Chapter 1: Abortion

Note: This is the first chapter of my “e-book in progress”. Since I don’t know any editors feel free to be critical. I know this post is long, sorry.  

Since 1973, roughly 50 million legally induced abortions have been performed in the United States. [1] Fifty-million is a big number. Fifty-million is a small country. Fifty-million is 1/6th of the population of the United States.

Fifty-million is the sole reason I decided to include this chapter in this book. There have been 50 million lives ended by abortion, 50 million mothers, and another 50 million fathers. That is 150 million lives touched by abortion in America alone. When you put that number into perspective it’s easy to see why abortion is an important topic. So here we are.

What this chapter is and what this chapter is not:

I despise talking heads on either side of the political spectrum that spout off talking points. The same arguments are used again and again to appeal to the emotions of the typical American. The goal of these talking heads are always the same: to induce guilt or to justify abortion.

And so while I disagree with abortion – this is not another neo-conservative attempt to spout talking points about the the “evils” of abortion. I am not going to pull on your heart-strings and force guilt down your throat until you feel sick to your stomach. I am especially not going to use religion. I don’t agree with most of those methods and even if I did I think those tactics are counter productive to changing opinions.

Ultimately – the reason to do or not to do something must be based on a well thought out mechanism of reason. Property rights is an alternative way of thinking about abortion and to present new perspective as related to morality and natural law. A way of thinking that doesn’t appeal to the emotion or try to make anyone feel guilty, but rather changes minds about the nature of making decisions for someone else.

What are Property Rights?

Before we begin it may be helpful if I define what “property rights” are and what they are not. The most obvious answer to “What are Property Rights” is in the term “Property Rights” itself. The rights an individual has to their property. But what is property?

In the traditional sense it is easy to determine some things are property. Your home, for example, is your property. As is your clothing, your car, and so on. But property is not limited to material possessions that you can purchase. Some items are granted naturally by nature “by God”. This property includes one’s ownership of one’s self and all liberties related to living your own life.

As a society we have property rights built in that you may not have noticed. This is especially apparent in the fact that we object to the idea of a ruling class. We support a democratically elected leader, rather than a king, and enjoy the mantras of Liberty and Freedom.

We have a sophisticated legal system that helps determine ownership of possessions, that prosecutes individuals who infringe on the property of others through violent crimes or theft, and that sets boundaries in effort to protect each person’s rights from interference.

Therefore, based on these ideas we can conclude that each individual is granted, naturally and otherwise, a certain right to their individual property: property rights. We will use this concept moving forward.

Why are Property Rights important to abortion?

Property rights, as defined above, are important because they guarantee an individual’s ability to think and act for themselves and without the rule of another human being. Almost no one would want their entire life micromanaged by someone else and chances are another person probably wouldn’t do a very good job making those decisions anyway.

We have to ask ourselves the following questions: Is it acceptable to make the decision to kill an unborn child? What human has the right to decide for another human that their life is meaningless? What is the mother and father’s life more important than the child’s life?

I understand that much of this idea relies on the idea that an unborn child has rights. That an unborn child has as much right to their life as any other human being thus, that life should be protected. I also understand that many people disagree with that idea. In the following sections I hope to convince doubters that an unborn child should have rights and that it is illogical to presume otherwise.

Roe v. Wade

In the (in)famous case of Roe v. Wade the supreme court ruled and upheld the woman’s right to have an abortion upon the grounds of the 14th amendment [2]. 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.

Does a woman’s right to privacy supercede a fetus’s right to life?

In the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson famously says that all human beings are granted unalienable rights which include “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. [3] So why are these rights ignored when it comes to an unborn child and its mother? Why is the child completely left out of the equation?

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, if you believe that: What the difference between any child and a fetus?

A child can no more survive without a parent than a fetus can. I’ve always believed that once a heart beats in a fetus it becomes a living person – just as we would measure the life in any other living thing. And although the needs of a fetus may be different than a child or adult, it is none-the-less a person with property rights.

To quote a story from Dr. Ron Paul’s book “Liberty Defined” regarding abortion Dr. Paul says:

“On one occasion in the 1960s…I witnessed, while visiting a surgical suite as an OB/GYN resident, the abortion of a fetus that weighed approximately two pounds. It was placed in a bucket, crying and struggling to breathe, and the medical personnel pretended not to notice. Soon the crying stopped. This harrowing even forced me to think more seriously about this important issue.

That same day in the OB suite, an early delivery occurred and the infant born was only slightly larger than the one that was just aborted. But in this room everybody did everything conceivable to save this child’s life. My conclusion that day was that we were overstepping the bounds of morality by picking and choosing who should live and who should die.” [4]

The difference between a fetus and a child:

I always question how some people distinguish between a child and an unborn fetus. I think the real difference isn’t with the fetus or child, but in how we justify things to ourselves.

The real difference between a fetus and a child is the amount of guilt the parent or doctor feels. Because, at a technical level, murdering a one year old and disposing of an unwanted fetus is no different. Ask yourself: Is there a recognizable and logically arguable difference?

I think a few developmental factors drive this point home. Twenty-two days 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.” [5] What more is needed to define life? I imagine if we found such a creature on another planet surely every media outlet would claim we found life on another planet, right? So where’s the disconnect?

Should laws protect a fetus?

Should the law uphold the property rights of such a person and why is it some people feel justified in assigning an arbitrary value on one life that is different than another? Shouldn’t all lives be equally valued and equally protected? I find it ironic that it is these same people who argue so fervently for civil rights.

Some people argue that it is unfair or unjust that a woman who becomes pregnant “accidentally” due to consensual sex should be forced to undergo pregnancy. I’ve never understood this argument. Doesn’t everyone old enough to have sex understand the potential consequence is pregnancy? Even contraception and birth control pills are only 99% effective.

So recognizing these facts, is it fair that two individuals engaging in mutually agreed upon sex have the right to violate the property rights of another human life? What justice is served if a law protects its citizens equally?

If we conclude that a fetus qualifies as human and that all humans should be protected equally under the law abortion in its current form should be banished.

Forced Labor: A Thirteenth Amendment Defense of Abortion

Andre Koppleman argued in his paper “Forced Labor: A Thirteenth 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.” [6]

This argument gets to the root of many women’s rights activist I have encountered. There is a strong belief that a woman should not be forced to remain pregnant if she does not want to. For a group concerned with equal rights – this logic has never made sense to me.

This logical leap does not consider the property rights of the very life in question – the child. Does the woman’s supposed constitutional right of “involuntary servitude”, a.k.a. pregnancy, supersede the right to life of the child? Especially if the women voluntarily engaged in an act that is known to cause pregnancy (sex).

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” [6] is involuntary servitude and the parents should have the right to dispose of their children at any point it becomes convenient. No one makes that arguing though – the moral and lawful implications are somehow more obvious after a child has been born then while it remains in the womb. The lack of logic in this type of argument is astounding.

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 and selfish.

The laws that allow for abortion only support those individuals who are too selfish, afraid, or ignorant to accept the consequences of their actions. This includes both mothers and fathers.

Children are not private property of the parents.

Defenders of abortion seem to believe an unborn child is the private property of the parents. But the truth is that no human being belongs to any other human being.

history has taught us 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 black Americans, “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.” [7]

Almost 200 years later we can clearly see that ideas like this are a gross violation of property rights, the constitution, and morality. Surely even the most devout proponent of abortion would agree. However, we somehow justify treating an unborn child as property; not depriving them of only their liberties, but also their life.

Abortion is wrong, ancient, and barbaric.

Accepting Responsibility

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? When do we stop punishing those who are merely the innocent bi-products of a consensual deed?

Our law was created to protect the innocent and uphold the rights of every individual who falls under the jurisdiction of the United States Constitution. It’s time to stop living a lie and admit that despite our desires to pass the buck or avoid the inconveniences of our actions we are responsible for our deeds and cannot morally or lawfully punish the innocent to exalt ourselves.

Sources:

1. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html

2. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/clinic/wars/cases.html

3. Jefferson, Thomas, ed. (June 1776). “Declaration of Independence: Jefferson’s draft as amended and accepted by Congress”. United States Library of Congress. Scanned image of the Jefferson’s “original Rough draught” of the Declaration of Independence, written in June 1776, including all the changes made later by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and other members of the committee, and by Congress.

4. Liberty Defined, by Ron Paul, New York, Grand Central Publishing, 2011, 352 pages, hardcover.

5. Moore & Persaud, The Developing Human, p.310; Nilsson & Hamberger, A Child is Born, p.86; Rugh & Shettles, From Conception to Birth, p.217

6. http://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1031&context=facultyworkingpapers

7. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h2933.html

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8 thoughts on “Chapter 1: Abortion

    1. Atticus Post author

      I feel like an idiot. Thanks for the catch.

      Also, I think Ron Paul is a decent source – not because I agree with him on most things, but because he was an OBGYN.

      Reply
  1. Holden

    People are inherently selfish and will typically always act in their best interest over another. This is the reason I think women have abortions.

    Remove all other attempts to logicize whether it is moral or not, OK or not.

    Reply
    1. Atticus Post author

      Yes – but something unique in humans is that we have the ability to sacrifice our own self interest for the sake of doing what’s right. If we can eliminate the illusions and justifications for abortion maybe it will enable humans to make better choices.

      Reply
  2. philebersole

    The key question in abortion is when does life—human life—begin. My approach to answering this question is to think about when human life ends.

    My belief is that my life ends when my mind and brain start to function. If I am brain dead, there is no point in keeping my physical body alive. There is nobody home.

    If that is the case, then human life—as distinct from biological life—begins when there is a conscious human mind. This is something that happens before birth, but after conception.

    I think the distinction between the three trimesters of pregnancy in Roe v. Wade makes sense as a matter of social policy—a right of abortion in the first trimester, no right of abortion in the third trimester, difficult choices in between.

    I would be very interested in comments by women on this post.

    Reply
    1. Atticus Post author

      I think that’s a good point, Phil. But I still have trouble reconciling having an abortion earlier in the pregnancy (such as I described).

      I asked my wife about this and she agrees – but she is more conservative in a religious context than I am so that’s no surprise. She is pregnant right now and had an immediate attachment to the baby as soon as she found out she was pregnant.

      I’d be interested to see what other women would have to say.

      Reply
  3. Rattlesnake

    This is great. I completely agree with you and I think you made your argument well.

    I would argue that life begins at conception, because the fetus (and even the zygote) is a distinct organism with its own human DNA. Therefore, it is a human, and it has the right to life. While this is conceptually difficult to accept, but that seems to me like the most likely place at which life begins.

    Anyway, there are some mistakes.

    There have been 50 million lives ended by abortion, 50 million mothers, and another 50 million fathers. That is 150 million lives touched by abortion in America alone.

    You are assuming that every mother has only had one abortion, and that every father has only had one of his children aborted. Unless there are specific statistics on this, you can’t know many lives have actually been affected.

    To quote a story from Dr. Ron Paul’s book “Liberty Defined” regarding abortion Dr. Paul says:

    Here, “Dr. Paul says” is redundant and this is a run-on sentence anyway (not technically, but I don’t know what the name is for your particular error, so that will do).

    If we conclude that a fetus qualifies as human and that all humans should be protected equally under the law abortion in its current form should be banished.

    There should be a comma between “law” and “abortion.”

    Also, you misspelled “supersede” in one of the subtitles and “byproduct” in the second to last paragraph.

    Reply

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