ABORTION is a violation of PROPERTY RIGHTS: a logical appeal to pro-choice advocates

Before we begin it may be helpful if I define what I mean by “property rights”.  The most obvious answer is in the term – the rights an individual has to their property.  But what is property?  Your house is your property, your cell phone is your property, your car is your property, but is your property limited to only your material possessions?  No.  One’s property also includes your own body, your life, and liberty.

Therefore, based on this definition we can conclude that each individual is granted, naturally, a certain right to their property: property rights.  After all, I think that everyone can agree that in a civilized society your own personal right to yourself, your stuff, and your ability to make decisions is paramount.  Who would want decisions about their own property, that they worked for, their own life, which is theirs, and their right to make decisions, made by someone else?  I’m guessing no one. If you take away these basic rights you essentially become a prisoner on death row.  Guards making your personal decisions for you.  Deciding when you will eat, when you can exercise, what you can own, and even when you will forfeit your own life.

Since it is morally and socially unacceptable to live in such an environment why do we conclude, in many cases, it is justifiable to give up or ignore the guiding principals of property rights?  Abortion is such an issue.

In the infamous case of Row v. Wade in 1973 the supreme court ruled and upheld the woman’s right to have an abortion upon the grounds of the 14th amendment.  Basically, the court ruled that a woman has a right to privacy under the due process clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and that right extends to a woman’s decision to have an abortion.

However, the supreme court ignored a vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to property rights, the child.  One may argue that the child’s rights are insignificant or that the woman’s rights supersede the rights of a fetus.  Many justify this by arguing that the fetus cannot survive outside of the mother’s womb, thus the mother’s right to privacy and thus abortion must be upheld; however, I ask what is the difference between a 1 year old and a fetus?  Can a child survive without the constant looking after by the parent any more than a fetus?  No.  Once a heart beats in a fetus it becomes a living person, although the needs may be different than a child or adult, it is none the less a person with property rights.

I ask: What is the real difference, except for the amount of guilt the parent feels or perhaps guilt one feels for performing the deed itself, between murdering a one year old and disposing of an unwanted fetus?  Is there a true recognizable and logically arguable difference? The fact is that by day 22 after conception “[the baby’s] heart begins to beat with the child’s own blood, often a different type than the mothers’” and by only 6 weeks “brain waves are detectable; mouth and lips are present; fingernails are forming.”  Should not the law uphold the property rights of such a person?

Others argue that it is unfair or unjust that a woman who becomes pregnant accidentally during recreational sex should be forced to undergo pregnancy.  However, doesn’t everyone old enough to have sex understand the potential consequence is pregnancy?  Even contraception and birth control pills are only 99% effective at best – if you have sex 100 times statistics tell you pregnancy will occur!  So recognizing this fact is it fair that two individuals engaging in mutually agreed upon sex have the right to violate the property rights of another human life?  A human’s life, though it may require a special kind of care, is no less human than anyone reading this now?  What good is the law if not to protect those who cannot protect or speak for themselves?

Andre Koppleman argued in his book “Forced Labor: A Thirteen Amendment Defense of Abortion” that “when women are compelled to carry and bear children, they are subjected to ‘involuntary servitude’ in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment….[E]ven if the woman has stipulated to have consented to the risk of pregnancy, that does not permit the state to force her to remain pregnant.”

This argument, once again, only takes into consideration the property rights of the mother and does not in any way consider the property rights of the very life in question, the fetus.  Does the woman’s supposed constitutional law of “involuntary servitude”, a.k.a. pregnancy, supersede the right to life of the child?  If this is the case, one could logically argue that parenthood itself “even if the woman has stipulated to have consented to the risk of pregnancy” is involuntary servitude and the parents should thus have the right to dispose of their children at any point it becomes convenient. No one is arguing this though – the moral and lawful implications are somehow more obvious after a child has been born then while it remains in the womb.  Andre’s argument is ridiculous.

Thus, if you conclude that any person has the natural property right to their own life – then an unborn child should not be excluded.  The idea that an unborn child has less rights than the mother because it requires her for survival is a fallacy.  The notion that consensual sex resulting in pregnancy is involuntary servitude is absurd.  The excuses made by those to uphold the laws that allow for abortion only support those individuals who are to selfish or to ignorant to accept the consequences of their own actions.

Defenders of abortion act as if a child, especially the unborn, are somehow the private property of the parents.  That the child has not rights of their own.  However, as we have seen though out history that when one human being treats another human being as property the results can only be evil.  For example, in the ridiculous supreme court ruling, Dred Scott v. Sanford the court ruled that blacks, “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever profit could be made by it.” Almost 200 years later we can clearly see that this is a gross violation of property rights, the constitution and morality.  Even the most devout proponent of abortion would agree!  However, we somehow justify treating an unborn child as property; not depriving them of only there liberty, but also their life.

If the proponents of abortion are right then at what point do we as individuals of free thought and action have to accept responsibility for our own deeds – at what point do our actions and the consequences of those actions matter – at what point do we really stop punishing those who are merely the innocent bi-products of a consensual deed, when do we protect the innocent and uphold the rights of every individual who fall under the jurisdiction of the United States?  It’s time to stop living a lie and admit that despite our desires to pass the buck or avoid inconvenience we are responsible for our actions and cannot morally or lawfully punish the innocent to exalt ourselves.


19 thoughts on “ABORTION is a violation of PROPERTY RIGHTS: a logical appeal to pro-choice advocates

  1. conservative2cents

    I like where you’re going with this.

    The trick remains to be: How do we convince people that the fetus is “a person”? All your arguments are good, only if the law recognizes the rights of the fetus.

    Also, you kept saying “parents” decide. In reality, the father has absolutely no say in the matter until, as you point out, the child is born. The father’s exclusion in such an important decision is a gross miscarriage of justice.

    1. Atticus Finch Post author

      Hi Conservative,

      Welcome to the blog and I hope you join the discussions!

      As far as “How do we convince people that the fetus is “a person”?” That Is a good question.

      I think I am trying to argue that when the fetus’s heart starts beating that makes it a person – with rights. I’m not exactly sure how anyone could or would argue against that, but I’d like to hear it and see how I feel.

      Also, as far as should the father have a say so – well I would hope he could put enough pressure on the woman to keep the baby or they could mutually agree to keep it rather – as far as the law I’m not sure we could ever convince the law that it was illegal for a woman to say keep taking the morning after pill or staying on birth control – At that point the man has to decide the relationship isn’t working and move on…

      1. conservative2cents

        If you have a chance, check out some of my posts about abortion and “the beginning” of life. I’m no expert, but I think you’ll agree with most of my stuff.

        I don’t think it even takes a beating heart to make ending the growth of a fetus wrong. I think it takes an egg being fertilized to be a new human being. And being a human being requires our recognition of its

          1. conservative2cents

            For the record, I’m very concerned about the religious aspects of abortion, but I try to deal with the issue on a logical, scientific level as you do. We won’t win converts over this issue. We have to beat them at their own game.

    2. Atticus Finch Post author

      I’ll be sure to check those posts out – I’m curious to see your angle. I definitely see that there could be a few good arguments that a life begins at conception.

      As you may or may not have figured out I am “mostly” secular with my own sense of faith and religion (still figuring things out I guess) so most of my arguments will be from a logical/moral/political standpoint than a religion or spirituality one (not that they are always mutually exclusive).

      In any case, I’m always open to great conversation on any subject. Can’t wait to read your posts!

  2. jon

    You’ve got me stumped here. Your argument is a good one. I agree that there’s definitely a point pre-birth when aborting a fetus is not different from killing a baby just after birth. I’m not sure, though, when that point would be. I wouldn’t go all the way to the moment of conception (I would if I believed in a non-physical soul that magically appeared at that point – but I don’t believe that).

    I wouldn’t want to say that the moral gravity of the decision depends upon the degree of cognitive function – because by that reasoning, the death of a person with mental retardation would mean less than a high-functioning person. And I definitely don’t agree with that idea. But I do think it may have to do with the degree of consciousness, sentience, awareness of the fetus. Things like the ability to feel pain, or to anticipate (fear) pain.

    Like I said, I stumped on this.

    1. Atticus Finch Post author

      Yeah, that’s kind of why I tried to define the moment of life at when the heart starts beating at between 15-22 days. I also tried to take any since of religion or spirituality out of the argument since that point is pretty much moot with a lot of people…

      To me, if the heart is beating, then it is a life, with rights. If the sex was concentual and the mother’s life isn’t in danger then to me I just feel like there is no real reason to justify abortion. At that point it just kind of becomes a selfish decision that one doesn’t want to be burdened by the responsibility of a child.

      I’m open to arguments from pro-choicers, but I haven’t been convinced yet…

  3. Jim Zee

    Glad to see another person with a heart and soul standing up for the inalienable human rights of the unborn child.


    Jim Zee

    1. conservative2cents

      Jim, That’s what it comes down to: heart and soul. Too many pro-aborts say that they think abortion is terrible, but it’s a constitutional right, so we may as well get used to it.

      Would they agree to an amendment? I doubt it.

      1. Atticus Finch Post author

        I would disagree with them that Abortion a constitutional right as I mentioned in the article the judges in Row v. Wade denied the property rights of the child and the argument that pregnancy is “involuntary servitude” is a joke.

        Also, I always found it funny when someone pulls the constitutional right card when they are so willing to give up their rights when it comes to foreign policy, the monetary system, and so many other areas.

        Also, the court can’t take into account “heart and soul” as that is a spiritual matter – they have to decide the law and who is protected under the law. The key would be defining the fetus as someone who should be protected under the law. As part of a moral and civilized society I believe the fetus should be protected by law.

  4. mattsmithis

    Read this in a rush at work and completely misread the title. Thought you were saying that an unborn baby WAS the property of the mother. You then went on to use the same arguments I was going to pounce on you with. I was a little confused for a second. Great article, and nice to hear it coming from somewhere other than a religious angle. I have my faith as a motivator, but killing a living human being still doesn’t make sense regardless. Like you said, whether it’s unborn or a day old, it’s defenseless.

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  7. Charles

    Atticus, your argument has nothing to do with property rights, and everything to do with the assumption that a fetus is a person. Proof? If I assume that a fetus is NOT a person, I can jut as easily argue that a woman has property rights to her body, and therefore a right to remove anything she wants from it.

  8. Charles

    So what I’m trying to say: your post is not a contribution to the issue at hand, because it takes for granted what is actually being disputed/defended in the pro/anti abortion debate, i. e. the personhood of the fetus.

    The whole debate is a farce. It’s demonstrated as such by the fact that virtually no human being privately thinks of fetuses as persons. As George Carlin put it, why do we say ‘I have two children and one on the way’ instead of ‘I have three children’?

    And beyond this demonstration, the personhood of the fetus will never be cofirmed or discredited – because there is no rational common ground on which to do so. People can keep saying “sanctity of life” or “a woman’s right to control her body” until they choke, but all this will ever do is display their personal preferences. And sorry, it doesn’t count if it’s your deeply held personal belief that abortions shouldn’t happen because God doesn’t like that. Because a lot of us don’t hold that belief.

    What we do know, however, is that granting women the right to decide when, or whether, they want to have children – even at the expense of an existing fetus – is one of the basic steps to achieve succesful modern society.

    Oh, and “Roe vs. Wade”, however “infamous” you consider it to be, has probably contributed to the overall drop of crime in the Nineties in the U.S., because a lot of people who would be turned into criminals by unwanted, unhappy childhoods simply weren’t born.

    1. Atticus

      Hi Charles, interesting points. I think your arguments are solid except that I think there is a good argument to be made that a fetus does have property rights. As I argued in the article there is not determinable difference between a fetus and a new born baby.

      Also, since by having sex the two individuals involved accept the risk of pregnancy and the fetus had nothing to do with that decision it is only fair that fetus be given a chance at life. Sometimes I think of it as “What if I was that fetus?”

      My arguments aren’t based on religion as I am not religious, just a since of what’s right and wrong. Of course I suppose you could argue that a fetus is of no worth, but if that was true people wouldn’t feel guilty when they have abortions. Evolution, it seems, would like us not to kill our potential children.

      Of course I’m not a radical and I wouldn’t argue that a women who was raped should be forced to carry the baby. I don’t even argue against the morning after pill. I just think two individuals who consent to sex also consent to the risk of reproduction.

      I am all for women’s rights! However, there is a natural order of rights and a women’s rights do not extend to taking the life of another being. And just to be clear – I’m no asking for a federal mandate to end abortion, honestly that’s probably too broad a sweep. What I’m asking for is every potential mother and father out there to realize the consequence of sex, accept it, take actions to prevent pregnancy, and if they do become pregnant not to punish the innocent for their actions.

      It’s a cultural issue more so than a government one. Thanks for the lively discussion, I can tell you are passionate about the issue.


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