Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Roe v. Wade Anniversary and the Paleo-Pro-Choice Stance

Today marks the 41st anniversary since the Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court of the United States. Since their decision was released, at least two camps on abortion legality thought have been created. I still have not heard an argument for either the pro-life or pro-choice side of this debate that I can fully side with.

The pro-lifer side builds their argument on the idea of the sanctity life being the reason to refrain from abortion. The sanctity of life is a great reason for the vast majority of people to not haphazardly drive their car through a crowded open-air market. For this argument to continue then, the debate begins for when life begins. Does a heartbeat constitute life? Does the appearance of breathing within the womb constitute life? Does breathing air outside the womb constitute life? This is still not established by anyone to date.

The pro-choicer side builds their argument on the idea of the choice of the woman to do with her body as she sees fit including get rid of whatever potential child is inside her womb. This also has some sense to it. Each of us do have a right to control and protect our own bodies with the choices that we make. This right to choose, though, does not include killing another. So again, the question of when does life begin raises its head.

 Jakub Bozydar Wisniewski refuted Dr. Block's evictionism (and Dr. Block refuted Wisniewski's refutations) based on a few points in a series of articles. Their debate is worth reading.

There is another side that has taken very little root in libertarian circles that was first discussed by Dr. Walter Block and Roy Whitehead. Evictionism is an idea that is built on a few principles that seem akin to both the popular arguments briefly explained above. In evictionsim life's beginning is at conception like most pro-lifers. The self ownership of pro-choicers is also present. To satisfy both the self ownership and theoretical invasion (not my choice of term) of pro-choicers and the existing right to life of the fetus per the pro-lifers, evictionsim tells us that it is fine to evict or take out the fetus as soon as it is viable. If a baby is aborted after it is viable it should be considered murder. If a baby is aborted before it is viable it should be considered an act of the owner's choice to do with their body as they will. This is as close to sense as I have ever read and yet I still find it lacking.

In For a New Liberty Murray Rothbard asked "[w]hat human has a right to remain, unbidden, as an unwanted parasite within some other human being's body?" I would say none. In my opinion, this is not in any way an endorsement of abortion. If I choose to allow a human to become a parasite in my body, knowing full well that once said human is in my body he must remain for a certain period of time or he cannot survive, then he has the right to stay in my body until then. Murray retorts this argument with no real thought by stating that "[t]he common retort that the mother either originally or was at least responsible for placing the fetus in her body is, again, beside the point. Even in the stronger case where the mother originally wanted the child, the mother, as the property owner in her body, has the right the change her mind and to eject it." I disagree with Rothbard vehemently (for me, a disagreement with Murray Rothbard is rare; vehement disagreement is almost impossibly rare).

I feel that choice is the number one consideration as to whether or not abortion should be considered moral or immoral. The choice to have sexual intercourse means that an effect of that choice is potentially a pregnancy. If a woman becomes pregnant, the woman should have to live with the decision she made. The choice should be respected enough (by others and herself) to live with the initial choice. The life of the potential child should also be respected, but this is secondary to the initial choice made by the woman. To refute Rothbard's statement, I feel that if anyone chooses to allow another human to become a "parasite" in their body, the hosting human cannot kick the parasitic human out to die on a whim. The decision to allow the parasitic human in was made knowing that the parasitic human would indeed die if they were to be "ejected" too early. This is immoral behavior.

 If a woman is raped, abortion is a viable option. The choice was not made, and so she is allowed to then make one. Also, if the life of the mother is in danger, abortion is viable, because of the possibility of future choices that are available to the mother. This is the moral choice only if she is allowed to live through aborting her pregnancy.

With no other nomenclature available, I feel this makes me paleo-pro-choice. I derived this from the original or initial choice made to possibly become pregnant through sexual intercourse.

For further reading please see this article about various state's choices to enact laws to create or destroy abortion as an option (assuming Roe v. Wade is overturned). Here is Wikipedia's article on evictionism. And last but not in any way least, here is my favorite site for spare time reading on any and every subject (including the abortion debate).