The Alabama Governor signed the Human Life Protection Act very recently, what this actually entails is the criminalization of any physician performing the act of abortion, which would lead to a felony. While I profoundly disagree with any legislation which violates the right of individual, it was amusing to see the outrage of the progressive left. I mean, just look at this:
Although the main point was to challenge the precedent of Roe vs Wade, the argument was rather weak and I quote
“If you were a drunk driver and you killed a pregnant woman, you have a double homicide on your hands. We voted as a state to be a pro-life state.”Rep. Terri Collins
But also to note, the legislation does not ban any contraception and women who are not doctors may perform back alley abortion. As per usual, every law has unintended consequences, while the women should take care of themselves, banning all abortion in extreme circumstance although would mean women will resort to other, more dangerous means to get rid of the foetus. Abortion is a really critical topic, although most people don’t seem to care one way or another, it raises an interesting divide amongst people on the right. There are so many views, but I think 4 of the solutions are probably the best we have to protect freedom, which I shall explore.
Humans are rational animal, from Aristotelian point of view, what distinguishes us from other animals is the ability of make (rational) choices, thus, free will. Now, we do not make rational choices 100%, we can act irrationally, but we have the capacity for making these choices. In an Objectivist point of view, a right is
A moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfilment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)The Virtue of Selfishness
It is important to note that the right to life means
that a man has the right to support his life by his own work (on any economic level, as high as his ability will carry him); it does not mean that others must provide him with the necessities of life.The Virtue of Selfishness
When it comes to a foetus, it has no right, as
Rights do not pertain to a potential, only to an actual being. A child cannot acquire any rights until it is born. The living take precedence over the not-yet-living (or the unborn).
Abortion is a moral right—which should be left to the sole discretion of the woman involved; morally, nothing other than her wish in the matter is to be considered. Who can conceivably have the right to dictate to her what disposition she is to make of the functions of her own body?
Rothbard goes one step further, the ethics of liberty means morality is based on the ownership of property, we own our body because it is our property. If a foetus owns itself, then it should not need the support of another for it’s existence, if a foetus is to have the right as a full grown man, then
What human has the right to remain, unbidden, as an unwanted parasite within some other human being’s body?For a New Liberty
But he views a new born as a separate entity with self ownership thus cannot be harmed in anyway. But it does not prevent the abandonment of the child, as if the children has the right of self ownership, hence the term dumpster babies. This ultimately destroys the pro life point since no life is harm in anyway as long as it is alive until birth and Rothbard’s suggestion in Ethics of Liberty of putting children on the market to prevent the tyrannical social workers from dictating who can adopt the child is a solution for this problem. On a side note, there is an argument of that the conception of the foetus is a contractual relationship between the father and the mother, but this is not always the case in the case of rape. Even if we assume this is the case, the responsibility of a cell multiplying inside a woman’s body lies in the women herself. Just as if she has a tumour, parasite or infection growing inside her.
Ownership and responsibility goes hand in hand, you are not responsible for the things you do not own. This is why the further argument is that a child has no right until it is fully independent and capable of supporting itself. Until then, the child or foetus or whatever under the care of the mother is, the property of the mother. The owner of the property can do as she sees fit (this bring in the argument that there SHOULD be a standard of parenting, but who is to mandate and enforce the standard? Unknown, hence it’s not a valid argument). This is the same argument used for animal rights, that the best way to protect an animal is making sure it has ownership. An attack on the animal is an attack on the owner. Now, a baby cannot support itself, thus the baby comes under the protection of the mother as she sees fit. Then some may ask what happens to orphans, well, once again, putting the orphans on the market would be the best solution consider how many people want to adopt but are stopped by the adoption system.
A foetus cannot support itself without the mother, thus forcibly making the mother carry a foetus is, a violation of her liberty. But what if the foetus is allowed to grow outside of her womb? Walter Block came up with the idea that a foetus is an unintentional living being without a volition, if a foetus is able to be evicted from the mother’s womb with the advance of technology and grow from an artificial womb, then people may homestead the foetus if they wish so and claim it as theirs. This way it satisfies both the pro-life groups by not “killing” the foetus and the (classical) liberals for the right to property. While this is dependent on the technology, it is also dependent on the pro life people’s willingness to adopt these unwanted foetuses. It puts pressure back on the pro life groups to follow through with their claims for their own happiness.
In summary, we need to remember that a right is never given, but always fiercely protected. No one has the right to force others to provide for their right, but voluntary protection is not prohibited. Free market and free minds will always be the best solution.