Friday, September 18, 2009

Do women have the right to control their own bodies?

The problem I have with most pro-abortion people is that they are stunningly hypocritical. While they speak from one side of their mouths about a woman's right to control her own body when she wishes to get rid of an unwanted fetus, from the other side they deny her the right to control her own body in a thousand other circumstances.

If a woman's body belongs to her, then she has the right to exchange sexual favors for money, she has the right to be photographed however she likes, she has the right to either take or refuse any drugs, medicines, vitamins, and foods (natural or unnatural) that she chooses. She has the right to refuse or consent to medical treatments according to her own medical and moral beliefs. She has the right to give birth how and where she chooses, attended by persons of her own choosing. She has the right to defend her own body and her own life from aggressive attack. She has the right to use her own time, talents, and energy to earn property, and the right to dispose of that property according to her own values.

In fact, one of the only circumstances where a woman's right to control her own body can be legitimately questioned is the circumstance of pregnancy, where another human being depends on her body for its life. What rights, if any, does that unborn human have? When there is a conflict of interest between a woman and her unborn child, they cannot both win.

The thing that is so disturbing in the anti-liberal pro-abortionist position is that it denies a woman all ownership rights over her own body except in that one circumstance where there is an obvious conflict with the rights of another human being, i.e., abortion.

Thus, the term "pro-choice" to describe this position is absolutely inaccurate. The term should be "pro-abortion" or "anti-fetus." These people are not pro-woman, pro-choice, or pro-freedom in any way.

I know that many different types of people support a woman's right to control her own body, even at the expense of an unborn child, and I am not painting all of these people with the same brush. Those who are consistently libertarian, and choose to come down on the woman's side in any conflict of interest between herself and a fetus, are not being inconsistent or hypocritical.

But if the right to abort a baby is the only woman's right that you support, and you would deny her the right to make choices about her own body in a thousand other circumstances, then calling yourself pro-choice, or even liberal, is just a bald-faced lie. The accurate name for you would be pro-abortion, anti-choice authoritarian.

And the rest of us have to wonder, what are these pro-abortion authoritarians really all about? Given that they're hypocritical enough to call themselves "pro-choice," it's very unlikely that they're ever going to answer this question honestly. It might be interesting to ask, but we won't expect a straight answer.

My best guess is that most of the pro-abortion crowd are really about population control, at least for those who support abortion rights within the context of socialist authoritarianism. They have no problem with large populations of tax-slaves working for the enrichment of political elites; they just don't want too many slaves. Their agenda is simply to thin out the population of slaves to a more manageable level by encouraging the slaves to choose abortion for themselves. If the agenda of the power elite changes, they will just as easily support mandatory, forced abortions, or perhaps outlaw abortion and switch to mandatory, forced pregnancies.

Anyone who disagrees with this speculation should at least come up with another explanation for the fact that these pro-abortionists have no interest in other libertarian issues, nor the slightest regard for the rights of the unborn.

On the abortion issue itself, I would just say this: Roe vs. Wade, while generally viewed as a really bad piece of case law, and hated by extremists on both sides, seems to represent something close to an American consensus. An embryo aborted in the first trimester may indeed have a beating heart, but it is not yet a sentient being and does not suffer any pain. The pregnant woman has at least a month to make a decision about whether or not to carry through the pregnancy. In all it seems to me like a reasonable compromise between the rights of the woman and those of the fetus when the woman truly does not want to bring the pregnancy to term. To me, both extremes have unacceptably inhumane results.


  1. It's a species thing, human at conception. Even though they might grow up to be a twisted, perverted, sociopathic politician or other molester.
    Perhaps some diligent upbringing in a nurturing environment can help?
    Anyhow it's not a rat, or snake; it's a people. IF it's possible for birth, isn't that the will of a god? It's growing. The program is running. You don't have to press one for English, just don't hit delete!

  2. Well said. Hypocrits don't understand logic.
    When I came to your blog I thought I was looking at my own!

    You and your husband are doing a great work! I forward your unassailable logic to many, many people.

  3. Very well said, Tessa! I have often wondered why those who claim to be "pro-choice" when it comes to abortion are not pro-choice on most other issues. I also want to tell you how much I have admired your courage over the years in opposing the tyranny sweeping across this land (my husband and I subscribe to Larken's e-mail updates and can relate to some of the sacrifices you both made for the cause of freedom). In case you're interested, here's my blog:

  4. Very good post. I don't like abortion, personally, but I also don't like authoritarian control or "laws" based upon emotion rather than fact.

    Almost no one really believes a fertilized egg is a person, but almost no one denies that an 8-month pregnant woman doesn't contain a person. The real dividing line is somewhere in between those two points. In the case of a reasonable doubt, I tend to side with the woman's right to make the decision.

  5. What about taking responsibility for conception? Only a very tiny percentage of abortions happen because of pregnancy due to rape. So it can reasonably said of all those other "unwanted" pregnancies that they are the result of carelessness and self-indulgence. If a woman chooses not to have a child, she can consciously prevent conception either by using one or more of a vast array of possible contraceptive methods or by abstinence. I'm all for freedom to do with one's body as one chooses, with the understanding that with that freedom comes responsibility, especially where another life is involved.
    As individual uniqueness is a much more defining criterium of specifically human life than is independent viability, conception is surely the moment when a human life begins.

  6. Just finished reading your article about women’s rights. Generally, very good. I agree with your proposition that women have the rights suggested and more.

    As to your proposition that “the only circumstances where a woman's right to control her own body can be legitimately questioned is the circumstance of pregnancy, where another human being depends on her body for its life”, I have some concerns.

    There is a school of thought that suggests that: 1) The soul is the animator of the human body. 2) The fetus is strictly a biological mass prior to the soul inhabiting the body. 3) The soul enters the body at birth with the first breath. Unfortunately, with today’s technology, this thesis cannot be fully resolved. On the other hand, it also cannot be strictly resolved that the soul inhabits the body at any other specific moment. It should be noted, however that the idea of the soul inhabiting the body at birth is not a novel concept; it is really quite ancient. What did the ancients know that we don’t?

    It seems to me that the biological mass of the fetus must reach a certain point of development before it can house a soul. So what is that developmental point? The formation of the first cell? The end of the first three weeks? The end of the first or second trimester? My guess: the moment of birth and first breath. I would imagine that this is what the period of gestation is all about: developing the biological mass of the fetus to the point that it can breath and can house a soul. This would seem to be the reason the fetus is entirely dependent upon the mother and is inside the mother’s body prior to birth: to reach sufficient biological maturation for “life”.

    If we accept the idea that the fetus is strictly a biological mass prior to birth, can it be said that it is a human being with attending rights? I don’t think so. In that event, can it be said that “the only circumstances where a woman's right to control her own body can be legitimately questioned is the circumstance of pregnancy, where another human being depends on her body for its life”? I don’t think so.

    I have a problem with the idea that there is any circumstance in which a woman does not have full rights to her body, how she uses it, etc. To me, the idea of an exigent circumstance wherein a woman doesn’t have full rights or control is illogical, inconsistent and abhorant. It flies in the face of a woman’s humanity.

    Thus to suggest that there is an exigent circumstance is to suggest that a woman really doesn’t not have full rights, as you describe, which is an idea probably originating with the religious concept of woman being subservient to man. I do not accept such a premise.

    I believe your original proposition of a woman having full rights, with no exigencies, is fully correct and can be no other way.

  7. Thanks for all your thoughtful responses to my post. I am really trying to write a response to all these comments, but I find that I really hate the topic of abortion. And I also know that that's no excuse for not thinking about it. So I may have a response for y'all soon.

  8. Well, I was with you until the last paragraph.

    Once conceptions occurs from the woman's choice of the sexual act, there is another human in development. Call it what you will, an embryo, baby, etc, it is a human being in development. What gives another person a right to abort that development in the body of the mother or out? Of course there will always be the debate from people when a human life is "sentient" and okay to abort when it is an inconvenience to the person responsible for that life.

    Whether you are a religious person and take God at his word, "I knew you before I formed you in the womb",(1) or an atheist you can't get around that you are stopping, yes aborting a natural process of your own child from developing from a choice you made when the one developing is most vulnerable and needs the mother's protection the most to go on existing. To say there is no pain is irrelevant and legitimizes termination on whether it is okay to end life by another's choice simply if it is done humanely. I guess this is where people like Obama could reason and votes accordingly ...I don't remember the pain of my own birth so if I was left to die at birth then that should be the choice of the mother also.

    What does it say about the human race and the freedom of all, including the unborn, when we abort our own at any time after our choice to have sex with the possibility to conceive? And rape? Why should that life be termininated. Is that life any less valuable? It is a human life and needs the love and protection of its mother at least until parents willing to adopt are found? James Roberson, an evangelist, who's ministry is feeding thousands of kids all over the world was conceived by rape. What does the rape have to do with the life that came from it and the freedom it deserves?

  9. For me, one of the major differences between anarchists and statists is that anarchists take full responsibility for their use of violence. So questions of "law" -- which separates and obscures violence from those who promote it -- become questions of "when would YOU pick up a gun and stop this person from doing what they're doing?"

    I agree with much of what people are saying on both sides of this issue. The real question is: at what point do YOU think it's right to hold a gun to a woman's head and put her in a cage to force her to finish out a pregnancy that she does not want? If you recoil from the thought of EVER doing that, then you must accept abortion on demand up to the point of birth as "legal" in your worldview.

    If you accept the other extreme - then NO amount of suffering on the woman's part justifies killing an embryo/fetus at any point of development, all the way back to the point of conception. A woman who attempts to have an abortion should be locked up for the duration.

    If you accept the first option as "legal" for you, all that means is that you won't use violence to force a woman to do what YOU believe is right. It doesn't mean that you must stand by and do nothing. You can use all your powers of persuasion to bring her to your point of view, and, if you really care about her baby, you can put your money where your mouth is, and make it as easy as possible for her to bring the baby to term, up to and including rearing that baby to adulthood.

  10. Exactly right on all fronts. Thank you for writing this. On a side note, assuming that not ALL pro-abortionists are population control advocates (though many are subconsciously through the hatred of other people deemed "dumber" than they are, since they need so badly for others to do what they say), I also get a feeling that many pro-abortionists try to argue against the human-hood of the unborn so they can feel better about themselves and sleep at night.

    If they were really secure individuals, they would admit that there is no way to draw a line on when it is/is not a human (as it is still "life") and accept that it IS murder. I choose to accept that it IS murder, but, as you said, disallowing it completely has its own consequences (such as the formation of black markets that would be very dangerous to women, especially teens) that are far worse.

  11. Jayson - Another friend took me to task for the implied assumption that pro-choice statists are interested in population control. I don't think they necessarily are. I think some people believe that our "rights" are permissions granted by the State, and that leaves us all arguing about which permissions should be granted and which should not. These are people who happen to believe that reproductive rights for women are really important, while the specific rights to do zillions of other things are not important.