I recently listened to the Think Liberty Podcast, episode 73, on abortion. I was really hoping to hear a well-rounded conversation on the issue. Unfortunately, there was not much diversity on the matter. As a contributor for Think Liberty, I thought it would be worthwhile to put my opinion out. This is not because I think that I have the answer, but more so because it is believed that people’s views can’t be changed. My views have been altered in light of some recent debates, however, it is vastly different from what was discussed in the podcast.
To make my position clear, I believe that abortion is murder; I believe that life starts at conception. This is not for some religious reason, as I am not religious at all. I simply believe that procreation is the regenerating of life, so the beginning of this process is the start of life. With that being said, to take a life is murder.
I have heard some pretty good arguments on the side of the pro-choice libertarians. One of them being an argument centered around a blood type or an organ that can only be given by person A to save person B. If person A does not give that organ or blood, and person B dies, then is person A guilty of murder? Also, if things were reversed, we could conclude that person A does not have self-ownership or bodily autonomy.
The libertarian viewpoint is difficult because we are dealing with a symbiotic relationship of two beings that each have inherent rights. Even with young children it’s difficult to define their rights while also maintaining the fact that they aren’t property. This is why it is even harder when the baby is in utero.
Now, I do follow the heartbeat distinction, but probably for a different reason. I think about how a medical professional would determine a life. Say you were in an accident and an ambulance showed up to resuscitate you. If you weren’t breathing they would try to restart your breathing, but you wouldn’t be dead. If they brought you to the hospital and you were in a coma, but still had brain activity, then you wouldn’t be dead. It is true that if you didn’t have a heartbeat at the scene they would certainly try to resuscitate you, however, they would have still declared that you died for a period of time.
As previously mentioned, the most recent debates and talks have actually changed my viewpoint ever so slightly. I now refer to myself as a pro-life evictionist. Much of this change came during the Lions of Liberty discussion between Dave Smith, Walter Block, and Avens O’Brien. My stance on being pro-life didn’t so much change as I began to see where the distinction could lie between the rights of the two people.
I have really grown fond of the hot air balloon analogy. If you haven’t heard it then here is a brief recap: You own a hot air balloon. You invite someone into your hot air balloon. Once you are a mile high, you decide that you do not want them on your property, so you ask them to leave. Reasonably you must return them to safety. You cannot just throw them out because they will die. You brought them up, so if you want them out, then you must return them to the ground.
Many believe this analogy to not work because the claim is that the mother did not let the baby in. This is not the case. If you are not using any contraceptive and you are sexually active, then there is a level of responsibility for your actions that must be taken. This may sound harsh, but we as libertarians expect people to be accountable for their actions. As a side note, there is a responsibility of a man to be a man to his child, however, women are very well in the knowledge that they have the reproductive organs that can lead to pregnancy and need to be conscious of actions taken during intercourse.
The next set is rape and incest, which only account for about 0.15% of all abortions. Well if we can rule out all elective abortions, 75.4%, then I would be 100% okay with discussing what we do with the others. The problem I have is that if someone breaks in and shoots your family, but for some reason leaves their baby behind, then do you now have the means to kill that child? Do we have the right to kill a child of the person who did a heinous thing? We can’t elect to kill a child simply on the basis that someone related to them did a bad thing. At the same time, I do agree that it is not right to make a woman carry to term.
I do not believe that government should be involved in the murdering of babies, nor do I believe that they should be in the business of acting on behalf of those babies killed. So, I think that it is important to identify who should be able to seek redress for the murder of the unborn. Even if someone was killed, there is still a living person that can act on behalf of the person who was killed. I am still not exactly sure who this could be in the instance of the unborn child, but I think that it is an important discussion to be had. Still, this would mean that there is a point at which the mother should carry the child.
That point would be the time that the baby was able to be evicted. I like Block’s eviction theory, just so long as the baby is not murdered. I believe it was Smith who was talking about research into how to create a uterus in a test tube style that could bring a baby to term. If this was the case I would be 100% for evictionism. I just do not believe that evictionism justifies the murder of a baby. I also do not believe that technology is too far off from making this a reality. The resources just need to be put towards research and development of this tech.
If the pro-life movement was centrally focused on this I believe that a solid evictionism policy could be achieved, which would lead to fewer babies dying. The babies that would be eligible for this experimental procedure would be those that are opting for abortion. The mothers could elect to have this process done in lieu of traditional abortion. This would give the pro-life and the pro-choice groups satisfaction.
If this idea was to be rejected, I believe it would merely be on the basis that both sides accuse the other of: Pro-lifers just want to control women’s bodies, and pro-choicers just want to murder babies. Furthermore, If the pro-choice people were against such a policy then we see it has never been about “my body, my choice,” but rather “their body, my choice.”
As a libertarian, I value both individuals’ interests. I believe that the balance comes when we can find a solution that does not infringe on either person’s liberties. However, the way that we settle abortion is by figuring out how to uphold both sets of freedoms at the same time. We have to establish the responsibilities that each person has by evaluating choices made. We also have to look at the consequences that each person should face and decide who has the right to enact which measure against the other. I think the evictionist position, given a little tweaking, can work very well as a middle ground between the opposing viewpoints.
Read more from Rocky at Think Liberty here.