents after 3 - 9 months, you sell - err Donate - the products of conception to StemExpress, and you rinse. Repeat.

    Think of all the diseases you can cure!!!

  • Mickey Rat||

    Zygote stage only lasta about 2 to 3 weeks, yet you are using that construction to justify thst abortion is not a violation of the child's rights up to birth. Yet you accuse others of being absolutists as if it was a bad thing.

    You seem terribly confused, or just making whatever argument you think will work.

  • Trshmnstr doesn't recycle||

    Personhood is attained somewhere in the second trimester.

    Are you sure?

    Pick your fancy:
    Heartbeat? 5 weeks
    Neural Development? 8 weeks
    Loses its tail? 8 weeks
    Significant Brain activity? 14 weeks (first week of second trimester)

    I'm not trying to be a dick, but there are a heck of a lot of developmental milestones in the first trimester that could be the start of personhood.

  • some guy||

    Lots of things have heartbeats, neural development and no tails, but are not persons. And yes, you could argue that a smart cow is more cognitive/aware than any 3-year old, but cows are also tasty and not human. I readily admit there are no hard lines anywhere.

  • bacon-magic||

    Babies are tasty too...- Fat Bastard

  • DJ1706||

    "Lots of things have heartbeats, neural development and no tails, but are not persons. And yes, you could argue that a smart cow is more cognitive/aware than any 3-year old, but cows are also tasty and not human. "

    None of those other things are ever human, nor are they ever "persons." That is about as specious as analogies get.

  • some guy||

    None of those other things are ever human, nor are they ever "persons."

    Begging the question already? Lot's of things could eventually be humans and persons, but never get there. (Sperm, unfertilized eggs, etc.) My argument is that even more things are human, but never become persons (zygotes that miscarry for example).

    We're having a debate here about whether a life form is a person. Comparing that life form to other, similar life forms is not specious, unless you've already assumed that all human lives are persons.

    In other words, if you believe a zygote is a person, then why don't you believe my dog is a person? Would you claim that no artificial or alien intelligence could be a person simply because they are not human?

  • DJ1706||

    No, only two things in existence can ever become human -- a human egg, and a human sperm. Nothing else ever will.

    A fertilized human egg will never develop into some other kind of creature, or a plant. Ever.

    And no non-human is ever a person. Nothing I've said anywhere requires to me believe anything but a human being is a person.

    Human development is exclusively human development. Nothing else is relevant. Not a single other thing.

  • Protagoronus||

    So a clone developed from a skin cell could never be considered a human?

    Intelligent aliens can't be considered a person? You have not moral compunctions about throwing them in cages willy-nilly or murdering them if they decide to visit our rock?

  • some guy||

    Intelligent aliens can't be considered a person? You have not moral compunctions about throwing them in cages willy-nilly or murdering them if they decide to visit our rock?

    And let's hope DJ isn't trying to develop an AI in his remote alpine compound.

  • DJ1706||

    AIs absolutely are not persons.

  • DJ1706||

    "So a clone developed from a skin cell could never be considered a human?"

    Let's actually have it happen and then we'll talk about it.

    "Intelligent aliens can't be considered a person? You have not moral compunctions about throwing them in cages willy-nilly or murdering them if they decide to visit our rock?"

    The question of "personhood" isn't moral, it's legal, and I have no problem not considering aliens "persons" under the law. Human law is created for humans.

    But many things aren't persons that I have lots of compunctions against throwing them in cages and killing them willy-nilly. Your question is silly.

  • some guy||

    No, only two things in existence can ever become human -- a human egg, and a human sperm. Nothing else ever will.

    Depends on how finely you're willing to divide your human. An egg alone can't become a human. A sperm alone can't become a person. An egg and sperm together can't even become a person. They need a lot of other stuff to be added at just the right times, under just the right conditions.

    A fertilized human egg will never develop into some other kind of creature, or a plant. Ever.

    What does this add to our conversation? Did I ever claim that could happen?

    And no non-human is ever a person. Nothing I've said anywhere requires to me believe anything but a human being is a person.
    So, in your mind all humans are persons and all persons are humans. QED. That's what we call question begging.

  • DJ1706||

    "So, in your mind all humans are persons and all persons are humans. QED. That's what we call question begging."

    No, that's you reaching unsupported conclusions. My saying "no non-human is ever a person" doesn't mean "all humans are persons."

    But all persons are, in fact, humans.

    "A fertilized human egg will never develop into some other kind of creature, or a plant. Ever.

    What does this add to our conversation? Did I ever claim that could happen?"

    You claimed that comparing human life to other life forms isn't specious. I'm telling you why it is. No other life form has any bearing at all on when in development a human being is a person.

    "An egg alone can't become a human. A sperm alone can't become a person. "

    I never said they could.

    "An egg and sperm together can't even become a person. They need a lot of other stuff to be added at just the right times, under just the right conditions."

    That is true only if you don't consider a fertilized egg a person.

  • wareagle||

    at some point, viability enters into the equation. If I remember right, the original Roe decision was for a window in the first trimester, not abortion on demand right up until birth. And as medical science keeps, advancing, the survival rate of premature babies becomes greater at younger ages. Sometimes, "I don't know" really is the right answer.

  • R C Dean||

    That's where I draw the line, personally.

  • ace_m82||

    "Personhood" is always a subjective term. That's why I don't use it. Why should you use a subjective term when an objective one exists?

    This whole debate hinges on the people making the points depending on confusing terms. Use objective terms and the debate is much easier.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I think you have to have that term because it becomes obvious that living human being DNA doesn't do all the moral work you need. A person who is in a permanent vegetative state is, objectively, a living human being, but when a loved one looks at them and says 'that's not my father right there' it makes sense to most people. The person is gone.

  • ace_m82||

    Human DNA isn't enough as a hand or a tumor has it and they have no rights. "Life", if you include brain death isn't enough either (as the body is "alive" but the brain is already gone).

    But, if the Human is not a part, an actual human with its own DNA and not brain dead, that is an objective starting point, no? Also, you can be alive even before you have a brain (jellyfish come to mind).

    Either way, "personhood" is subjective and making subjective laws is stupid. Hopefully that last point is beyond argument.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I'd say an embryo with no brain at all is in a remarkably similar position to a brain dead adult.

    There's really no way to make laws only on objective concepts. Think about 'reasonable' searches and seizures, or 'cruel and unusual' punishments' etc.

  • ace_m82||

    I'd say an embryo with no brain at all is in a remarkably similar position to a brain dead adult.

    To continue the "Monty Python" shtick, one of them is going to "get better". The other one is already dead.

    There's really no way to make laws only on objective concepts. Think about 'reasonable' searches and seizures, or 'cruel and unusual' punishments' etc.

    Not the greatest of examples for my point of view. "Reasonable" searches are meaningless if you already have evidence of a violation of NAP. Also, "cruel and unusual" punishments are meaningless if there is true repayment of the violation of NAP (to the victim/victim's representative). If the violation of NAP is cruel and unusual then the punishment may also be.

    An eye for an eye, a dollar for a dollar. The jury ought to give a sentence of "up to [an eye for an eye]". If the victim decides to extract it, then justice has been done. If the violator begs and pleads with the victim to just pay a certain amount of money, well, that's up to the victim.

    So yes, law based on objectivity is not only possible but is very much better than the alternative.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "one of them is going to "get better"

    When they get to that state then they have rights.

  • R C Dean||

    Well, a fetus is in that state pretty much from conception ("going to get better").

    But, if you mean, has already gotten better, then you're saying anyone who is incapacitated/badly disabled isn't a person, and can be dumped in a ditch, regardless of their prognosis.

  • ace_m82||

    Not logically consistent. A jellyfish is alive without a brain. A human can be alive without a brain for about 8 weeks before they start developing one.

    Would you say that a person in a coma doesn't have rights even if they were near certain they would get out of it in 8 weeks?

  • ace_m82||

    Speaking of logic, where do you see jellyfish in the constitution?

    Total Non Sequitur.

    On what basis do you reject the woman's equal, unalienable and/or God-given rights?

    You have no right to violate NAP. Murder violates NAP. Therefore, you have no right to murder. Modus Ponens

  • Trshmnstr doesn't recycle||

    I'd say an embryo with no brain at all is in a remarkably similar position to a brain dead adult.

    How many comatose/PVT adults do they pull the plug on when there is a very high chance of recovery in the next 9 months?

    I would argue that the reason pulling the plug is acceptable for PVT adults is because there 1) is no brain activity AND 2) is no hope of future brain activity.

    I'm not being snide, but I think you have to address the potentiality involved with an embryo that doesn't exist in a PVT adult.

  • R C Dean||

    One of the requirements for pulling the plug on someone is that they be "terminal" and/or irreversible.

    Meaning, no real prognosis for recovery.

  • DJ1706||

    Even if someone says "that's not my father right there," and everyone else empathizes . . .

    It doesn't suddenly become legal for you to pull out a knife and stab them through the heart.

    It doesn't become moral, either.

  • ||

    Heartbeat? Earthworms got those, multiple ones since they have multiple hearts.

    Neural development? Wow, that's imprecise. So anything with a neural tube or some specialized neural tissue is human.

    Way throw about imprecise, emotionally-laden terms; that's true to form for anti-abortion folks, Trashy.

  • DJ1706||

    So, you think the idea that life begins at conception is childish, yet you make an analogy to an "earthworm"?

    The question is exactly when in the stage of development a person develops. A human being is never, ever, an earthworm at any stage of development.

    Arguing that other things have heartbeats is entirely and utterly irrelevant to the continuum of human development.

  • Trshmnstr doesn't recycle||

    Way throw about imprecise, emotionally-laden terms; that's true to form for anti-abortion folks, Trashy.

    Try coming back and arguing in good faith and I'll respond in kind, Tonio. Until then, I'm just going to assume that murdering babies is your pony, and you're gonna throw a temper tantrum until you get your pony.

  • ||

    LOL.

  • Set Us Up The Chipper||

    IMO, 1st trimester abortions are ok, 3rd are not ok. The line is somewhere in the second.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Well, since in my experience, not every thirty-year-old college graduate is a person, you begin to see the scope of the connundrum, neh?

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    Myself, I am incredibly squeamish about abortion for the very reason it seems so close to murder, and if I were pregnant, I do not know what I would do, even at the risk of my own life. But laws against abortion are ill-defined and incapable of just enforcement. Until that fetus can survive on its own, any action in its favor works against the mother, and making exceptions for rape or incest only shows how inconsistent laws must be. After the fetus is viable outside the womb, the question is "at what cost" in both money and intrusion into the mother's self-control. If a transplant into an artificial womb, or premature birth and expensive care, costs more than saving any other life, why should the fetus be given priority over those other lives? At the very least, those who want to intervene for the fetus ought to step up to the plate and take that responsibility -- pay for the transplant, or birth and expensive care, and adopt the kid themselves.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    After the fetus is viable outside the womb, the question is "at what cost" in both money and intrusion into the mother's self-control

    How is that question any different for the mother of an infant?

  • R C Dean||

    This is a pretty binary issue.

    If/when the fetus is a person, the only possible justification for terminating the pregnancy is, essentially, self-defense: to save the life of the mother*. If the fetus isn't a person, then the mother needs no justification for terminating the pregnancy.

    There really is only one issue in the abortion debate, IMO. When does the fetus become a person? Its an inherently arbitrary line, I believe. I like viability, myself.

    *or (as happens in very rare cases) because the fetus has no prognosis for survival after birth.

  • Hi there!||

    Well, if self defense is a qualifier, then is it a valid claim for a pregnant mother? Pregnancy can be both physically and mentally traumatic, and is always a risk to the mother, however slight with modern medicine. Can a mother claim assault, say she felt endangered and therefore justified in the use of deadly force against an unborn, regardless of its lack of intent?

  • MJGreen - Docile Citizen||

    But what are your thoughts about gay wedding cakes?

  • DenverJ||

    They all want cake..

  • DenverJ||

    As an agnostic-leaning-towards-atheist who is nominally pro-choice, I get it. I am always dismayed by the refusal of some people to understand the pro-life libertarian perspective.
    Que Hihn anti Teathuglican rant.

  • ||

    Que - Spanish for "what".
    Cue - A big white billiard ball, a prompt to do something such as make an entrance.
    Queue - the braided pigtail stereotypically worn by chinese men, a line of people waiting for someting as in a bus or at a ticket window.

  • DenverJ||

    Thank you

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Que Hihn

    Stop that right now! NO!

  • SimonJester||

    Che Hihn?

  • Zunalter||

    Did you know that 91% of libertarians reject the L label because commentors on Reason say things that disagree with me?

    /Hihnderp

  • AFSlade||

    + 82% (or 88%, or whatever percentage he remembers at that moment)

  • QueerLib||

    One can be generally anti-abortion (as I am, I think it's distasteful) and yet not be a statist about it.

    I don't like abortion, but that doesn't mean I have a right to take a gun, hold it to a woman's head, seize control of her body using force, and demand she carry an unwanted pregnancy to term because I don't like abortion. That's statism personified, and no different than some progressive demanding that the same woman hand over half her paycheck at gunpoint to "save lives with government health care."

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    Well put. That's my feeling as well.

  • ||

    One can be generally anti-abortion (as I am, I think it's distasteful) and yet not be a statist about it.

    This, this, a thousand times this. But by defining zygotes and fetuses as human beings it does become a statist issue because humans have rights. Libertarians like neat categories, and eschew gray areas. This will be an ongoing problem.

  • Berserkerscientist||

    The issue doesn't hinge on zygotes being humans beings. Of course they are human beings.

    The issue hinges on whether we will allow the state to force a woman to provide blood to the zygote and act as a human incubator. If we allow the women to refuse, then unfortunately the zygote/fetus will die.

    Once we have the technology to do fetus transplants, this will be less of an issue. Anyone who doesn't want a woman to have an abortion is free to take the fetus into their own womb and finish gestation.

  • ace_m82||

    The issue hinges on whether we will allow the state to force a woman to provide blood to the zygote and act as a human incubator. If we allow the women to refuse, then unfortunately the zygote/fetus will die.

    That is a logically consistent point, granted. However, almost every abortion done actually does violence to the tiny human by stabbing it in the brain.

    Also, we can go on to whether or not you owe a human you created a chance at living, but that's another debate entirely.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    " almost every abortion done actually does violence to the tiny human by stabbing it in the brain."

    I think about a quarter of all abortions in the US are done via medication now.

  • ace_m82||

    OK, but does it remove nutrients from the tiny human or does it just kill them outright? Even by your definition, that's a violation of NAP.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    From what I understand they work by detaching the embryo from the uterine wall and then contracting the uterus causing the embryo to be expelled.

  • ace_m82||

    If so, then that is not a violation of NAP by your understanding of it. But, surgical abortion is.

    So, any calls for a ban on that?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I'm actually not sure that the medical procedure I just described wouldn't be a NAP violation if the embryo/fetus were a person. I'll have to think about it to be honest.

  • ace_m82||

    I was under the impression that your argument for abortion would all hinge on the woman simply refusing to be a "human incubator". If she kills it directly, that's a violation of NAP (right?). If she refused to feed it, that's not a violation of NAP. Your concern in that post wasn't "personhood".

    If I have misstated your POV, let me know. I don't want to be killing any strawmen here.

  • Set Us Up The Chipper||

    Chopping up a 3rd trimester baby is barbaric.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I think it depends. I've read of cases where there is something horribly wrong with a fetus in the 3rd trimester and it's aborted, and to be honest it struck me as merciful rather than barbaric.

  • Set Us Up The Chipper||

    Ok then chopping up a healthy 3rd trimester baby is barbaric.

  • ||

    Chopping up Bo is the opposite of barbaric.

  • Set Us Up The Chipper||

    Fire up the chippers!!

  • QueerLib||

    "healthy 3rd trimester baby"

    No such thing.

    Y'all keep trying to redefine words.

    A fertilized egg is now "a baby," and "a human with rights."

    Of course, a woman in the abortion statists' world is neither human nor has any rights. She is an incubator who is to be subject exclusively to the whims of state agents and have her body forcibly utilized for the benefit of another organism that the state has decided is a "person" based on arbitrary criteria.

    And, of course, if state agents can force people at gunpoint to "do what's right for another person" in the case of abortion, they can (and will) use the same logic for health care, welfare, etc.

    There's no question this is statism. The tortured logic to the contrary is the wishful ramblings of conservatarians who also thunder about how government-mandated wedding cakes are "violating free association rights," but who are silent as church mice over the thousands of lawsuits that force other businesses to serve Christians.

    You can't really be a libertarian without being consistent on the basics, like government not being able to initiate force to compel someone else to do something with their own body that they don't want to do. And that's what abortion regulations do, period.

  • ace_m82||

    NAP. You may not stab someone just because they happen to be inside of you.

    If you didn't want them inside you, you shouldn't have invented them there.

    If you didn't invent them there, then get your revenge on the jerk who put it there, not the innocent one.

  • BillEverman||

    It's easy if you ignore half the question. You can proclaim that a fetus isn't a baby, but where exactly is the bright line that divides "fetus who exists at the whim of the mother" from "person with a right to life"? Is it really the second its face hits the air? If so, what is the mechanism that changes the fetus to a baby at that moment? Does its soul fly in through its nostrils?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Libertarians like neat categories, and eschew gray areas.

    Says who?

    Seriously. Says who?

  • ||

    Every anti-abortion absolutist on here. Granted, I don't know who you consider libertarian.

    Every "animals are the moral equivalent of lumps of clay" psychopath on here. Again, don't know if you consider them libertarians.

  • Mickey Rat||

    The status quo on abortion is abortion rights absolutist and whose supporters insist that the subject is beyond debate. It is incredible projection to turn the actual situation around and claim that opponents are absolutists as if it was a slur against them.

  • QueerLib||

    Opponents ARE absolutist, and arbitrarily so.

    "Libertarian" abortion statists say "everyone has a right to sovereignty over their own body, EXCEPT when I don't agree with the decisions they make with their own bodies, in which case I wish to initiate state force against them."

    That belief is progressive and/or conservative, not libertarian.

  • ace_m82||

    NAP is the essence of libertarianism. If government should do one thing, it is ensure the punishment of murder.

    The only question that matters is "is this murder"? Any other question is obfuscation.

  • ace_m82||

    Thank you for proving that it is indeed obfuscation. You have no right to murder. If it is murder, then you have no right to do it.

    Now, who is "stalking" whom again?

  • BillEverman||

    Can I use my body to punch you in the face because of my sovereignty over my own body?

    I am not saying that this discussion is as cut-and-dried as that; I am saying that you are grossly oversimplifying it by claiming that your position is obviously correct when it is not.

  • Illocust||

    Murder is one of the few things that are the states purview. If you put a gun to a guys head and say you will shoot him in ten seconds the state is justified in stopping you with the use of force.

  • Irish ♥s ESB||

    I don't like abortion, but that doesn't mean I have a right to take a gun, hold it to a woman's head, seize control of her body using force, and demand she carry an unwanted pregnancy to term because I don't like abortion.

    Except that if you think abortion is murder (which at some point in the pregnancy it obviously has to become) then the woman has no right to commit homicide for her own convenience. By this logic, I could say it's okay to murder a child since I 'don't have a right to take a gun, hold it to a woman's head, and demand she take care of a kid until it's 18.'

    There is some point during a pregnancy where a fetus becomes a separate human life. The only issue is when that is and abortion should be outlawed after that point on the grounds that it becomes murder.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Would you outlaw behavior that is 'risky' to the fetus too?

  • wareagle||

    to an extent, that bridge has been crossed. From fetal alcohol syndrome to crack babies, there have been state sanctions against the mothers of those children.

  • ace_m82||

    You assume government is the answer to this. NAP can be defended without government.

  • Irish ♥s ESB||

    It depends. Would you make it illegal for me to leave a pile of cocaine next to my toddler and then leave the room?

    I think there are all sorts of potential problems with outlawing risky behaviors, particularly mission creep. Then you end up with idiots passing laws that send women to prison for driving too fast when they're 24 weeks pregnant or whatever.

    It's a tough issue for me since my instinct is that the state getting involved in determining what is too 'risky' leads to terrible consequences, but at the same time, there is something terrible and evil about a mother shooting heroin when she's in her late term pregnancy and having a baby severely developmentally disabled due to her own terrible decisions.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I agree it's a tough one. I think it presents another reason to be hesitant to push personhood back to conception, because then there could be justification for some strange, large scale intrusion into mothers (and prospective mothers) lives in the name of protecting their embryo's from things that could be risky behavior.

  • Trshmnstr doesn't recycle||

    I think it presents another reason to be hesitant to push personhood back to conception

    Personhood is personhood, it isn't something we can "push" or "move." Just because we don't have the information necessary to make an informed decision doesn't mean that application of the personhood label is arbitrary.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I think it's quite helpful to think about the real world and pragmatic consequences of what is beforehand just a purely abstract position. If the former take you to some weird, oppressive places it might suggest the latter is not quite right. Really accepting that one day old + embryo's are full human persons would radically change everyday life.

  • Trshmnstr doesn't recycle||

    Really accepting that one day old + embryo's are full human persons would radically change everyday life.

    How so? If you're going down SugarFree's "investigate every miscarriage" line of thinking, take a look at an old folks home. The cops don't get involved every time an old codger kicks the bucket. Same would be true of a miscarriage during the most risky time of the pregnancy.

  • ||

    Personhood is personhood, it isn't something we can "push" or "move."

    Adulthood is adulthood, it isn't something we can "push" or "move".

    Both statements are about the sorites paradox: how many grains of sand constitute "a heap of sand"?

    Just the same way as we solve the question of legal adulthood by arbitrarily setting a bright line (in most places and cases age of 18), the question of legal personhood can be resolved only by setting a bright line. For some, it is coterminous with life (i.e. the fertilized egg embedded in the wall of the uterus), for others, with live birth, or with the end of the 1st trimester or some other point in fetal development. But the raw tautology of "personhood is personhood" is useless.

  • QueerLib||

    "Just the same way as we solve the question of legal adulthood by arbitrarily setting a bright line"

    Even that is arbitrary -- for example, when passions are inflamed, a minor can be "tried as an adult" under a totally different legal system... and a large contingent of those "legal adults" cannot legally drink alcohol. And so on.

    Anti-abortion statists use the same emotional criteria. "It's a human at this time, because I feel like it," followed by "but well, we don't really need to enforce the law equally at all stages, because I feel it's different here."

    There's no consistent standard other than what the pro-statist would-be central planner of the definition of "human life" FEELS it should be. And the penalties, enforcement, etc. are completely arbitrary and capricious based on that "feeling," just as they are for the definition of a legal adult.

    It gets even more interesting when you see them weep crocodile tears about abortions "ending human life," while continuing to support policies that unquestionably end human lives -- drug wars, war wars, etc.

  • BillEverman||

    Correct, but it also applies the other way around; I would never approach a pro-choice woman who had suffered a miscarriage and say "sorry about your fetus, aren't you glad it wasn't a baby?" To some degree we consider a fetus to be a human baby or not depending on whether or not its mother wants it to be.

  • Berserkerscientist||

    When the fetus can survive outside the womb, then it is murder. While the fetus is dependent on the mother, it is just the unfortunate consequence of withdrawal of sustenance.

  • Restor-woodchipper-as||

    So, it's murder when it can't survive outside the womb with assistance from some other entity, but if that entity is the biological mother it isn't.

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    Abortion is murder only in the sense that refusing to adopt a kid is child endangerment, or refusing to fund airliner parachutes is murder, or refusing to mandate all sorts of expensive safety equipment in cars is murder.

    Everything has a cost, and forcing an expensive cost on others is forcing your choice of who to save on others. Those who think abortion is murder and would use state coercion to enforce it ought instead to pay for artificial womb research, pay for premature care, and adopt the born kids themselves. Until they do, they have no say in what any mother does with her own body.

    State coercion ultimately comes down to obedience or death. Are you willing to threaten a mother with death if she kills her fetus? Then you are the very murderer you claim she is.

  • Irish ♥s ESB||

    State coercion ultimately comes down to obedience or death. Are you willing to threaten a mother with death if she kills her fetus? Then you are the very murderer you claim she is.

    Are you willing to threaten a mother with death if she beats her child to death since 'everything has a cost' and 'forcing an expensive cost on others is forcing your choice of who to save on others?'

    Jesus, this line of argument is so easily refuted by just comparing it to a child that is already born. All the arguments about how you are 'forcing a cost' on the mother by requiring her to carry to term could equally apply to 'forcing a cost' on a parent by not letting them kill their children rather than pay for their room and board.

    Plus, I'm not even against early term abortion, I just think there is some point (which is nebulous and difficult to define) where it becomes a human life and therefore cannot justifiably be killed.

  • QueerLib||

    "Are you willing to threaten a mother with death if she beats her child to death"

    Again, conflation of a living, breathing human being with a fetus that is not breathing nor independently viable is a common logical fallacy.

    Using this arbitrary and capricious, emotional definition of when the state should get involved, 99% of all men should be sent to the Hague for crimes against humanity -- because they have murdered hundreds of millions of human beings over the course of a couple years' worth of ejaculations.

  • bluecanarybythelightswitch||

    Next time someone on a respirator dies I'll be sure to tell the next of kin, 'QueerLib said it wasn't breathing nor independently viable, so it's not that big a deal'.

  • Don'tTreadOnMeChipper||

    And discussions like this are EXACTLY why I come to Reason.

  • QueerLib||

    "There is some point during a pregnancy where a fetus becomes a separate human life."

    Correction: The moment a fetus becomes a sovereign human life is post-pregnancy.

    Prior to that, I find abortion icky, barbaric and wrong, but I find state agents forcing a woman to incubate a fetus at gunpoint to satisfy the arbitrary notion of ickiness far more icky. As does any other true libertarian.

  • BillEverman||

    Declaring it doesn't make it so. What makes this so difficult is that the definition of human life sits at the intersection of science, religion, philosophy, and even raw emotion. There is nothing about birth that magically imbues a fetus with human life.

  • R C Dean||

    that doesn't mean I have a right to take a gun, hold it to a woman's head, seize control of her body using force, and demand she carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.

    If/when the fetus is a person, then I think you do have a right to take a gun, etc., just as you have the right to hold a gun to the head of any person who is credibly threatening the life of another person.

    This is where, I think, the fact that the vast majority of pregnancies result from risks taken by the mother (other than rape) is relevant. She is responsible for being pregnant, so its not unreasonable to require her to carry out those responsibilities when doing so will not violate the rights of another person (being pregnant doesn't violate anyone else's rights, after all), and to prohibit her from refusing to carry out those responsibilities when failing to do so will violate the rights of another person.

    Conversely, when her refusal to carry out her responsibilities doesn't violate anyone else's rights, she should be free to do so.

    It all comes back to when the fetus becomes a person.

  • QueerLib||

    "She is responsible for being pregnant, so its not unreasonable to require her to carry out those responsibilities"

    This is another annoying thing about so many conservative "libertarian" abortion-banning statists.

    They rail and rant ceaselessly about state laws and regulations that mandate child support for biological fathers of children -- yet a woman is supposed to undergo a severely taxing physical experience for close to a year because "she is responsible" for being preggers. Daddy, on the other hand, should have no responsibility at all.

    Yet more inconsistency.

    If you're going to use pseudo-morality as a basis for bolstering state power, then both responsible parties should be held in equal levels of investment (and resulting suffering). Yet conservatarians want only the woman to be subject to it.

  • DesigNate||

    Of course, just about nobody here has actually argued for banning abortions, but you keep on keeping on.

  • BillEverman||

    So to be consistent, if we allow abortion, then the choice as to whether or not the child is born is solely the mother's, so the father should be excused from any responsibility for child support?

    I've actually NEVER seen anyone "rail and rant" about laws requiring child support here at Reason, except in those cases where paternity tests have proven that a man is NOT the biological parent of the child and yet he was forced to pay child support anyway.

  • sarcasmic||

    Abortion is bad, but prohibition is worse. That's my two cents.

  • some guy||

    I agree with this statement.

  • R C Dean||

    Too absolutist for me. This formula allows abortion right up until the cord is cut/the fetus takes its first breath.

  • QueerLib||

    "allows abortion" -- spoken like a true statist. Statists, after all, believe that everything should be banned unless explicitly permitted, which is the conservative and conservatarian position on women's biology -- but not anything else, because... well just because!

  • Galactic Chipper Cdr Lytton||

    Also, fried children.

  • Irish ♥s ESB||

    What do you call it when you're totally okay with early pregnancy abortion but think having abortions after 20 weeks is clearly homicide?

    Because I get smeared as a pro-life misogynist or a pro-choice baby killer depending on who I'm talking to and would like to have a word for baby killing woman haters like myself.

  • SugarFree||

    You think personhood attaches at viability. That is a fairly reasonable stance, therefore ensuring that you will be attacked by both sides.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    What do you call it when you're totally okay with early pregnancy abortion but think having abortions after 20 weeks is clearly homicide?

    Sharia.

    Seriously!

  • Irish ♥s ESB||

    On the issue of the life of the woman, Muslims universally agree that her life takes precedence over the life of the fetus. This is because the woman is considered the "original source of life", while the fetus is only "potential" life.[5] Muslim jurists agree that abortion is allowed based on the principle that "the greater evil [the woman's death] should be warded off by the lesser evil [abortion]." In these cases the physician is considered a better judge than the scholar.[6]

    Wow, Muslim views on abortion are actually incredibly reasonable.

  • some guy||

    Are you assuming no complications or developmental problems are discovered after the 20 week line? Because that does happen, though rarely.

  • R C Dean||

    Yeah, and when those complications negate the fetus's viability, its not viable and can be aborted.

  • some guy||

    Interesting stance. So it's okay to murder someone if you can prove they probably won't live more than a few months anyway? What do the odds of lethal complications have to be before the fetus is not viable?

  • Inigo "Chip" DuBois||

    Why can't a libertarian be both pro-life and pro-choice?

    I consider myself pro-choice because I have no desire to see abortion made illegal, except during late stage pregnancy. I do not however, want taxes to pay for it. There is already way too much spending on all sorts of stuff that should be paid for by private individuals.

    I consider myself pro-life because I don't like or approve of abortions. I would never counsel a female family member or friend to get one. Even performed early on, it's strikes me as a bad idea and form of violence that is completely avoidable with contraception, including RU484 (which I don't view as abortion).

    I also think the abortion issue is largely a distraction. It's unlikely even the most hard line conservative, pro-life candidate, if elected, would get Roe v Wade overturned. And yet, the left is always using scare tactics in elections screaming that, "Candidate X wants a War on Womyn!!" I'm frankly sick of this issue. Why can't there be a debate on out of control spending insead?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "It's unlikely even the most hard line conservative, pro-life candidate, if elected, would get Roe v Wade overturned."

    I think Alito, Scalia and Thomas would vote to overturn it tomorrow. So that's really just two picks away.

  • Inigo "Chip" DuBois||

    Okay, let's assume that's true. WHAT would happen if RvW was overturned? Back alleys and coat hangars for everyone? PLEASE.

    A few states would pass their own restrictive laws (I'd bet on states like Mississippi, Alabama, etc.) Many other states would rush to enshrine abortion rights in their own states. (CA, NY, all of the Northeast. Some states in between might pass a few restrictions without making every abortion illegal.

    Do you expect me to believe, in this day and age, even the poorest, dumbest woman has zero ability to take a road trip to a state where she would still be able to get an abortion? That's just B.S.

    Again, I don't care to see RvW overturned, but I don't believe for one minute it would be the apocalyptic disaster for all women that some would have us believe. This 2015, not 1950.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    You've got botched DYI abortions going on today.

  • Inigo "Chip" DuBois||

    So? What does that have to do with question at hand?

    I'm sure there are people who opt for DIY piercing, too. That does not mean there are too many laws against piercing parlors.

  • VillainousWoodchipper||

    Also, the states have no more right to limit the scope of individual choice than the feds.

  • QueerLib||

    Any libertarian can tell you what would happen once bans are legal again.

    Statists in conservative areas would declare the uterus to be state property, subject to licensing and regulation, as they've promised in their campaign materials.

    Abortion services, as well as various other things that anti-abortion statists don't like (such as the Plan B "morning after" pill) would be banned.

    And of course, as any libertarian worth his salt will tell you, a ban just means "new profit opportunity for the grey/black market."

    Banning abortions will stop abortions the way banning weed stopped people from smoking pot.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    If you want to ban late-stage abortions and cut off taxpayer funding for abortion, then as far as even mainstream pro-choicers are concerned, you are a prolife extremist.

    The status quo violates your principles - late-term abortions *are* legal, and taxpayer funding continues. Why *shouldn't* you deplore the status quo and work to end it?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Is there taxpayer funded abortion?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    I tell you what, tell Planned Parenthood their taxpayer assistance will be cut off unless they stop doing abortions.

    Then get back to me about whether there's taxpayer funded abortion, or whether water is wet, or other such ridiculous questions.

  • R C Dean||

    Is there taxpayer funded abortion?

    Is money fungible? If so, there are taxpayer funded abortions.

  • Berserkerscientist||

    It doesn't make any difference if "the entity developing in the womb counts as a human being." The critical factor is that "entity" is DEPENDENT on the mother to survive. If the mother wishes to stop providing blood to the entity, then the entity will die. Pro-choicers believe that is the mothers right. Pro-lifers believe that a person should be forced to be a human incubator, and forced to provide blood to another human. Unless you think it is okay to force people to donate kidneys or blood, you stance on this issue is inconsistent.

  • Irish ♥s ESB||

    Pro-choicers believe that is the mothers right. Pro-lifers believe that a person should be forced to be a human incubator, and forced to provide blood to another human

    A small child is also dependent upon the mother to survive. Therefore, if you're against murdering toddlers, it must mean that you think it's okay to force people to donate money and food.

    If the fetus is late stage enough that it can be classified as a human being, you are committing murder by terminating it. If the baby is not a human being, then it is the woman's right to do whatever she wants with her own body.

    The only important question is at what point it is a separate human life. That's the only topic we should be debating - everything else is irrelevant to the issue.

  • Berserkerscientist||

    No, a small child is not dependent on its mother to survive. Anyone can provide for a small child. But only the mother can provide for a fetus.

    And yes, I agree that if a fetus can safely be birthed, then it can likely be classified as autonomous and I have much more of an issue with abortion.

    This issue is when a fetus can survive without the mother. "Human life" doesn't enter into it, because of course a fetus is a human being.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I think his point is that what the mother of a fetus does for the fetus is qualitatively different than what the mother of a born child does for that child, the difference between directly providing blood and such versus providing Gerber baby food and diapers.

  • Lorenzo Valla||

    Just because a developing fetus/child (insert correct term if you please) requires the mother's/host's support for life does not mean requiring the mother to continue providing support somehow is inconsistent with freedom. Yes, it's a unique obligation, but it's part of nature and the only way to protect the freedom of fetus/child (if one agrees it is a fetus/child, etc.).

  • Berserkerscientist||

    Say you are the only person with a blood type to save someone. Should it be legal for the government to force you to donate blood?

  • Lorenzo Valla||

    that's a hypothetical situation that does not exist. what DOES exist is the reality of developing fetus/humans in females and whether or not the freedoms and rights of that 'thing' in development matter.

  • VillainousWoodchipper||

    Change blood type to a proper kidney type match. If you are the only one who can actually donate a kidney should the government be allowed to use force to ensure you do?

  • Lorenzo Valla||

    no

  • DesigNate||

    That depends. Did you cut out or damage the other person's kidney such that he needs yours?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Did he do anything that caused the person to need "saving"?

  • R C Dean||

    Ding, ding.

    The mother got herself pregnant by having sex.* She created the condition of dependency. Does that carry with it no responsibilities?

    *as always, leaving aside rape.

  • VillainousWoodchipper||

    So if the mother fully intended to have sex but get an abortion afterwards, can force be used to force get to carry the child, regardless of her never wanting it? Similarly, if the condom didn't work, she never intended to get pregnant.

  • Hi there!||

    Use of force is interesting, because if force is justified in saving the life of the fetus, then isn't like force justified from the mother on the claim the fetus is injurious to her well-being, caused fear for her life, and therefore the mother is justified in her election to use lethal force? I would also offer that it doesn't really matter in that case the intent or previous circumstance of the mother or the child; In the same way that an invited house-guest can become violent, so can a mother profess a change of heart, a fear for her life she came upon after careful reflection on the risks of pregnancy. Not saying this is valid reasoning, but it would offer, I think, some considerable obstacles to prosecuting a woman for electing abortion, if indeed the qualifier for lethal force is fear for one's life or threat of bodily harm.

  • VillainousWoodchipper||

    I'm not quite sure what happened when I wrote this.

  • DesigNate||

    To be fair, taking Plan B or getting an early term abortion IS taking responsibility. It's just not something that we particularly like.

    (I think Plan B is an excellent form of BC and should be sold OTC just like condoms.)

  • Hank Phillips||

    I thing Tha Lawerd and Allah ought to punish everyone for all pleasure forever. Come to think of it, banning sex with a death sentence would offer a final solution to this debate between God's lawyers and the Devil's advocates.

  • QueerLib||

    "Just because a developing fetus/child (insert correct term if you please) requires the mother's/host's support for life does not mean requiring the mother to continue providing support somehow is inconsistent with freedom. "

    And a progressive would use your logic to argue that just because a government health system requires the money of successful people to be stolen to pay for it does not mean that requiring successful people to continue providing money somehow is inconsistent with freedom.

    In both cases, conservatives and progressives are wrong.

  • wareagle||

    'dependent' is not a good word choice because children are dependent on others for their survival long after abortion ceases being an issue. The same can be said for the elderly, for retarded adults, and for the sick.

  • Berserkerscientist||

    Yes, but ANYONE can look after those people. Only the mother can provide for a fetus.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    This is why people make exceptions for rape and incest, because unless the mother has been forced, the fetus did not choose it's predicament.

  • Lorenzo Valla||

    from the fetus's perspective, how it came into being makes no difference. it seems rather silly to give it the rights of a human if it was conceived willingly but to deny those rights if it wasn't. put another way, either it's a human, or it's not.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Yes, that was worded incorrectly. You were saying "only a mother can provide for a fetus" which is correct. I was pointing out, that if her pregnancy was not coerced, then she bears some responsibility for the circumstances of the fetus. Quite unlike a person forced to give a total stranger blood.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    If a child needed a blood transfusion, would you support legally forcing the mother to give blood for it?

  • Lorenzo Valla||

    good question. i think the mother would have a moral and ethical imperative to provide it, but i wouldn't make it a legal requirement.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    What part of responsibility for circumstances do you not understand?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I would think a mother would be responsible for the circumstances there. But if it helps, let's change it so that the condition the child suffers from is one he inherited from the mother. Now, should we legally force her to give blood for the child's transfusion?

  • Trshmnstr doesn't recycle||

    culpability due to genetics =/= culpability due to the actions of the mother.

  • QueerLib||

    "culpability due to the actions of the mother"

    It takes someone with a Y chromosome to have a child too.

    Why so many conservatives argue that women are exclusively responsible for pregnancy, and that the system shouldn't require men to pay anything for their own kids, is mystifying.

    You'd think that a woman just needed to squeeze her eyes and tap her toes three times to get pregnant, with the level of absolute responsibility that statists demand that women have over a fetus in contrast to the absolute zero responsibility they want the sperm-donating male to have.

  • DesigNate||

    It might have something to do with the fact that the one with the "Y" chromosome can disappear into the night, leaving the mother to fend for herself.

    It ain't fair, but the choice (and the burden) obviously falls on the mother's shoulders.

  • BillEverman||

    How have I missed this supposed conservative campaign against child support laws? Can you show me where this is happening?

    I mean, I'm no conservative, and it sounds kind of stupid, so I could believe it's a thing, but I can't figure out why I've never heard of it.

  • ThomasD||

    No, but I'd have a problem if she impeded a transfusion with the specific intent of causing the child's demise.

  • bacon-magic||

    No one forced the mother(unless it was rape) to get a load shot into her vagina. That said, I lean pro choice because it is not my body, but still think it is not right. I am with several other commenters here that 2nd trimester seems to be the stopping point.

  • Lorenzo Valla||

    "From my perspective, the consistent libertarian position on abortion is contingent—it depends whether you believe the entity developing in the womb counts as a human being."

    I agree with that 100%, and for me it makes the entire abortion argument moot.

  • R C Dean||

    No, it just poses the right question.

    The answer to that question is not self-evident.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Excellent piece. Couldn't agree more.

    But one question...

    No doubt my Catholic faith has something to do with it

    Is there something in the Bible that says "a human fetus is a person at the moment of conception?" I don't quite get what religion has to do with abortion and why.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    There's the "Before you were formed you in the womb I knew you" in Psalms, but that's pretty weak.

  • ace_m82||

    Weak to you... The entirety of it would be:

    "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

    Also, Luke 1:44 "As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy."

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I've always thought those lines sound like someone speaking poetically more than literally, and as such pretty thin support for such a strong movement. The writers of the Bible knew how to plainly and precisely prohibit something when they wanted to.

  • ace_m82||

    The fist quote is from the Psalms so poetry would be expected. But, again, at the time seeing an unformed body being "knit together" would have been impossible for a human to see, so there is a definite amount of literalness to the poetry.

    The second quote is from Luke and there's no poetry in that quote.

    Also, the Bible already prohibited murder and child sacrifice. As far as I know, there were not pre-birth killings (done by mothers) in Israel BC. Though I think there are references to killing the unborn babies of pregnant women (killing both of them and opening the mother's belly to ensure the child is killed too). That was presented as a really bad thing. I'm not looking that one up right now.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    You don't think 'when I heard you coming my baby leaped with joy in the womb' could be poetical?

    "Though I think there are references to killing the unborn babies of pregnant women"

    If you want to be technical that's in Exodus, it says that if two people are fighting and they bump into a pregnant woman causing her to lose her child they have to pay a fine to the husband, a punishment quite different than the one assigned for murder.

  • ace_m82||

    You don't think 'when I heard you coming my baby leaped with joy in the womb' could be poetical?

    "Poetical" meaning it didn't actually happen? No, I don't think so. Why would she say that and how would she know that Mary was carrying the Messiah unless that happened?

    If you want to be technical that's in Exodus, it says that if two people are fighting and they bump into a pregnant woman causing her to lose her child they have to pay a fine to the husband, a punishment quite different than the one assigned for murder.

    Not the one I was thinking of, no. I was thinking more the books of Prophecy and the descriptions of the terrible things invading armies to to their victims.

    But that is a fascinating verse. Though you must admit that even then, there was a punishment. It wasn't treated as "heck, it was just a clump of cells so whatever". Also, there were different issues for purposeful killing (murder) and accidental. The accidental you'd have to run to the Levitical City before the brother of the victim caught you and killed you. Only then did you get your trial. If you were guilty, you died. If innocent, you lived there until the High Priest died.

    I just remembered how much random Old Testament factoids I know off the top of my head. Thank God for homeschooling.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I mean poetical in the sense of not being a description of an event to take literally. It's like when pregnant women today say 'hmm, the baby really likes BBQ potato chips!' or 'I think he's dancing in there!' If I came home to my pregnant wife and she said 'the baby just jumped when you pulled up, he's excited to see you!' I wouldn't take that too literally. It's a way of saying 'there was some movement down there.'

    Yes, there was a punishment there, but it wasn't the punishment for murder. I think even most pro-choice people support punishing someone who negligently causes a woman to miscarry without that implying there was a loss of a full human person involved.

  • ace_m82||

    If I came home to my pregnant wife and she said 'the baby just jumped when you pulled up, he's excited to see you!' I wouldn't take that too literally.

    Well, if that baby jumping up meant correctly understanding that the person who arrived happened to be carrying the Messiah, I would rethink that. There's a reason that's in Luke (proof that Jesus = Messiah).

    Yes, there was a punishment there, but it wasn't the punishment for murder.

    By your explanation, it was accidental.

    I think even most pro-choice people support punishing someone who negligently causes a woman to miscarry without that implying there was a loss of a full human person involved.

    Seems to be a logical inconsistency to me. If I purposely kill the tiny human, am I a murderer? That would even answer the "personhood" argument. Which leaves your argument that the women ought not be forced to be a "human incubator" which is still logically consistent, though I would say wrong (different and longer argument).

  • CatoTheChipper||

    It is an extremely weak argument, almost not an argument at all. First, God exists outside of time, and knows everything past, present, and future.

    The Hebrew word for "soul", which is the distinctive quality of humans in various religious traditions, is נָ֫פֶשׁ and this word is defined as "that which breathes, the breathing substance or being" (Brown-Driver-Brigg's first definition). In the creation story of the Abrahamic religions, God breathed life into man. The Greek word for "soul", ψυχή, also means "the vital breath, the breath of life".

    This is significant because breathing is something that a baby can only do after it is delivered.

    BTW, I don't buy the breath-life rationalization for legitimacy of abortion for Christians, but it is out there. However, it's rather stupid to cite a poetic verse about God's foreknowledge of somebody's formation in the womb as an argument against abortion.

  • Trshmnstr doesn't recycle||

    This is significant because breathing is something that a baby can only do after it is delivered.

    Fetuses "practice breathing" as early as 9 weeks.

    This whole argument ignores the concept of quickening (when the first movements were felt by the mother), which is used represent the initiation of life.

    1 Cor. 15:45 "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit." Quickening is more commonly translated as life-giving.

    In the understanding of the Jews at the time, quickening was when life was given to the fetus. Thus why it's used throughout the NT in describing the spiritual "rebirth."

    Point being that the "breath-life rationalization" is bullshit.

  • wareagle||

    Catholic dogma is what it is and the church has always been consistently pro-life, opposing both abortion and the death penalty. You are, of course, free to disagree with that but churches tend to look at conception almost as a miracle, and pregnancy is often called a 'blessing' which gives it some almost deified place.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    It's not just the Catlicks. Most Christians, if not all, push this.

  • wareagle||

    but the writer is a Catholic so that's the frame from which she approaches the subject. And I don't know that other Christians are anti-death penalty as the Catholics.

  • Trshmnstr doesn't recycle||

    There's a massive disconnect between the theologically studious Protestants and the rank-and-file. Theologically studious Protestants are nearly entirely anti-death penalty. The rank-and-file are not.

  • Win Bear||

    Yes, the Catholic church always has opposed abortion. It also has always opposed masturbation, but that didn't mean it wanted people thrown in jail for it (leave that to the Calvinists). Until the mid-19th century, the Catholic church considered early abortions to be sinful but not equivalent to the killing of a person.

    However, Catholicism has such a twisted view of morality and humanity, its ideology is so dominated by its lust for power and wealth, and its own history is so drenched with human blood, that it has no authority in moral questions.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    The Church has not been consistently against the death penalty. Both Augustine and Aquinas acknowledged the legitimacy of the death penalty. It's a relatively new position that first had pontifical support from John Paul II.

  • ThomasD||

    I would not use the term 'consistently' because it implies the positions are equivalent when they are not.

    Opposition to abortion and the death penalty are both related to the fundamental 'lower case c' definition of catholic, but they are by no means identical in the eyes of the Church

    Abortion is anathema. Participation in one earns you automatic excommunication - latae sententiae - at the very moment you commit the offense. It is that serious.

    The death penalty is merely something that is strongly discouraged. Use of lethal force in defense of others, or the lawful state, is defined by the Catechism, and it's extension in Just War theory as a grave responsibility. Participation in the lawful killing of another - be it via an execution, or in war - does not lead to excommunication. It is not even a mortal sin.

  • ThomasD||

    My reply was intended to be addressed to WarEagle.

  • SugarFree||

    "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."

    Jeremiah 1:5

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    So...no, then.?.?

  • SugarFree||

    No, not really. But given that the Bible is filled with metaphors that people take literally when the mood strikes them, I don't think that not wanting to have an abortion is unreasonable given those lines.

    Of course, it says nothing about making sure that no one else gets an abortion either, but isn't that always the thing?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    it says nothing about making sure that no one else gets an abortion either

    That's because Christianity is an outlier amongst the Abrahamic faiths with its prohibitions on abortion. Judaism, and, as I pointed out above, Islam both justify abortion under certain circumstances. Indeed, Jewish law demands it in the case that carrying to term would threaten a mother's life.

    This is to be contrasted to the Dharmic faiths, which have traditionally argued against the morality of abortion as it seems to violate the principle of ahimsa.

  • SugarFree||

    But I was really get at the idea of legally forcing a non-believing population to follow laws based on your religious beliefs, something Islam and Judaism has had no problem with historically.

    I don't care what believers believe, just that they don't force it on other people.

  • DesigNate||

    Of course that verse was pretty specific to one person, not necessarily all of humanity. Which is why it's stupid when my fellow Christians use it as the basis of their argument.

  • QueerLib||

    The Bible, being a bastardizing of the Talmud by medieval European monarchs who wrote the whole bits about Jesus and "divine right to rule," is best understood by Jewish law on this issue.

    In Jewish law, not only is a fetus not human, but a newborn baby is not human until seven days after birth, to give the various levels of soul time to settle and get acclimated in the newborn.

    A fetus has no rights at all -- in fact, Judaism views it as an empty vessel until seven days after birth.

  • Win Bear||

    More to the point, it's flatly incorrect to suggest that opposition to legal abortion is irreconcilable with the belief system that places a person in the libertarian camp.

    True, you can certainly delude yourself into believing that (1) an embryo is a person and (2) leeching off someone else's body for nine months isn't a violation of their body. It's stupid, but you can be stupid and libertarian.

    I don't think a civilization can long endure that does not have respect for all human life, born and not yet born

    Of course! Don't let facts get in the way of a good ideology! In reality, human empires historically have massively disrespected human life. The Christian church, Judaism, and Islam were built on war, mass murder, and genocide. The unprecedented non-violent nature of current Western societies is the only reason we can even debate such issues.

    And the belief that we should respect anything living that has human DNA is morally repugnant. It's repugnant because it elevates mere flesh to the level of a person, causes people to treat animated corpses as persons, and denies personhood to non-human sentient beings. What we should respect is sentient beings.

    So, go ahead and call yourself a "libertarian". Just don't be surprised if people tell you off in no uncertain terms.

  • Marshal||

    True, you can certainly delude yourself into believing that (1) an embryo is a person and (2) leeching off someone else's body for nine months isn't a violation of their body.

    1) So you believe an abortion a day before birth is fine? That the sole difference of being inside the body rather than outside is the defining characteristic?

    2) It is a violation of the mother's body, but a voluntary one (except in the tiny exception of rape) and in either case this violation is lesser than ending a life.

    If you're going to be so dogmatic think more about the issues.

  • Vernon Depner||

    As soon as a woman no longer wishes to be pregnant, it ceases to be voluntary.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Does it work that way in other context?

    If I enter into a contract, does the contract become invalid simply because I no longer wish to abide by the terms?

  • Ken Shultz||

    If I willingly signed and dated the contract, then I entered into the contract voluntarily.

  • Vernon Depner||

    When did the woman sign a contract with the fetus? What did the fetus do in consideration and performance of the contract?

  • Ken Shultz||

    This is like saying you're not responsible for the damage you cause in a car accident because you didn't intend to cause the accident.

    When you willingly engage in activity that may harm other people, you willingly accept the responsibility for the harm you may cause to other people.

    If and when a woman willingly engages in an act that may create a fetus, then she willingly accepts the ethical responsibility to that fetus.

    Just for the record, if and when a man willingly engages in an act that may create a fetus, then he willingly accepts the ethical responsibility for that fetus, too.

    Feminists need to check their privilege.

  • Vernon Depner||

    So, car accidents are people, too? You've lost me.

  • Ken Shultz||

    You willingly accept the ethical responsibility for the consequences of what you willingly do--even if those consequences were unintended.

    Just because you didn't mean to cause an accident and just because you don't have a contract with the driver of the car you hit--doesn't mean you aren't ethically responsible for the damage.

    You accept responsibility for the things you willingly do.

    Yes, you!

  • Trshmnstr doesn't recycle||

    *sticks fingers in ears*

    la la la, torts don't exist! la la la, injunctive relief doesn't exist!

  • Marshal||

    Or if you undertook an action with this known consequence. If you fire a loaded gun at someone's head can you claim it wasn't intentional because you only meant to pull the trigger but not for the bullet to hit them?

  • SugarFree||

    Or if you undertook an action with this known consequence. If you fire a loaded gun at someone's head can you claim it wasn't intentional because you only meant to pull the trigger but not for the bullet to hit them?

    So being pregnant is like going to prison for 9 months for negligent homicide?

  • Marshal||

    Being pregnant is a foreseeable consequence to a voluntary act. There is harm to the mother, but it is clearly less harm than killing a child who does not consent to their own death.

    I realize this argumentation is only operative to those who accept the child is a person deserving of consideration. But I will make two points on this matter:

    1. It is my opinion that a baby about to be born is fully deserving of protection. The difference between a baby the day before it is born and the day after seems more circumstantial than meaningful. Thus most abortion arguments are about the appropriate place to draw the line. Even people who draw it at the earliest position are not wrong merely of a different opinion, and thus are not violating any libertarian principle.

    2. My points are not to suggest libertarians become pro-life, I don't have a strong opinion either way about early abortions (in fact I think RVW would have been an admirable compromise were it only legislation). I merely want the libertarian abortion extremists to calm down and accept a wider variety of opinions. I think the best way to attract people to libertarianism is not to adopt one or the other extremist positions but rather to accept everyone of moderate tone and belief. This would appeal both to the great middle and to those who believe abortion has too great a place in our political life.

  • SugarFree||

    So being pregnant is like going to prison for 9 months for negligent homicide?

    Being pregnant is a foreseeable consequence to a voluntary act. There is harm to the mother, but it is clearly less harm than killing a child who does not consent to their own death.

    So, yes?

    See, I think that is a radical position. So using it to a appeal to the great middle might be a non-starter.

  • Marshal||

    It's politically radical to support a position that is effectively the current law in most if not all states?

    That's a strange definition of radical.

  • SugarFree||

    A total ban on abortion is the law in all 50 states?

  • Marshal||

    My arguments don't necessarily support a total ban on abortion. They negate the argument that virtually unlimited abortion follows from libertarian principle (because the baby is harming the mother and no other harms should be considered).

  • Don'tTreadOnMeChipper||

    Well said, thank you.

  • QueerLib||

    "Being pregnant is a foreseeable consequence to a voluntary act."

    A voluntary act by whom?

  • SugarFree||

    There's very rarely a contract when a woman gets pregnant. And if you want to suggest there's a unmentioned agreement, you a veering close to the "social contract" idea that virtually no libertarians support.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "There's very rarely a contract when a woman gets pregnant."

    Please see my post elsewhere about the important distinction between ethical and legal responsibilities.

    I was pointing out that we are ethically responsible for what we willingly do, and to the extent that women consent to an act that might create a fetus, they are ethically obligated for the consequences of what they willingly chose to do.

    I'm not talking about rape victims, here. They're a special category with no obligations to the fetus whatsoever--because they never consented and never willingly took the risk.

    Isn't that the exception that proves the rule?

    If rape victims are clearly not ethically obligated to carry a fetus to term--because they never consented to the risk--then why wouldn't that suggest that women who do willingly engage in activity that may create a fetus are ethically obligated for the consequences of activity in which they willingly engaged?

  • SugarFree||

    But the rape exception is usually something that must be argued for. Most of the personhood-at-conception people would be fine with banning in the case of rape (and why wouldn't they if they believe it is murder?), but have to back off because most other people understand the idea of forcing a woman to have the baby of their rapist is repugnant in the extreme.

    I think the consent / non-consent is an argument that happens more in our rarified circle.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "I think the consent / non-consent is an argument that happens more in our rarified circle."

    It's certainly central to every libertarian argument.

  • Trshmnstr doesn't recycle||

    And if you want to suggest there's a unmentioned agreement, you a veering close to the "social contract" idea that virtually no libertarians support.

    Bullshit. Oral contracts are entirely enforceable and have nothing to do with the "social contract."

  • wareagle||

    so apparently, you're dogmatic. Kermit Gosnell approves even if very few others do.

  • Marshal||

    The pregnancy is not the voluntary act, the sex is. So yes if she interrupts the sex it would no longer be an issue. But since in that case there is no pregnancy it's a moot point.

  • Restor-woodchipper-as||

    As soon as a woman no longer wishes to be pregnant, it ceases to be voluntary.

    Weapons-grade stupid.

  • R C Dean||

    As soon as a woman no longer wishes to be pregnant, it ceases to be voluntary.

    So I guess, as soon as a woman changes her mind about sex, it becomes rape?

  • Just say Nikki||

    If you don't stop fucking her, yes, it does.

  • Marshal||

    But you already stopped, months before the mind-change.

  • Vernon Depner||

    As soon as she communicates that to her partner, it becomes rape if he ignores her wishes and continues.

  • Win Bear||

    So you believe an abortion a day before birth is fine? That the sole difference of being inside the body rather than outside is the defining characteristic?

    (a) I said "embryo", not "fetus".

    (b) No abortion is "fine"; they are all a moral wrong to some degree.

    (c) What we're talking about is not whether such acts are "fine" but whether the state should have the power to throw people in jail simply for committing such an act.

    It is a violation of the mother's body, but a voluntary one

    It's not voluntary once the woman decides she doesn't want it anymore.

  • wareagle||

    now you're not only backtracking, you are arguing against points that no one here made. There is no call from people here for imprisoning a woman who has a late-term abortion, though I suspect most would find that repulsive.

    Sorry, when you say on multiple occasions that "once the woman decides she doesn't want it anymore" is the only justification necessary for abortion, that is rather unequivocal territory.

  • Win Bear||

    now you're not only backtracking, you are arguing against points that no one here made. There is no call from people here for imprisoning a woman who has a late-term abortion, though I suspect most would find that repulsive.

    You're dissembling. The term "pro-life" doesn't refer to "I find abortions morally wrong", it refers to the political position "I want to make abortions illegal".

    Personally, I do find abortions to be morally wrong and disgusting. But that doesn't make me "pro-life" because I believe the state has no business interfering in that decision.

    Sorry, when you say on multiple occasions that "once the woman decides she doesn't want it anymore" is the only justification necessary for abortion, that is rather unequivocal territory.

    I'm not justifying anything. You said that the violation of the mother's body is "voluntary", and I pointed out that you are wrong. I don't believe any human being needs to justify what they do with their own body.

  • Marshal||

    Personally, I do find abortions to be morally wrong and disgusting. But that doesn't make me "pro-life" because I believe the state has no business interfering in that decision.

    This is illogical. Why would it be morally wrong if an abortion were not harming someone?

  • Win Bear||

    This is illogical. Why would it be morally wrong if an abortion were not harming someone?

    It harms the mother spiritually, and it harms society by depriving it of a new member. It also inflicts harm on a non-sentient being (the embryo/fetus). None of those are, however, sufficient reason to punish the woman legally.

    In addition, the moral wrong of abortion may be balanced by the moral wrong of bringing a child into the world she can't care for. The balance between those two moral wrongs is something that should be up to the individual, not the state.

  • Lorenzo Valla||

    your stridency doesn't change the reality that there is no precise moment in time when something becomes a human being. different people and institutions disagree about when this moment occurs.

    but, if anyone concludes that the developing life is indeed human, and that this human requires the support of the mother for survival, then one cannot support complete freedoms for both persons simultaneously.

    then it becomes a matter of whose freedoms should get precedence.

  • Win Bear||

    when something becomes a human being. different people and institutions disagree about when this moment occurs.

    When something becomes a "human being" is irrelevant. The law doesn't (and shouldn't) protect "human beings", the law protects persons.

    then one cannot support complete freedoms for both persons simultaneously.

    The embryo or fetus already has the right of any other person: it can voluntarily leave (or make arrangements to leave) within a reasonable amount of time when asked to do so.

    You're postulating that an embryo or fetus has a positive right for support from the mother. If you take that view, how can you be a libertarian? Do you have a positive right to take my food if you would starve otherwise?

  • Lorenzo Valla||

    you haven't explained why denying the rights of fetus/person by killing it can be reconciled by a value system that promotes the freedoms and rights of persons.

  • Win Bear||

    (1) As I was saying: a fetus isn't a person, hence removing it doesn't violate libertarian principles.

    (2) If it were a person, the mother still has a right to remove it from her womb even if that kills it. That works the same way as in a free society, I have the right to refuse to feed you, clothe your, or house you even if my refusal causes your death.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    The embryo or fetus toddler already has the right of any other person: it can voluntarily leave (or make arrangements to leave) within a reasonable amount of time when asked to do so.

    You're postulating that an embryo or fetus toddler has a positive right for support from the mother. If you take that view, how can you be a libertarian? Do you have a positive right to take my food if you would starve otherwise?
  • Lorenzo Valla||

    How can you end the life of an innocent person while claiming to be a libertarian?

  • Vernon Depner||

    How can you force a woman to serve as a life support system for another person while claiming to be a libertarian?

  • ant1sthenes||

    She is, in all likelihood, a responsible party for them needing to be on life support.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Besides which, unless you're going to claim that it's slavery not to allow parents to let small children starve to death, you already accept that guardians are obliged to serve the interests of those they guard. Yes, with born children people can surrender those obligations and the corresponding rights. Once it's technically feasible for the unborn, the same rules can apply there too.

  • Lorenzo Valla||

    as i have said repeatedly, because there are 2 people at stake, both cannot have complete freedom. picking one necessarily undermines the other's rights and freedoms.

    my opinion is that since the woman's burden is less than the death of the person inside her, i will side with the burdening her.

    pretending that there is a choice that doesn't violate liberty is intellectually lazy, IMO. not saying you are doing that, but those who so stridently support the woman (in situations where it's acknowledged that the fetus is a person) while either failing to comment on the rights of the fetus or pretend that the fetus can act by free will, are IMO, morons.

  • ThomasD||

    We do it to people all the time. We call them "parents" or "legal guardians" and drag them into court when it appears they've failed to meet their legal obligations to their charge(s).

  • Win Bear||

    I suppose your point is that what I said could equally apply to toddlers?

    It does. Mothers can ask toddlers to leave at any time. We specifically have Safe Haven Laws in the US that make this as easy as dropping off a toddler at a designated location.

  • DKCMOM1||

    Abortion has always been with us and we should keep first trimester safe and legal. But Libertarians believe in informed people making informed decisions even if it is uncomfortable. Abortion DOES end a human life and it is just an argument about the details of when that matters. Women should be given an ultrasound prior to the abortion appointment so that she can make the decision she can live with.
    My own opinion is that late term abortion is straight up murder and torturous for the infant being aborted.

  • Ken Shultz||

    That there is a distinction between the question of what is ethical and the question of what is legal is an observation I think almost all libertarians share. Just because cheating on and lying to your spouse is unethical doesn't mean it should be criminal, and just because it shouldn't be criminal doesn't mean it's ethical.

    In that light, I think we should strive to be clear about what we mean when we say we're anti-abortion.

    I happen to think that elective abortion is unethical, but that doesn't mean I want the government deciding whether the mother's life or health is really in danger or that I want the government tracking pregnancies, prosecuting women for the crime of conspiracy to get an abortion, and holding such women in pregnancy prisons until their babies come to term.

    ...just like I don't want the government throwing people in prison for the unethical behavior of cheating on and lying to their spouses.

    My libertarian argument against abortion from the ethical perspective has to do with consent (surprise, surprise!). When we willingly engage in behavior that may have clearly connected if unintended consequences, we accept the responsibility for that behavior. If I willingly start my engine, willingly head down the street, and accidentally smash into someone else's property, by golly, I willingly accepted the responsibility for that damage when I willingly started my engine and willingly pulled into the street.

  • Ken Shultz||

    That doesn't mean I want the government making car crashes a criminal offense. I'm not convinced the government should start throwing people in prison for fender benders--even if the victim is perfectly innocent in every way. Making fender benders illegal and criminal would require much greater interference by the government in our daily lives than I'm willing to tolerate as a libertarian. Lying to your spouse is unethical, too, but who wants the government monitoring what we say to make sure that doesn't happen or prosecuting people at all for lying to their spouses?

    If I think abortion is wrong, does that make me pro-life?

    If I think it should be legal anyway, doesn't that make me pro-choice?

    I think I'll settle for being called a libertarian because I think that just something is unethical doesn't necessarily mean it should be illegal.

  • mfckr||

    I think I'll settle for being called a libertarian because I think that just something is unethical doesn't necessarily mean it should be illegal.

    I like that position.

  • Lorenzo Valla||

    as long as the fetus/baby isn't considered to a 'human being' yet, then I would agree. But, once that thing is accepted to be human, you must include the freedoms and rights of it in your discussion.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Freedom and rights are all questions of choice and consent--regardless of who is and isn't a person.

    Did the mother consent? What are the implications of that?

    If we can discuss the question of abortion without getting lost in chicken and egg irrelevancies, then we should do that.

  • Lorenzo Valla||

    i don't see how they are questions of choice and consent. i think tj put it well with the inalienable bit...

  • Ken Shultz||

    Every right is a choice.

    A right is the right to make a choice.

    The Second Amendment doesn't protect our legal right to indiscriminately shoot people. It protects our right to choose to own a gun.

    Just because you have the right to choose to own a gun doesn't mean you can't be held responsible for what you choose to do with your gun. If you choose to violate someone's rights with your gun, you can be held legally responsible for your choice. If you choose to use your speech to violate other people's rights through violent threats, fraud, perjury, etc., you can be held legally responsible for what you say, too.

    We also have an ethical responsibility for the things that we willingly choose to do, but we've already talked about how that impacts a pregnant woman's ethical responsibility to her fetus. I thought you didn't want to talk about that anymore because I supposedly didn't understand what you were saying.

  • Lorenzo Valla||

    Breathtakingly silly. Rights are not simply the right to make a choice.

    If I am injured by your shooter, my rights have been violated and the state will investigate and prosecute the crime without my consent. My rights in this scenario are automatic, and I never needed to consent to anything to enjoy them.

  • Win Bear||

    That there is a distinction between the question of what is ethical and the question of what is legal is an observation I think almost all libertarians share.

    Yes, but the term "pro-life" refers to a political movement intending to change the legality of abortion, not mere moral opposition to abortion.

    I think it's morally wrong for women to have abortions, at any stage. But that doesn't make me "pro-life".

    I also think it's morally wrong not to share food with a starving person. That doesn't mean I want the state to force me to share food. In fact, if you force people to do something, you take away their ability to make moral choices.

  • Ken Shultz||

    The other half is that just because you don't want the government interfering with a woman's choice to have an abortion doesn't necessarily mean that you disagree with the proposition that elective abortion is entirely unethical.

  • Win Bear||

    Isn't that what I was saying?

    But the "pro-life" position isn't about whether abortions are moral or not, it is about whether they should be restricted by law.

  • Brian Irving||

    Thanks for this article. I too am a pro-life Libertarian (and a Catholic). I think our stand on abortion is wishy-washy. We should defend life, period. I believe life is what Cardinal Bernadin described as a "seamless garment;" debating when it begins is meaningless, because it is eternal.

  • wareagle||

    Brian Irving,
    now there's a blast from the past. I'll have to contact you offline.

  • Je suis Woodchipper||

    Discrete lives are finite. There have been multiple extinction events in our planet's history. There will be many, many more. Some future extinction event may denude the planet of organic matter for millions of years.

  • commodious spittoon||

    In the long run, we're all dead.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    debating when it begins is meaningless, because it is eternal.

    Now there is a premise on which to build a logical case.

  • QueerLib||

    "debating when it begins is meaningless, because it is eternal"

    Ahhhh, and now we get to the premise of the illogic around much of the anti-abortion statist position: belief in superstition and insistence that government agents should use guns to force others to embrace and live according to the tenets of that superstition.

  • BillEverman||

    Here, I agree with you. However, it's also a tricky thing because many, if not most, peoples' beliefs about when human life begins is in some way informed by their religious beliefs. There is a fine line between acceptance that one's morals flow from their faith, and that one's morals will impact their political positions, and allowing someone to impose their religious beliefs on others.

  • ace_m82||

    I really am wondering where Hihn is. I would have thought he'd be all over this.

    He keeps losing the argument because he draws the line in a logically indefensible spot, but that would never keep him from trying.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Do I have to preemptively burn this thread down?

  • ace_m82||

    It's entertaining (to me, anyhow) to get him to a point where even he realizes that if he answers my question he will lose the argument. He just ignores the question's very existence.

    I wonder if cognitive dissonance actually hurts? I suppose we could ask him.

  • ace_m82||

    I suppose someone did get humiliated... if indeed he has the capacity for humiliation. I'm not sure he does.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I really am wondering where Hihn is.

    Hihn is West Coast. And old.

    He's still sleeping off last night's binge watching of Matlock.

  • Vernon Depner||

    If a fetus is fully a person, with rights equal to those of the mother, then why can't a woman who is pregnant against her wishes have the fetus arrested for rape?

  • Ken Shultz||

    1) The personhood of the fetus at the time of abortion isn't necessarily the center of the argument.

    2) If the mother willingly engaged in the activity that created the fetus, then the mother wasn't raped.

  • Vernon Depner||

    1) If that's what you think, then the question is not for you

    2) If the mother is pregnant against her will, and the fetus is legally a person, then the ongoing presence of the fetus in her body is a rape. How she got pregnant is irrelevant.

  • wareagle||

    the fetus did not cause the pregnancy. What the hell are you talking about? This is like the people who blame the gun.

  • Win Bear||

    the fetus did not cause the pregnancy

    Oh, but if you take the position that personhood begins at conception and that the soul is present from conception, then whether the fertilized egg implants or not is very much the choice of the new person you believe to exist.

    That is, it really removes all responsibility from the mother: the mother just created the opportunity for egg and sperm to meet each other, but the rest was up to the "new person".

  • Trshmnstr doesn't recycle||

    then whether the fertilized egg implants or not is very much the choice of the new person you believe to exist.

    Sure, and while you're at it, blame the baby for not being potty trained out of the womb. It's their choice to not get off their lazy ass and use the toilet!

  • Win Bear||

    There aren't many things fertilized eggs can do, but they do have control over whether to implant or not. And it is implantation, not fertilization, that determines whether a woman gets pregnant.

    If you take the ludicrous position that a fertilized egg is an ensouled human being, then why would you not assign moral responsibility for the pregnancy to that human being?

  • SugarFree||

    Isn't the fetus really more the bullet in that analogy?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    If someone pushes you and you touch a woman's boob are you guilty of sexual assault?

  • Vernon Depner||

    How can you push a person who does not yet exist?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    and the fetus is legally a person

    Follow your own argument ffs

  • Vernon Depner||

    No one else placed the fetus inside the woman's body. It grew there of its own volition.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    No, fetuses don't just magically "grow" of there own volition. And, you really can't get pregnant from a toilet seat

  • Trshmnstr doesn't recycle||

    It grew there of its own volition.

    BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA

    The scourge of randomly growing fetuses! That's a new one! I was walking down the street one day, and some mean little fetus started growing in my ass! I didn't do anything to provoke it, but it decided to grow in my ass!

  • Ken Shultz||

    "2) If the mother is pregnant against her will, and the fetus is legally a person, then the ongoing presence of the fetus in her body is a rape. How she got pregnant is irrelevant."

    You speak of this as if the state of pregnancy is somehow disconnected from the consequences of willingly engaging in sex.

    By your argument, maybe the virgin Mary had no ethical obligation to her fetus, but every other pregnant woman in history has engaged in sex--either willingly or unwillingly.

    Those who did so willingly were not raped by anyone.

  • Vernon Depner||

    You speak of this as if the state of pregnancy is somehow disconnected from the consequences of willingly engaging in sex.

    Correct. Engaging in sex does not constitute an agreement to carry any resulting fetus to term. A woman does not lose ownership of her body when she becomes pregnant.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "A woman does not lose ownership of her body when she becomes pregnant."

    Not being able to tell the difference between pregnancy and rape isn't your only problem.

    You also can't seem to differentiate between "legal" and "ethical".

    Do you or do you not understand that it is perfectly consistent for someone to think that elective abortion is unethical and also think that it should be legal?

    I never said women give up ownership of their body. I said they have an ethical obligation.

    Incidentally--even if this were a legal question--I'm not sure that just because I'm legally obligated to paint someone's house by contract, that means I've given up ownership of my body either.

    In addition to not being good at differentiating between legal and ethical, you also have a hard time differentiating between consensual and non-consensual. Again, we are responsible for what we willingly do. Even in the legal world, if I willingly signed a contract, the court isn't forcing me to do something against my will when I breach that contract. It's forcing me to live up to what I willingly consented to do.

  • Vernon Depner||

    You've completely missed the point of everything I've said. Have a nice day.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I think I understood everything you were saying.

    I don't think you've thought the ethical implications of abortion through from a libertarian perspective.

  • Trshmnstr doesn't recycle||

    Engaging in sex does not constitute an agreement to carry any resulting fetus to term.

    Bullshit. It's a fucking BIOLOGICAL agreement! There aren't many agreements that are laws of nature, but engaging in sex as an agreement to carry any resulting fetus is one of them.

  • Mickey Rat||

    He is developing into a lawyer, that form of life can never be considered a person.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Then you can charge the woman with kidnapping, as the child is there by the actions of the woman not by its own volition, cannot leave without being killed.

  • lap83||

    "If a fetus is fully a person, with rights equal to those of the mother, then why can't a woman who is pregnant against her wishes have the fetus arrested for rape?"

    this is the best thing I've ever seen in an abortion thread

  • Restor-woodchipper-as||

    Yeah, that has to be the most twisted piece of reasoning I've ever seen.

  • Banjos||

    Your definition of rape is nonsensical.

  • Vernon Depner||

    That's my point. Granting full personhood to embryos and fetuses, rather than recognizing that pregnancy is unique among human relationships, leads to absurd results.

  • lap83||

    Gosh, it's a good thing we're no longer subjected to the horrible time before Roe vs Wade when fetuses were constantly being accused of rape

  • Banjos||

    I mean, I don't understand your definition of rape. It makes no sense. Are you saying that being inside another human being against their consent is rape? Because that would mean stabbing someone is rape and performing emergency surgery on someone who is not conscious is rape.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Right. IT MAKES NO SENSE. THAT'S THE POINT.

  • Banjos||

    Well then, to answer your bizarre question. The fetus can't be arrested for rape because they are not raping the mother by any remote logical definition of rape. I still have no idea what your broader point was, so yeah...

  • lap83||

    I think their point was that we can't give personhood to fetuses because then we have to let crazy people get their fetuses arrested for crazy reasons, even though it's never happened anywhere that abortion wasn't allowed. It's dumb.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Apparently meta doesn't work here.

  • DesigNate||

    It's only rape if it's a male baby, duh.

  • commodious spittoon||

    Granting full personhood to embryos and fetuses, rather than recognizing that pregnancy is unique among human relationships, leads to absurd results

    Why would that not cut the other way? You (seem to) want to carve out an exception for fetuses, which isn't improbable or unreasonable, but why wouldn't lifers get a bite at that apple too? Something like "Fetuses and embryos present a unique relationship, and therefore precautions should be taken to prevent a woman from treating it like liposuction."

  • Vernon Depner||

    In this unique situation, what makes sense is to consider the relative values of the embryo or fetus and the mother, and the extent to which it makes sense to confer equal rights to both. Normally we would assert that a human being is a human being and we all have the same rights and the same worth. We need to recognize the reality that being in utero is unlike any other human situation or relationship, and any rules of laws we make regarding it need to be unique to that situation. Simply declaring a fetus is a person, and assuming that any inconvenience or violation of rights suffered by the mother by being compelled to carry it to term are unimportant compared to the survival of that "person", fails to recognize that reality. Pregnancy is genuinely a situation in which some folks are more equal than others. I have no problem asserting that a woman is more important than an embryo.

  • Trshmnstr doesn't recycle||

    In this unique situation, what makes sense is to consider the relative values of the embryo or fetus negro or slave and the mother master, and the extent to which it makes sense to confer equal rights to both.

    Normally we would assert that a human being is a human being and we all have the same rights and the same worth. We need to recognize the reality that being in utero a negro is unlike any other human situation or relationship, and any rules of laws we make regarding it need to be unique to that situation.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Good, you're on the right track. Now, can you see the differences between racial classifications and the in utero state?

  • commodious spittoon||

    Except in this unique scenario the discomfort and risks a mother endures during the course of nine months hardly compares with prenatally cutting off 70+ years of living. A utilitarian argument doesn't really favor the mother.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Perhaps those 70+ years would have been a living hell. We can't know. That's why we have to weigh the factors presently before us, and decide whether the interests and rights of an embryo are equal to those of a woman, recognizing the uniqueness of the in utero condition. To me, asserting they are equal is ridiculous.

  • BillEverman||

    But "full personhood" isn't really the issue here. A two day old infant has a right to life, but their right to keep and bear arms isn't really going to kick in till later. The question is when a person is enough of a person that their existence cannot be ended by another person.

  • Derpetologist||

    Fetus comes from a Latin word that can mean pregnancy, childbirth, or offspring.

    Just throwin' that out there.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Racist.

  • Win Bear||

    Yes, but in English, the term "fetus" has always referred to the developing organism before birth. Narrowly, it refers to the post-embryonic stage before birth.

  • lap83||

    I thought it meant a parasite made of spare human parts

  • bacon-magic||

    +1 Lamborghini for you

  • AFSlade||

    Bazinga!

  • gaoxiaen||

    I thought it meant "We're hungry".

  • Nick H||

    i'm in same boat but why the need to mention religion? To many you will disqualify yourself if they think your stance is somehow religious. The pro-life position does not hinge on any religious grounds.

  • Mickey Rat||

    When someone explains a position on moral philosophy, they generally will describe all that influences their moral philosophy. Slade explains that her religion is consistant with her understanding of science and secular sources as well. If anyone is turned off by her religion that says more about them than her thinking.

  • Nick H||

    i'm in same boat but why the need to mention religion? To many you will disqualify yourself if they think your stance is somehow religious. The pro-life position does not hinge on any religious grounds.

  • commodious spittoon||

    This is never going to be settled, you know. You might as well give up and quibble over the 20 or 24-week limitations.

  • PlaystoomuchHALO||

    Actually, the intellectual dishonesty stems from the fact that in order to be "Pro-Life" you have to be willing to take control of what other people do and deprive them of their rights to self determination in order to conform with your ideas on how they should live.

    Basically, "Pro-Life" is "I believe that the state has the moral authority to determine your medical care....slave"....

  • mfckr||

    Basically, "Pro-Life" is "I believe that the state has the moral authority to determine your medical care....slave"....

    Yes. And one usually has to agree to philosophical hand-waving such as "personhood begins at conception".

  • Lorenzo Valla||

    i would argue that it's intellectually dishonest to ignore the rights and freedoms of the fetus (if the fetus is considered human).

  • Trshmnstr doesn't recycle||

    Basically, "Pro-Life" is "I believe that the state has the moral authority to determine your medical care....slave"....

    It's funny that the person advocating removing personhood from a class of human individuals uses the word "slave"

  • Mickey Rat||

    Basically, pro abortion rights is "I believe that rights are not inherent human qualities, therefore any class of human's rights are subject to utilitarian considerations and can be revoked when convenient."

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    So, what's everyone been talking about?

  • mfckr||

  • RBS||

    I heard Donald Trump has been renting himself out as a mohel.

  • Ron||

    I find it amazing that on average the same people who think you can teach a child in the womb also think its not a human and can be aborted at any time.

  • SugarFree||

    I find it amazing that most of the people willing to confine a woman for the sake of the rights of a fetus are fine with slicing up the genitals of half of them 6 days after they are born.

  • Restor-woodchipper-as||

    Six days? They performed my son's circumcision six hours after he was born. Who waits six days?

  • SugarFree||

    Fine, just spit in the face of Jewish tradition, then.

  • RBS||

    I thought that was 8 days?

  • ace_m82||

    8 days.

  • Restor-woodchipper-as||

    You know who else spit in the face of Jewish tradition?

  • ace_m82||

    Um, Jesus?

    Wow, that's probably not the answer you were looking for...

  • Just say Nikki||

    Look, Sug, it's very simple. You must bear the child, but once it's here you're allowed to abuse it as you see fit. It's your natural right as a parent.

  • commodious spittoon||

    What's the point of giving birth to the little rotter if I'm not allowed to fill his gob with sawdust for food and his mind with despair?

  • Roadsider||

    Libertarian philosophy answers this question rather succinctly in that it believes that if there you do not have a victim, you do not have a crime. Our laws and constitution were originally drafted to ensure the rights of individuals, and since a fetus is not, by definition, an individual, abortion cannot be considered a crime. Abortion may be regrettable, often sad, and for the sentimental, an outrage, the fact remains that a fetus cannot survive outside of its mother's womb, and therefore the mother's rights to her own body are paramount. Some woman's abortion has NO bearing on your life or well-being. It's a classic mind-your-own-business scenario.

  • Nonstopdrivel||

    One of my wives is a devout Christian. She's radically pro-life. She believes personhood begins at conception and abortion should be illegal for any reason.

    I am agnostic. I'm philosophically pro-life, though I don't attach as much moral significance to the issue. I believe one person's right to use his body ends where another person's body begins, and a fetus undeniably has its own body. Except in extremely limited circumstances, I don't believe one human being has the authority to decide when another human being dies. If you don't want to take the risk of carrying a child (or paying child support), then exercise your right of choice to use birth control and condoms.

    My other wife is a pagan. She is pro-choice, though she finds the idea of elective abortions distasteful.

    All three of us identify as libertarians. The point? Reasonable libertarians can come to different conclusions, and that's one of the beauties of libertarianism.

  • Win Bear||

    She believes personhood begins at conception

    If personhood begins at conception, then the responsibilities of personhood should also begin at conception, including the responsibility for the choice to implant.

  • Nonstopdrivel||

    While this might make sense from a theoretical or philosophical standpoint, it's not feasible from a scientific or practical standpoint. Unless you're proposing that women ingest massive amounts of hormones post-coitus to prevent implantation, how would we go about assigning this kind of responsibility or choice? There is no way to test for conception before implantation has occurred.

  • Win Bear||

    Less than half of fertilized eggs ever implant. And the egg, when viewed as an organism, certainly has control over whether to implant or not.

  • Nonstopdrivel||

    To flesh out my stance with a bit more nuance:

  • bacon-magic||

    Way to brag on the web about multiple wives. Do their ever reenact the Christian/Pagan wars? Please provide pics.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Before responding to the specific post, let me say: Lots of "moderate" posters here, while they aren't prolife purists, have views on abortion which are *more* prolife than the status quo.

    Protecting fetuses after brainwaves are detected? Great, but guess what - the pro-abortion status quo allows abortion in those circumstances. What do you propose to do about it?

    Cutting off taxpayer funding for abortion? Great, but guess what - the pro-abortion status quo means taxpayer subsidies for abortion. What do you propose to do about it?

    If the status quo is so clearly contrary to your moderate ideals, do you intend to fight to status quo? Or are you so cynical about the possibility of effecting real political change that you're not going to get involved?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    to fight *the* status quo, not *to* status quo

  • Win Bear||

    Lots of "moderate" posters here, while they aren't prolife purists, have views on abortion which are *more* prolife than the status quo.

    Practically, I think it wouldn't be a big deal in practice to restrict elective abortions to the first trimester and not to fund it with taxpayer dollars.

    What offends me is the justifications people come up with for "pro-life" policies. People who confuse a fertilized egg with a person degrade humanity to the level of tissue and DNA sequences. People like that follow a repugnant and destructive morality that people need to speak up against.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    OK, but do you *also* find it offensive that late-term abortions are legal, or that you are compelled to pay for abortions?

  • Win Bear||

    I would find late-term-abortion-on-demand a morally repugnant choice, but they seem to be as rare as unicorns. Furthermore, I trust women to make that moral choice for themselves. I do oppose the notion that I should pay for the consequences of other people's promiscuity.

    Why are you asking?

  • Nonstopdrivel||

    What is repugnant and destructive about it? No one is proposing that corpses have rights under the law, although ironically to a certain extent they do. I believe desecrating a corpse is illegal virtually everywhere in the United States.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "No doubt my Catholic faith has something to do with it, but so does my (admittedly imperfect) understanding of the science"

    Why be so apologetic? If you were defending compassion and (voluntary) charity toward the weak, would you apologize to the Nietzscheans for taking the same stance as the Catholic Church? Would you find it inconvenient that the Catholic Church advocates compassion for the weak, as if the Catholic Church's stance precludes secularists from supporting such compassion? No, the Church's teachings coincide with the humanitarian impulses of most non-Catholics. Why should the Church apologize for taking seriously the principles which so many non-Catholics, including the (non-Nietzschean) secularists, claim to support?

    On abortion, science and faith point in the same direction. On conception, I was a living member of *homo sapiens.* If this embarrasses the pro-choicers, so much the worse for the pro-choicers. Plenty of people, not just Catholics, believe that living human beings are persons with rights, including the right to life. It's the people who claim that some living human beings are un-persons who have some 'splaining to do.

    Of course, the Catholic Church happens to be very active in defending prolife principles. That's not scandalous. The scandal is that non-Catholics who profess prolife principles aren't as active as the Catholics (though some of them are).

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Should evangelical Protestants apologize for William Wilberforce, who opposed slavery on largely Christian grounds? Should Catholic apologize for Daniel O'Connell, the Liberator of Ireland, for championing the cause of the slave even if that meant alienating the slavers from the Irish cause?

    Wilberforce cited the Bible to support his cause, O'Connell cited the declarations of the Popes against slavery. Do Wilberforce's evangelicalism and O'Connell's Catholicism mean that secularists must support slavery, for fear of being tainted by association with religion?

  • Win Bear||

    Should Catholic apologize for Daniel O'Connell

    No, it should apologize for the many millions of people whose deaths it has contributed to and for the untold suffering it has inflicted on humanity.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    So that's why, when a country throws of the yoke of the Catholic Church, the welfare and happiness of the people increase?

    Examples: France in the Revolution, Mexico under the anticlericals, etc. etc.

  • Win Bear||

    So that's why, when a country throws of the yoke of the Catholic Church, the welfare and happiness of the people increase?

    Precisely. Europe achieved human rights, peace, and prosperity only once it kicked the Catholic church out of power. (The last gasp of that was Nazi Germany, where the Catholic church grudgingly collaborated with Hitler in his early years in order to hold on to power and privilege.)

    Examples: France in the Revolution,

    Getting rid of dictators and corrupt governments often causes disruption in the short term. In the long term, it's still the right thing to do.

    Furthermore, a lot of Catholic countries (including France) appeared peaceful only because they had already murdered or exiled anybody (like my own ancestors) who disagreed with the church.

  • Notorious UGCC (Né GKC)||

    I'm guessing you're a Huguenot, in which case I'm really sorry that the Gallican Catholic regimes, starting with Louis XIV, persecuted your forbears. If it's any consolation, Louis XIV attacked the Pope and his supporters, too.

    Just to be clear, the French Revolution method of "getting rid of dictators and corrupt governments" involved robbing the Church blind, persecuting loyal Catholics, and chopping off the heads of dissidents - not only the evil Catholics, but also fellow-revolutionaries who happened to have a falling out with the dominant Jacobin party.

    Thomas Paine spent some time in French revolutionary prisons, and escaped the guillotine by the skin of his teeth when Robespierre was executed.

    Lafayette escaped the guillotine by escaping into the Austrian lines.

    Is that your idea of breaking eggs to make omelettes?

    And here's Pope Pius XI's encyclical against the Nazis, in 1938:

    http://w2.vatican.va/content/p.....sorge.html

  • Win Bear||

    Just to be clear, the French Revolution method of "getting rid of dictators and corrupt governments" involved robbing the Church blind, persecuting loyal Catholics, and chopping off the heads of dissidents - not only the evil Catholics, but also fellow-revolutionaries who happened to have a falling out with the dominant Jacobin party. ... Is that your idea of breaking eggs to make omelettes?

    So what? I didn't endorse or advocate the methods or viewpoints of the French Revolution. You brought up the French Revolution as an example of how countries were supposedly worse off getting rid of Catholicism. I just pointed out that your example didn't support the point you were trying to make.

    Yes, getting the Catholic church out of power in Europe in many cases involved evil acts, and what replaced it often was also evil. Those historical facts have no bearing on the question of whether people are better off under secular government or Catholic government.

  • Win Bear||

    And here's Pope Pius XI's encyclical against the Nazis, in 1938

    Note the date: 1938, that's five years after Hitler came to power. In 1938, it became obvious to the Catholic church that Germany was falling apart and that their political calculations of using Hitler to engineer a Catholic return to power weren't going to happen. And even then, except for a few writings from far-away Rome, the Catholic church did little to fight the Nazis, continued to collaborate, and continued to enjoy its special privileges and financial benefits.

    What you need to look at is the Enabling Act and the Konkordat; note that the Enabling Act has a quote of a speech from Catholic Prelate Kaas supporting the act:

    http://tinyurl.com/ldabe34

    http://tinyurl.com/odho5md

    The Catholic church in Germany endorsed and supported Hitler in 1933 in exchange for large amounts of money and privileges. They didn't do that because they liked him or agreed with him on every point, they did it because they thought the harm Hitler was going to do to others was more than outweighed by the financial benefits and privileges the Catholic church would derive from such collaboration.

    (Pope Pius XI even had the gall to entitle his encyclical "Mit Brennender Sorge", after Prelate Kaas had helped install Hitler in a speech referring to the "Brennende Not".)

  • Win Bear||

    On conception, I was a living member of *homo sapiens.*

    True. But you weren't a person. You're also a living member of homo sapiens when your higher brain functions have ceased, but you aren't a person then either.

    It's the people who claim that some living human beings are un-persons who have some 'splaining to do.

    Personhood requires (at least) higher brain functions. Treating an organism as a person regardless of higher brain functions is morally repugnant, and it leads to perverse actions such as keeping the brain dead on life support indefinitely.

    On abortion, science and faith point in the same direction.

    No, it does not. And the reason to oppose the Catholic church on this is not because legal abortion is a significant issue (few abortions happen after the first trimester anyway), it is that what the Catholic church preaches is fundamentally wrong.

  • John||

    True. But you weren't a person.

    Why not? You are just begging the question here. Why is "member of homo sapians" not the same as being a person?

    You're also a living member of homo sapiens when your higher brain functions have ceased, but you aren't a person then either.

    Again, you are just assuming the answer. Moreover, that is not true. If someone is in a coma and has lost higher brain functions but has a significant chance of recovery, they most certainly are still a person and killing them would be murder. We only pull the plug on people who both have no brain functions and no hope of recovery. Fetus even before they have brain function most certainly have the chance of getting them. So killing them is no different than killing someone in a coma with a good chance of recovery.

    And the reason to oppose the Catholic church on this is not because legal abortion is a significant issue (few abortions happen after the first trimester anyway), it is that what the Catholic church preaches is fundamentally wrong.

    Are you capable of making an argument? Do you not understand that making an argument means giving reasoning and justification for your assertions not just making bald assertions as if they are self evidently true?

  • LynchPin1477||

    . We only pull the plug on people who both have no brain functions and no hope of recovery.

    Even then, don't we typically require a prior directive from the patient or a decision by next of kin with power of attorney before doing so? Or can a hospital just decide to pull the plug on someone if a doctor says no chance of recovery? Honestly don't know but I strongly suspect it is the former.

  • John||

    If they have an advanced medical directive, they will or will let the person's representative decide if that is what the directive says. If not, then you have to go to court and the court gives the person due process and decides if you can; i.e. Terri Shiavo.

  • Win Bear||

    Why is "member of homo sapians" not the same as being a person?

    Because personhood, in the traditional sense of philosophy, requires individuality, agency, and consciousness. It's linked to concepts like "personality" and "personal".

    Do you not understand that making an argument means giving reasoning and justification for your assertions

    Well, something the Catholic church should take to heart! After all, despite all their double-speak, their actual justification for their position on abortion is that they believe that their God puts a human soul into the fertilized egg at the moment of conception. Is there any evidence for that? Not a shred. It isn't even consistent with historical beliefs of the Catholic church.

    All the equivocation and prevarication about the meaning of terms like "person" and "human life" is only an attempt to distract people from the unjustified and unfounded Catholic beliefs about ensoulment.

  • SugarFree||

    Ah, man. All the white space. Yummy.

  • RBS||

    So you can't read Eddie responding to himself?

  • RBS||

    I see the facebook crowd is starting to arrive...

  • John||

    The problem with the pro choice position for libertarians is that it is great example of how winning for the wrong reasons can be worse than losing. The majority of pro choice people are progressives not libertarians and have very different reasons for being pro choice than libertarians.

    If you act on the assumption that life does not begin until birth, Libertarians are pro choice because they believe that people should have autonomy over their own bodies and thus the government has no right to tell a woman she can't choose to have a medical procedure be it an abortion or a boob job.

    Progressives in contrast don't think that way. They don't believe in personal autonomy. They are happy to ban other medical procedures they view as "unsafe" and are happy to dictate what people can and cannot do with their bodies. Progressives are pro choice primarily because they reject the concept of personal responsibility. Taking away a woman's ability to have an abortion is making her responsible for her choice to have sex. And we can't have that. The bottom line for progressive advocates of the pro choice position is that they think women should have the ability to conveniently avoid the consequences of their actions making it another part of the entitlement state and the program to ensure no one is ever accountable for their actions.

  • Restor-woodchipper-as||

    Well, progressives certainly do believe that the vast majority of people are incapable of taking care of themselves, much less another human being.

  • John||

    The same people who scream "my body my choice" are happy to let cancer patients die rather than try some new treatment that has not yet been approved by the FDA. Progressives totally reject the concept of personal autonomy and privacy. If they didn't, they would not support government run healthcare, which effectively makes everyone's health and bodies the property of the state.

    They support abortion because it allows women to avoid the consequences of their actions. That is it. Your typical pro choice feminist is either a single woman terrified she is going to get knocked up or some suburban mom who can't teach her daughter to keep her legs closed and wants to make sure her little snowflake has an out if things go wrong. That is all that is happening here. And those people winning on abortion does nothing to advance freedom and likely hurts freedom by further reenforcing our culture's denial of personal responsibility.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Maybe that's the progressive motive, but just bear in mind that your true hardcore prolifer doesn't limit himself/herself to opposing "elective" abortions. We oppose aborting children conceived in rape, because where do we get the authority to kill children for the sins of their fathers?

  • John||

    As they should. But I am not talking about the pro life side. I am talking about the pro choice side. Libertarians who are pro choice necessarily think life begins at birth, otherwise they couldn't square legalized abortion with the NAP. Once you get past the life issue, then Libertarians are going to be pro choice out of their commitment to personal autonomy. Progressives in contrast don't view it that way even though they also support legal abortion.

  • Nonstopdrivel||

    The problem with the pro choice position for libertarians is that it is great example of how winning for the wrong reasons can be worse than losing.

    Conversely, as opposed as I personally am to abortion, I'm not entirely sure from a libertarian standpoint that I would want to live in a country that outlawed abortion, any more than I'd want to live in a country that outlawed pornography, which is arguably just as harmful as any drug for some people. As a friend once pointed out to me, in order to preserve liberty, one must also be willing to tolerate a measure of immorality. It's a sticky philosophical dilemma to be sure.

  • John||

    I understand that the cure for things can often be worse than the problem. I am not going to encourage people to go and use drugs but clearly banning drugs causes a lot more harm than using them. Abortion, however, is likely an exception to that. If you believe abortion is taking lives, then it is pretty hard to imagine any consequences of banning it worse than the legally sanctioned murder of thousands of people every year.

  • Win Bear||

    If you believe abortion is taking lives, then it is pretty hard to imagine any consequences of banning it worse than the legally sanctioned murder of thousands of people every year.

    Libertarianism doesn't necessarily require "banning" murder either, in the sense of felonies, laws, and a criminal justice system. Many forms of libertarianism advocate replacing the current justice system with a private system of voluntary agreements, adjudicators, and private enforcement. That is, ultimately, it should be up to the individual to choose how they would want violence against their own person to be handled.

  • Nonstopdrivel||

    I find the idea that it's better to abort than bring an unwanted child into the world to be self-serving bullshit. I was an unwanted child. Had my parents chosen to abort me, I wouldn't have gotten a chance to choose the life I have now. Let the child grow up and decide for himself whether life is worth living. If it's not, I fully respect a person's right to off himself at any time.

    As for cases of rape and incest, what happened wasn't the child's fault; why should it die for the crime of its father? Where seeing the child would wreak emotional and psychological harm on the mother, there are provisions in place at every hospital for whisking the baby away before she ever has a chance to lay eyes on it. Besides, the genetic risks of incest are greatly overblown. Problems typically only occur in situations of incestuous behavior spanning multiple generations; the ancient Egyptian pharaohs, for example.

    Situations in which pregnancy represents a threat to the life of the mother are so rare as to be virtually nonexistent. Medical technology has advanced to the point that by the time a pregnancy is far enough along to represent any kind of threat to the mother, the fetus is almost certainly viable and can be delivered.

  • John||

    I completely agree. If being "unwanted" means you are better off not living, then why shouldn't we embrace the death penalty? I am pretty sure that guy who shot up the theater in Colorado is more unloved and unwanted in this world than any unplanned child. Should we just kill him? And if we should, then why not just kill anyone who is unpopular since how wanted you are by the rest of society is now the measure of your right to live?

  • Nonstopdrivel||

    Wow, what an excellent point. I had never thought about it that way before. I will file that one away for future use.

  • Inigo "Chip" DuBois||

    As someone who used to be for a death penalty and then changed his mind, I don't think it is about whether or not the person in question, such as the theater killer, deserves to live or die. It's about the abuse of government power. I just don't trust the state (and particularly the cops/judges) with that level of power.

  • IceTrey||

    I bet Holmes' parents love and want him. The death penalty is about balancing the scales of justice. You kill, you die.

  • John||

    Sure it is. But that is my point. We don't decide life and death based on popularity.

  • Just say Nikki||

    Let the child grow up and decide for himself whether life is worth living. If it's not, I fully respect a person's right to off himself at any time.

    Ah yes, once again: too bad for all the harm you suffered before you could kill yourself!

    Try imagining other people are really other and might have different preferences than you.

  • Nonstopdrivel||

    It's precisely because I respect an individual's rights to his or her own preferences—to be, or not to be, whatever that individual wants—that I think one should have the chance to grow up and express them. If that preference happens to be death, so be it! I recently told an acquaintance that she had been cruel to her boyfriend for having tried to foil his suicide attempts for so many years. He really, really wanted to die, and in the end, he finally succeeded. All she and his family had done was prolong his emotional agony. To my surprise, she agreed with me, but as she pointed out, what was she supposed to do? Had she just let him die, she would have been roundly condemned by everyone around her.

  • Just say Nikki||

    So how long is it okay to force someone to live for? Until they can talk and tell you they want to die? Until they can do it themselves? Will you apologize for their life of agony that you began?

  • LynchPin1477||

    force someone to live for

    That's a pretty messed up way to look at it. Are we going to start pumping gas into orphanages across the country?

    The point is that you can't know whether someone will have a miserable life until they have lived it. And even then, only they can decide that for themselves.

    Plenty of people born into difficult circumstances, rejected by their parents, or suffering from physical deformities, have gone on to have fulfilling lives. Did those lives suck at times? Probably. Were there good times as well? Probably. Who can decide whether it was worth it? Only the person who lived through it.

  • Nonstopdrivel||

    I hope you're having fun pummelling this hapless strawman you've erected. No one is talking about forcing someone to live. We're talking about giving them the opportunity to live and make a choice for themselves. Forcing someone to live would be ramming a feeding tube down their nose or staying their hand when they have a gun pointed to their heads. I already said I'm very pro-suicide. If someone comes to the conclusion that life isn't worth living, I see no reason to force them to hang on. But to deprive someone of the chance to make that choice is far more cruel.

  • ant1sthenes||

    "So how long is it okay to force someone to live for?"

    Not killing people is forcing them to live? Ok, Toni.

  • John||

    Ah yes, once again: too bad for all the harm you suffered before you could kill yourself!

    yes, it is called making an informed decision. And more importantly, it is called personal autonomy. You get to make that decision not anyone else. Seriously, you can't possibly be so confused that you think it is okay to murder someone because in the future they might decide their life was not worth living and you owe saving them the suffering it takes to decide that?

    You are one of the brighter people on here until we get to the subject of life death and meaning. Then you turn into a boring middle schooler who got into their parents' philosophy books and mini bar on the same night. You can't believe this shit. You have to be trolling.

  • ||

    Interesting, two opposing poles: 1) parents own their children, they created them. 2) Absolute wrongful life; parents totally owe children (whatever that means).
    There are problems with: a) time: someone who doesn't even exist can at best disagree "retroactively". But your property can only be violated when both it and you exist. b) disagreeing with what enables one to disagree at least seems paradoxical. c) If your parents are responsible for all you suffer (because they caused you), they would also be responsible for all your pleasure. You'd have to compensate them - consider unjust enrichment; free-riding. Compensation for harm, as well as for pleasure, brings up the problem of verification. Your (and your parents') subjective preferences mean it's impossible to qualify and quantify accurately.

    Do you have something complete worked out, Nikki?

  • Just say Nikki||

    Medical technology has advanced to the point that by the time a pregnancy is far enough along to represent any kind of threat to the mother, the fetus is almost certainly viable and can be delivered.

    Have you even heard of ectopic pregnancies?

    Have you heard of Savita Halappanavar?

  • Nonstopdrivel||

    I am not sure what point you're trying to argue.

    Ectopic pregnancies are by definition unviable and must be excised to prevent maternal harm. No one, not even the Roman Catholic Church, raises any moral objection to the termination of ectopic pregnancies, because there is absolutely no chance for them to progress to viability.

    The example of Savita Halappanavar is also beside the point. That was a case of spontaneous abortion that went into sepsis. Her death was attributable to properly treat her medical condition.

  • Nonstopdrivel||

    Her death was attributable to a failure to properly treat her medical condition. The fetus was already dead and should have been promptly removed.

  • ||

    She probably meant egg-topic pregnancies.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Agree, although life-of-mother exceptions should still be kept in place, even if they are rarely needed.

  • Nonstopdrivel||

    Probably, from a pragmatic standpoint. I am arguing philosophically here.

  • Nonstopdrivel||

    An interesting article (admittedly, from a Christian perspective) pointing out the fact that the United States actually has unusually permissive abortion policies for the Western world:

    http://www.relevantmagazine.co.....t-abortion

  • John||

    The US has apallingly permissive abortion laws. They are absolutely indefensible. They are the last remaining legacy of the early 20th Century Progressive commitment to eugenics

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "The philosophy of liberty simply cannot speak to whether abortion is an act involving one human being or two."

    Sorry, Ms. Slade, again you're conceding too much.

    What's the point of being a Principled Defender of Human Rights if you reserve the option of designating whole categories of living human beings as unpersons, as lives unworthy of life?

    That would allow supporters of liberty to say, "of course, the rights I defend don't apply to [Godwinesque reference to racial/religious minority], because they're subhuman."

  • ace_m82||

    This is why "personhood" is always going to be problematic. You can always change the meaning of the word (like the Dred Scott decision did to the word "citizen") that some random group doesn't count. And, as the word is subjective by nature, that group can't really argue with it.

  • John||

    Personhood is a bullshit term that is nothing but a rationalization for killing anyone you don't like. Shame on anyone who claims to be a "rationalist" who embraces it.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    The term "person" occurs throughout the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. If it doesn't mean a living human being, what does it mean?

  • Nonstopdrivel||

    The word "person" occurs throughout the text of the Constitution, which was largely drafted by John Dickinson, a devout Quaker who believed deeply in gender equality. Unlike the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, the word "man" never appears once in the Constitution.

  • IceTrey||

    Corporations are persons too.

  • Win Bear||

    The term "person" in philosophy means a conscious, sentient, sapient agent.

    The term "living human being" is itself ambiguous and vague. The Catholic church accepts cessation of brain electrical activity as death, as the point of the departure of the soul, even though the body still constitutes a "living human being".

    What the debate is really about is whether we should accept the Catholic and conservative Christian view of ensoulment (soul enters at conception, leaves at brain death), or the scientific one (the "soul" emerges gradually during neural development and ends at brain death).

  • Notorious UGCC (Né GKC)||

    What's this about ensoulment? It's sufficient that, scientifically, I was a living human being from the moment of conception.

    Speculate all you want about the soul, such speculation is irrelevant to the personhood rights of living human beings.

  • Win Bear||

    Speculate all you want about the soul, such speculation is irrelevant to the personhood rights of living human beings.

    The theological position of the Catholic church is that this means a human body with a soul, and their belief is that the soul enters at the moment of conception and leaves when electrical brain death has occurred.

    Scientifically, that is an untenable position, because if you accept that an old person is dead when there is electrical brain death, then you have to accept that an embryo is not a "living human being" either.

    And you are right that Catholic conceptions about the soul are irrelevant to personhood rights. However, they are relevant to whether the Catholic position is logically consistent and whether the Catholic church is attempting to make a logical argument or simply deceive people. And it's clearly the latter: the Catholic position is inconsistent, and the argumentation by the Catholic church in this matter is dishonest and deceptive.

    Arguing about whether all "living human beings" should have "personhood" in the legal sense is meaningless if you don't state objective and consistent criteria for what you consider a "living human being".

  • ||

    "the "soul" emerges gradually during neural development and ends at brain death"

    Emergent properties, things that are unexplained, but vaguely attributed.

  • Win Bear||

    Emergent properties, things that are unexplained, but vaguely attributed.

    Think of it this way: you may not know the details of how Microsoft Windows works internally, but you do know that before it can run anything, you need to plug the disk drive into the motherboard, the motherboard into the power supply, the power supply into the wall outlet, and install Windows on the disk drive.

    It's the same with consciousness and agency. We don't know the details of how they work, but we know very well numerous of the hardware prerequisites that need to be there before consciousness and agency are even possibilities.

  • ||

    I wouldn't call that knowledge very good. But I get what you mean, and I pretty much agree. We can come up with some workable approximations, and assume consciousness when in doubt. Tired, sorry, so I'll just mention locked-in syndrome, blacks swans, functional reorganization, plasticity, and multiple realizability.

    There's an essential problem with relying on consciousness. (Determinism still is the least "mystic" and most simple understanding, Consciousness may well be epiphenomenal. But since that'd make morality pointless, I'll ignore that here.) It's unconsciousness. Apparently, it'd be fair game to kill unconscious people. I don't see how the argument that they'll regain consciousness is more convincing than the argument that an embryo will gain consciousness. (By the way, the brain-dead old person you mention will not regain consciousness. The embryo will gain consciousness. If that criterion is used by the Catholic position seems plausible.) (Not to bother people with analogies, but emergent phenomena may only be the tip of the iceberg.)

  • Win Bear||

    What's the point of being a Principled Defender of Human Rights

    Libertarians are not principled defenders of "human rights". Human rights is a vague term that people can fill with any meaning, from theocracy to fascism and communism.

    if you reserve the option of designating whole categories of living human beings as unpersons, as lives unworthy of life?

    You're equivocating, using terms like "living human beings" and "life" and "lives" and "subhuman" in multiple senses.

    If you want to engage in political and philosophical debates, you need to be precise in your terminology. Politics and liberty are about the protection of sentient, sapient, and conscious agents, not the protection of "human life".

    You're also equivocating because the "life begins at conception" is really saying that "ensoulment beings at conception"; groups like the Catholic church don't give a f*ck about "human life" either, they care about ensouled human bodies and about claiming the authority when ensoulment happens.

  • *GILMORE*||

    Ugh. Yolkels

  • lap83||

    You're just egging them on

  • *GILMORE*||

    People can be so thin-skinned about topics like this, and just they crack up whenever its dropped