Sunday, 15 May 2005

Cue Card Libertarianism -- Abortion

Abortion is frequently a matter of dispute among libertarians because of conflicting views on the status of the foetus. There is acceptance by both sides that if the foetus is a human being, then abortion is murder, a violation of the right to life, properly to be outlawed.

TFR takes the Objectivist view that the foetus is not yet a human being, but a part of a human being – the mother – who has rights over it. To be an actual, rather than merely potential, human being is, among other things, to be physically separate, which a foetus is not. As Leonard Peikoff has argued, “That which lives within the body of another can claim no prerogatives against its host.”

Thus we uphold the right to abort as part of the mother’s right to ownership of her own body. We do not, however, support state-funded abortion, since anything at all funded by compulsory-acquired money is a violation of the rights of the involuntary funders.


  1. Actually, that's not quite correct - the foetus is actually parasitic on the mother. Research has shown the foetus actively competes with the mother for resources.

  2. That's interesting, so what is Libz answer to this?

  3. I think you can square the parasitic argument with the idea of contract law. Once the fetus becomes aware of itself, which I don't know when happens, then the mother has voluntarily agreed to keep the pregnancy, parasite or not.

  4. Duncan, you said: "..the foetus is actually parasitic on the mother..."

    And so of course is a child. :-0

    Justin, you said: "Once the fetus becomes aware of itself, which I don't know when happens, then the mother has voluntarily agreed to keep the pregnancy, parasite or not."

    Yeah, I can buy that argument. I believe it happens around third trimester.

  5. Oh dear more socialist crap.

    ..the foetus is actually parasitic on the mother..."

    And so of course is a child. :-0

    Precisely. And parasites have no rights. None whatsoever. Liberty can only exist among the free. Parasites, be the foetus, child, or welfare bludger, are not free.

  6. For an argument on the Illiberality of Abortion, demonstrating the flaws in the above reasoning, see Is Abortion Liberal? Part 1
    Is Abortion Liberal? Part 2

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  8. Ask a biologist if a foetus is part of a mother's body. You'll be answered in the negative.

    Just imagine: A woman bearing twins, who (if they are part of her body) has a vagina and two penisses!


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