“Rape and incest is [sic] violence perpetuated against an innocent victim, which of course is also true for abortion since unborn children are innocent but have the ultimate act of violence perpetuated against them.”[Why Abortion in Case of Rape is a Non-Argument]
First, the term “unborn children” is an oxymoron. It is an invalid concept. There are fetuses, which in the first two trimesters, cannot be called “children” because they are not only unconscious, but cannot sustain their own lives once out of the womb. They are the equivalent of appendages in a woman’s body. As an arm or a hand cannot sustain itself without a body, neither can a fetus.
Secondly, abortions are justified in cases of rape and involuntary or forced incest (because not all instances of incest are involuntary) because the victim of a rape owns her own body and it has been expropriated by a rapist. She is left with the unwanted and unjust consequences of that initiation of force on her person. She has a right to dispose of it. Victims of rape do that fairly quickly, and don’t wait until the third trimester or at the 11th hour.
Thirdly, the term “innocent victim” is a redundant term. Being a victim implies innocence. I do get tired of that old sawhorse.
Lastly, being pro-abortion doesn’t necessarily mean one is a leftist trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. I get tired of that argument, too, because it’s so hackneyed and is the usual tactic of “rightists” searching for another crime committed by the left. The left is guilty of a Sears catalogue of crimes, and the last thing they would ever uphold or champion is the individual right of a woman to own her own body. They don’t, and this is a policy or idea shared by left and right.
Writes Dr. Ellen Kenner, “If you have had an abortion and are struggling with guilt – I want you to know that there many individuals who would love to help you see that the guilt you are carrying is totally unfounded.” Read the rest at ABORTION: A MORAL CHOICE.
Women do have the right of ownership of their bodies; unconscious, dependent fetuses do not own the bodies of their hosts. You can argue the subject from an emotionalist perspective – and then it’s not arguing, but just shouting – or you can calm down and examine the issue scientifically, rationally, from a medical perspective. And also argue for getting the government out of the issue entirely. But then we live in a political atmosphere in which the government or society or demagogues claim that everyone belongs to the state and exists for the state. How do you reconcile individual rights and collectivism? You are not doing it here, because it can’t be done regardless of the subject.
And again later, Cline:
What is your attitude towards women as individuals? This latest essay of yours shows a tendency to stereotype women — “Sarah Lawrence grads”, “activists”, poor teenagers with vague “dreams”, etc. — while shifting the focus to the imagery of dead fetuses.
Do you understand why an individual woman may conclude that having children is a poor choice for her on grounds of temperament, ambitions, and other personal preferences? What do you think supersedes that? Why do you conclude that her rights are suspended in the instant she conceives? Are you hostile towards sex for reasons other than procreation? Do you define “human being” in the mystical sense of a “soul” implanted by a god at conception – when it is merely a drop of unconscious protoplasm in a vagina – or are you open to a rational definition?
Do you at least recognize that an impregnated woman may disagree with you about the mystical “soul” and that your faith is not conclusive on the issue?
I ask these questions because your implicit position on women seems to parallel that of Islam, that women are merely to serve as obedient baby-factories whose nature doesn’t permit individual minds, choices, or lives. This emotionalist take on women and in particular the issue of abortion (and perhaps even on contraception) beggars my esteem for you as one of the most rational observers of contemporary issues and culture. You seem to harbor a very serious conflict in premises and conclusions.
In cases of a “botched” abortion, once delivered outside of the woman all efforts must be taken to support the newborn assuming it is viable. This is a far more complex issue to deal with (as opposed to the clear cut case of an abortion, say at one month into a pregnancy). But as in the case of “partial birth” abortions this is a woman’s right.
Here we have in this video (which I watched in its entirety) a woman being literally badgered by politicians asking her loaded questions (e.g., that hoary old chestnut of a courtroom question, “When did you stop beating your wife?”). Every one of them tried to coax out of her a confession that she condones “murder.” Not one queries her about the term or trimester in which an abortion has been performed. Was it at four months? Six months? Seven? Eight? And what is the physical condition of the “baby on the table”? Is it damaged? Is it an unsalvageable “preemie?” Was it going to be born defective, mentally or physically? Is it crying? Is it really a “patient on the table,” as the one snarky lawmaker remarked? There are a multitude of other issues appended to the abortion issue. But obviously the legislators weren’t interested in facts, not even medical facts. They were only interested in indicting the woman and abortionists and women who want an abortion for “murder,” who were all deemed guilty before the hearing convened. This was a witch hunt, not a civil enquiry.
The Ayn Rand Institute has just released the first episode of their new podcast Eye to Eye which focuses on Abortion and Roe vs. Wade.
From their website:
On January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court handed down the decision on the landmark case of Roe v. Wade. With a 7-to-2 majority vote, the court struck down state bans on abortion, prompting a national debate that continues forty years later. That decision — as well the subject of abortion itself — remains divisive. Activists on both sides debate whether and to what extent abortion should be legal, how the Supreme Court shapes the law on issues of constitutionality, and the role of morality and religious views in the political sphere. On this episode of Eye to Eye, ARI’s new podcast, hosts Jordan McGillis and Amanda Maxham sit down with Dr. Onkar Ghate, ARI’s senior fellow, and Tom Bowden, legal analyst, to discuss the political, legal and moral questions surrounding abortion.
Some of the topics covered include:
Ayn Rand’s view on abortion and the Roe v. Wade ruling
The two key issues to focus on are: the nature of a fetus, and the nature of individual rights.
The first issue to grasp is the difference between potential and actual. A fetus is not an actual human being, but is human tissue. A fetus is only a potential human being, just like an acorn is a potential oak tree. That a fetus is potential human being, does not make it an actual one. Once you grasp this point, you need to grasp a much more complex point — which is not self-evident — about the nature of rights.
The second issue to grasp is that rights only apply to actual human beings. Rights only apply to human beings; they apply to human beings because man survives by reason. Men do not survive — at least for long — like animals do in the jungle. Rather then hunting for food like an animal, man grows it. He builds houses to protect himself from hurricanes and storms. He creates clothing to keep warm. He discovers drugs to kill bacteria that may cause him harm. He manufactures refrigerators to keep his food fresh. This is why man has rights — and animals do not — to leave his mind free to think, and his body free to act on that thinking. As a fetus does not use reason to survive; but, rather it survives on the sustenance provided by the body of its’ host, a fetus has no rights, and no need for rights. A fetus has no right to life, liberty, property.
The key issue in this context is that a fetus has no right to be inside the body of another human being, because no such right exists. Yet, this is the only kind of ‘right’ it requires to exist. To grant the fetus such a right, would make its host — the pregnant mother — a slave. Slavery is not a right.
This in essence is the case for a woman’s moral right to abortion: a fetus is not an actual human being, but is only human tissue inside the body of an actual human being. Rights only apply to actual human beings (whether a new born child, or a hundred year old grandfather, or a pregnant woman), as they require freedom to act by the use of their mind.