I took a course on feminist philosophy during my studies at university. It was far more intriguing than I was anticipating, and since I graduated, feminism has come to dominate the political and academic sphere. I am glad to have the background.
I couldn’t help but notice the entire class sat up and listened more carefully when the topic of abortion arose.
The professor, herself radically pro-choice, pointed us to an essay for our assigned readings that dealt with a profound confession: The majority of ethical theories in philosophy, taken to their logical conclusion, suggest that the abortion of an otherwise healthy fetus is highly unethical.
Some feminists responded with irritating ad hominems, such as the majority of ethical theories were developed by rich, white, men. But others were more engaging.
There are two considerations I respect that feminists have offered. Both are derived from Nietzsche — going beyond good and evil.
The first is that ethics isn’t the only consideration when deciding to have an abortion. The second is that a person considering abortion might not have the slightest concern for someone else’s ethical theories — the ultimate, “To hell with your views on morality, I want to live my life”.
Libertarians themselves are divided on the issue. Polls on Being Libertarian-Canada, and Being Libertarian itself, have both resulted in a 50/50 split within our ranks on the matter.
Libertarian pro-choice views carry with them the added benefit that they don’t require devaluing the unborn. Developments in embryology have been quite clear in vindicating the candidacy of the unborn as members of the human race — the beating heart and preliminary brainwaves are detectable before an abortion. DNA evidence has been quite clear in condemning the view inspired by Haeckel, the view that killing a young fetus is little more than killing a fish. Both sciences are highly condemning of the semantic nonsense that the unborn are parasites.
The libertarian pro-choice view is rooted in eviction. If a person doesn’t consent to their work, then it’s slavery. If a person doesn’t consent to sex, it’s a perverse assault. If a person doesn’t consent to pay taxes, then the tax is theft. What of the case when a person doesn’t consent to parenthood?
Abortion is eviction from private property — the body itself. If parenthood had never been consented to, is an eviction in order?
If a tenant isn’t meeting their financial obligations to me as a landlord, do I have the right to kill them if they refuse to leave my property? What about having a right to evict them, knowing full well that they will wind up on the streets and perish? Given that the tenant is living inside a person’s body, does this increase the right of removal? Are the obligations to parenthood less present because the child is unwanted by the biological parents?
I think regardless of the legality of abortion we should at the very least recognize that there are serious bioethical concerns surrounding abortion. A purely libertarian, Rothbardian, utopia may not have the regulatory capacity to disqualify abortion done on private property, but we should keep in mind that there is no respect for liberty without a corresponding respect for life.
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