Thursday, December 15, 2005

My individualist take on abortion

I used to feel undecided on the abortion issue. Yet I've gradually come to the understanding that abortion rights are a necessary part of our right to our own bodies. If the government controls a woman's womb, then nothing stops it from controlling the rest of our bodies.

Every single argument I've seen against the legality of abortion is pitiful, and could be answered by a smart 6 year old.

"Abortions are disgusting" - So are many other things in life. Shitting is disgusting. Does that mean we should outlaw shitting ?

"Abortions only exist because people are irresponsible" - That may be so in many cases (not all of them by far), but government does not exist to stop irresponsibility.

"Abortion is murder" - Murder presumes the existence of a person that is being killed.

"After a certain stage, a foetus is alive, therefore it is a person" - A bacteria is alive, but we don't give it names or judge it in a court of law when it kills someone. Life is not nearly sufficient for personhood.

"A foetus is a potential person" - Potentiality has no relevance to the discussion. We're not talking about aborting it in the future, after it's born - we're talking about the present.

"Abortion is un-Christian" - There is no verse in the Bible against abortion (as if we cared anyway).

"Saying that a foetus is like an intruder is cruel and mean" - Yea, whacha gonna do about it ? Whine whine whine.

Yea, I've heard them all before, and now I think they are absolutely mindless. Anyone who thinks any of these arguments have any validity is a blinded fanatic or a big fat liar. I must appear very close-minded to an anti-choice advocate, but the time when I thought such a position was defendable is long gone. Between fundamental human rights and someone's feeling of disgust, it's not hard to figure out which one I'm going to choose.

To me, the clincher is the notion that making abortion illegal promotes irresponsibility. I can't make sense of such arguments except as an outright attack against some women's value systems. Abortion is only "irresponsible" because the laws and public opinion have made it so, so this kind of rhetoric is ultimately a circular argument.

The only reason why there is an abortion debate at all, is because religious fanatics have bamboozled everyone into believing that abortions are morally wrong. Once you believe that something is wrong, you will fight it no matter what evidence is presented to you. Anti-choice fanatics are anti-choice fanatics because they sincerely believe that abortion is wrong. We need to get the idea out there that controlling another person's body - that is to say, slavery - is morally wrong. It's sad that we have to reiterate the obvious, but that's the state we're in.

The notion that the father has any say on an abortion is evil. Enslaving a person's choices to other people is the antithesis of freedom. Parental notification is also evil, although not for the same reason. It is evil because parents have no right to know, and try to pass such laws in order to exert greater control over their children. Being against parenting, especially when it is used as a tool of control, I cannot agree with any measure that seeks to destroy a child's right to privacy.

Much ado has been made of the study that demonstrated abortion dramatically (by 15-20%) reduces crime. But there is nothing surprising about this. It merely confirms that unwanted children, receiving less attention and education in childhood, tend to grow up as less grounded as wanted children. This in turn shows that when you stifle individual choice, you break the harmony of values that makes parent take the interest of their children to heart.

Likewise, this causation is not a good argument for abortion rights, and it would be stupid to take it as such (not that it would convince a fanatic who thinks abortion is morally wrong anyway). Killing every single person on Earth ever found guilty of a crime would lower the crime rate even more, but this has nothing to do with public policy. We should always guard ourselves from falling into utilitarian justifications for issues which are philosophical in nature - and remember that utilitarian benefits are the consequence, not the nature, of good policy.

19 comments:

Suicidolt said...

actually, statistics show that the majority of abortions are just irresponsibility:
http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/abreasons.html
irrelavent, I argue that killing a human being is murder. At some point, we don't know when, that fetus is a human being. Until we find that point, I'm gonna play it safe. Better safe than sorry with human life. The Right to Life is first on the list.

BlackSun said...

Francois, though I largely agree with you, I believe the question also hinges on the sentience of the fetus. Prior to the point of sentience, abortion is not ethically different than a woman clipping her fingernails. After the point of sentience, (which would be very hard to establish without a greater knowledge of how the brain produces consciousness), there is no way to avoid the idea that a human being is being killed. So ultimately science will have to resolve this question.

In my post, "The Question of Sentience," I make this argument.

It really doesn't matter whether a woman got pregnant irresponsibly. She should have the right to quick and unconditional access to counselling and abortion if she so desires. The sooner the abortion happens, the less likely it is that a sentient being will be destroyed.

libvscon said...

This is a phony issue.

Abortions will happen regardless of laws, rules, regulations, or any other attempts to limit or control abortions.

The only issue is whether abortions will happen safely or under unsafe conditions.

The rich will always have safe abortions. The poor will not.

Francois Tremblay said...

Sentience is not the issue. You are using facts, which to the anti-choice crowd is completely irrelevant. People will justify killing millions of grown adults and little children if they think it's morally right, so sentience is not and has never been an issue.
They don't care if it's sentient or not, all they care about is controlling women's bodies.

If we're talking about facts and rights, I'd say a woman has the right to abortion whenever she wants. I've written about this on my site objectivethought.com, but that's a different issue. Whatever your stance is on the details, we're on the same side.

Except for "libertarian lobbyist", who is a tool and should get the fuck out of here. Or maybe it would be better to be safe than sorry and kill him, because he might become an evil dictator one day (play it safe, right ?).

Delta said...

I've never really heard a good pro-life argument. Even if it is a human being with some low-level sort of awareness, why should we treat it more lovingly than a dog, cat, chimp, or cow which is much more aware of itself than a fetus is at any stage I would guess. Outside of religion, I don't know that I see a rational reason to value a human life more than another simply because it's human. It makes more sense, at least to me, to evaluate these kind of things along the lines of degree of conciousness and awareness.

Suicidolt said...

Thank you for calling me a tool. Hate the band. Perhaps you shouldn't turn away your friends though. Being a fag doesn't make you right.

Francois Tremblay said...

No no... I meant a tool as in "you have no individual thought and are but a megaphone for the values of the Establishment".

Also, are you okay if I kill you, just to be safe, in case you become a serial killer ?

Darrell said...

"you have no individual thought and are but a megaphone for the values of the Establishment".

Why is it that someone who agrees with "the establishment" is automatically assumed to be incapable of thinking for himself or herself?

Is it impossible to come to a conclusion, both individually and adamantly, that is in agreement with what you see as "the establishment?"

Is it possible that those who hold views that are in agreement with "the counter-culture" are simply tools... megaphones... for the values of another alternative "establishment?"

Is it possible that those who parrot the "counter-culture" line are really the ones taking the easy way out, since counter-culturalism is so safe, so popular, and so marketable in today's society?

In fact, isn't it possible that the anti-establishment sheep are really simply blind consumers of one of the most successful marketing schemes of all time?

Just asking.

Francois Tremblay said...

"Is it impossible to come to a conclusion, both individually and adamantly, that is in agreement with what you see as "the establishment?""

Because the Establishment propaganda is obvious nonsense. What's the probability that a "freethinker" would stay a Christian ? About one half of three quarters of F.A.

Darrell said...

What's the probability that a "freethinker" would stay a Christian ? About one half of three quarters of F.A.

Actually, it tends to happen the other way around... brilliant free thinkers start out as atheists, and, in many cases, convert to Christianity at the height of their brilliance. At the very least, basic Theism has been an unavoidable conclusion for most of the world's brilliant minds. I'd present you with a list of examples as long as my arm, but, of course, that wouldn't persuade you. It seems obvious that you're content with your conclusions. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that they've been drawn with startling brilliance and are steeped in profundity. Cheers!

Francois Tremblay said...

Imagine me rolling my eyes here. Most so-called "conversions" were from frustrated Christians to begin with. And how many of them counted as "brillant freethinkers" BEFORE their "conversion" ? Without them becoming Christian fanatics (or evangelists who pervert the faith, like C.S. Lewis), we wouldn't know about them.

You're an idiot.

BlackSun said...

You are right that the anti-choice crowd has never cared about the facts. I keep forgetting that, when I try to boil the subject of abortion down to a reasonable discussion. Thanks for setting me straight.

Oh, BTW, when I tried to make the sentience argument over at the Progressive Blog Alliance, everyone thought I was anti-choice. So much for nuance.

Aaron Kinney said...

Actually, it tends to happen the other way around... brilliant free thinkers start out as atheists, and, in many cases, convert to Christianity at the height of their brilliance.

Actually, many many more do just the opposite, if you want to use an argumentum ad populum approach.

Suicidolt said...

For the record, I'm a pro-life (pro-nuclear weapons) buddhist libertarian. So much for being a megaphone for the establishment

Francois Tremblay said...

"I'm a pro-life (pro-nuclear weapons) buddhist libertarian."

Buddhism is collectivist. And you're not pro-life, you're anti-choice (pro-life is our side). You can't be anti-choice and libertarian.

So you contradict yourself TWICE. Then again, as a Buddhist you reject logic, so why would you care ?

Francois Tremblay said...

If you think you're a libertarian, and yet you support collectivist beliefs, stop coming here. You're only making yourselves fools. This is an individualist blog.

Suicidolt said...

I am very individualist. The difference is, clearly, that you are under the impression that the human being in the womb is not an individual. This is a disagreement. And yes, as buddhist I do seem contradictory. But so do most of your views as an atheist, but no one asks you those obvious questions.

Francois Tremblay said...

I am not arguing with you about this here. You're a Buddhist and anti-choice. You are not individualist.

demonsthenes said...

Nothing you have said has a strong legal basis. How would you argue the Constitutionality of the "right to have an abortion?