Cue Card Libertarianism - Abortion
Abortion is frequently a matter of dispute among libertarians, mostly 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.
'Not PC' 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. As Ayn Rand points out, rights can only be held by beings who are capable of reasoning and choosing -- by human beings. A foetus is not a human being; it is a piece of protoplasm, a potential human being but not yet an actual human being.
A mother has rights; an embryo does not. Those who would refuse her the ability to abort her foetus are claiming rights over her body, and are demanding the sacrifice of actual human beings to what is until birth merely a potential.
This is part of a continuing series explaining the concepts and terms used by libertarians, originally published in The Free Radical in 1993. The 'Introduction' to the series is here. The series as it develops can be found here.
To be an actual rather than merely a potential human being is, among other things, to be physically separate -- which a foetus is not -- and to have a brain, which a foetus has not until approximately the third trimester. As Leonard Peikoff has argued, “That which lives within the body of another can claim no prerogatives against its host. Rights belong only to individuals, not to collectives or to parts of individuals.”
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.
LINKS: The sacrifice at the heart of anti-abortion opposition - Peter Cresswell
Abortion rights are pro-life - Leonard Peikoff
The 'Abortion is Pro-Life' website
Cue Card Libertarianism - Rights - Not PC
TAGS: Cue Card Libertarianism, Ethics, Politics, Religion, Objectivism, Philosophy, Rights