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  1. #1
    Senior Member TheLastMohican's Avatar
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    Default Abortion: The Ethics of Liberty

    The Ethics of Liberty by Murray N. Rothbard

    A few excerpts:


    The Premise

    WE HAVE NOW ESTABLISHED each man’s property right in his own person and in the virgin land that he finds and transforms by his labor, and we have shown that from these two principles we can deduce the entire structure of property rights in all types of goods.


    Another argument of the anti-abortionists is that the fetus is a living human being, and is therefore entitled to all of the rights of human beings. Very good; let us concede, for purposes of the discussion, that fetuses are human beings—or, more broadly, potential human beings—and are therefore entitled to full human rights. But what humans, we may ask, have the right to be coercive parasites within the body of an unwilling human host? Clearly no born humans have such a right, and therefore, a fortiori, the fetus can have no such right either.
    In short, it is impermissible to interpret the term “right to life,” to give one an enforceable claim to the action of someone else to sustain that life. In our terminology, such a claim would be an impermissible viola*tion of the other person’s right of self-ownership. Or, as Professor Thom*son cogently puts it, “having a right to life does not guarantee having either a right to be given the use of or a right to be allowed continued use of another person’s body—even if one needs it for life itself.”
    Applying our theory to parents and children, this means that a parent does not have the right to aggress against his children, but also that the parent should not have a legal obligation to feed, clothe, or educate his children, since such obligations would entail positive acts coerced upon the parent and depriving the parent of his rights. The parent therefore may not murder or mutilate his child, and the law properly outlaws a parent from doing so. But the parent should have the legal right not to feed the child, i.e., to allow it to die. The law, therefore, may not properly compel the parent to feed a child or to keep it alive.


    If accepted for legal purposes, this argument would have some interesting implications for the procedures of abortion. It would be legal to remove a fetus from the womb, but not to kill it directly (especially not when it is capable of breathing on its own). That could necessitate some strange practices, but it would, at least in my opinion, make the legalization of abortion philosophically consistent. The basic rule is that we are not allowed to kill children, but we are not required to nurture them, either. It gives us the simple freedom to keep to ourselves.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    veteran attention whore Jeffster's Avatar
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    Sounds like yet another way for people to not take responsibility for their actions.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member TheLastMohican's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffster View Post
    Sounds like yet another way for people to not take responsibility for their actions.
    Or rather, to not be held legally responsible for their lack of action.

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    Shaman BlackCat's Avatar
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    I think people have the right to do what they want to their bodies. A fetus is apart of a woman's body, so if she doesn't want the kid then it's her choice. I don't see how this is a legal issue at all.
    () 9w8-3w4-7w6 tritype.

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    veteran attention whore Jeffster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCat View Post
    I think people have the right to do what they want to their bodies. A fetus is apart of a woman's body, so if she doesn't want the kid then it's her choice. I don't see how this is a legal issue at all.
    I could also easily oversimplify the issue from the other side, but the argument has been done to death.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member TheLastMohican's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCat View Post
    I think people have the right to do what they want to their bodies. A fetus is apart of a woman's body, so if she doesn't want the kid then it's her choice. I don't see how this is a legal issue at all.
    It's a legal issue because the fetus is a separate organism, and its "right to life" is arguably protected by the Constitution.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Feops's Avatar
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    Allowing something to die through inaction while it is within ones sphere of responsibility is murder. His point is to abandon this sphere entirely so as to remove all middle ground. The ethics of such a simplification are gruesome.

    I think the more practical dividing line is when society considers a fetus to be a functional human being. My own opinion falls back to "I think, therefore I am", for issues of abortion and also of the severely mentally impaired.

    Edits: Wording.

  8. #8
    Habitual Fi LineStepper JocktheMotie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCat View Post
    I think people have the right to do what they want to their bodies. A fetus is apart of a woman's body, so if she doesn't want the kid then it's her choice. I don't see how this is a legal issue at all.
    The anti abortionist would argue that the choice is not after realizing you're pregnant, but the choice involved in having sex.

    It's like looking for your parachute to put on, after you've already jumped.



  9. #9
    Senior Member TheLastMohican's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feops View Post
    Allowing something to die through inaction while it is within ones sphere of responsibility is murder. His point is to abandon this sphere entirely so as to remove all middle ground. The ethics of such a simplification are gruesome.
    What would you consider to be a person's "sphere of responsibility"?

    I think the more practical dividing line is when society considers a fetus to be a functional human being. My own opinion falls back to "I think, therefore I am", for issues of abortion and also of the severely mentally impaired.
    How can the level of awareness of the child be determined?

  10. #10
    Shaman BlackCat's Avatar
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    All of those arguments are totally valid. This is why it won't get resolved easily. I was just putting my opinion out there.
    () 9w8-3w4-7w6 tritype.

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