Five common errors made by abortion critics

Opponents of abortion (those who oppose a woman’s right to abortion and those think it is merely immoral) typically make five kinds of logical errors:

1: The seen and the unseen:

Abortion opponents see the fetus which was aborted but ignore the good things that the abortion made possible. These include the mother who is free to pursue her life goals and the lives of the children who are born into families that want and are ready for them. The decision to have an abortion is not arbitrary: it’s a choice the mother makes because she believes that she and her future children will have a better life by delaying childbirth. Extensive research confirms that abortion improves the lives of mothers and their future children. More importantly, no one, and certainly no politician is more qualified or morally justified to decide what will lead to a better life for a mother and her family.

A world without abortions is not a world with more children — it is a place with children born to parents who are not psychologically and financially ready for a life-long responsibility. Children who are born to loving parents who welcome them to the world and are prepared to care for them are far more likely to grow up into successful, mature adults. This is why protecting the right to abortion is one of the most effective ways of reducing abortions!

This failure of the imagination is known in economics as the Broken Window Fallacy – we see the economic activity created by the need to repair a broken window, but do not see the goods that can no longer be bought because they were redirected to fix that window. Likewise, we see the children who are products of unwanted births, but we don’t see the children who never had a chance to be born into a family that wanted them. Instead, countries that ban abortion deal with higher rates of single-parent families, poverty, and crime.

2: Genetic determinism:

Abortion opponents equate a human being with his genetic legacy. To them, an aborted fetus represents a lost potential life, with all its richness. But the inherent value of a human life is not determined by our genes, but the interaction of our genes with the environment we grow up in, especially the ideas and culture we are exposed to. A fetus is only a part of the recipe for a human being. A human being is not merely a biological machine, but a rational animal, with a rich internal life. We can argue when that mental existence becomes a possibility, but it is certainly closer to birth than conception.

To take a sci-fi scenario, a fetus grown into a brain-dead grown adult in a vat is not a full human being either. Human beings are the synthesis of biology and culture. Theists often talk of the fetus as having a “soul”, but whether you believe in genes or a mystical essence, the error is the same.

3: Potential vs actual:

A fetus is a potential human being, not an actual one. The ingredients for a cake on a table cannot be called a cake. A seedling is not a tree. A fetus is a potential human being and only becomes one under specific biological conditions.

The distinction is especially clear early in the pregnancy: a blastocyst is a microscopic clump of cells, physically almost identical to the fetus of any other mammal. To say that a bit of protoplasm is a human being ignores the essence of what a person is: an independently functioning rational animal.

A human being can exist without an exclusive biological dependence on a host, intentionally interact with its environment, and possess the basic attributes of cognition. A fetus lacks these attributes. True, a newborn infant is entirely dependent on others for its continued survival, but this is a relationship, not a biological necessity. Virtually everyone in a civilization would soon die without the cooperation of others, but these are contractual relationships, not biological dependencies. A baby can be adopted by a willing family, a fetus cannot.

The moment of birth presents a clear physical, biological, and psychological point when a parasite (as an analogy, not a derogatory term) becomes a metaphysically independent being.

4: Continuum fallacy:

This is the logical fallacy of denying that a distinction exists because there exists a continuum. For example, there is no clear distinction between a stubble and a beard, yet the existence of unclear cases does not invalidate our ability to identify someone with a beard. Likewise, difficulty in identifying the exact instant that a fetus becomes a human being does not mean that there are no clear differences between a fetus (say, a single-celled ovum just after fertilization) and a clear example of a human being (an infant, or you and me).

We can acknowledge difficulty, and err on the safe side for moral or legal reasons, but we need to base our conclusions on facts, not arbitrary religious doctrine. I outlined what I believe are the relevant facts in the “potential vs actual” section above. By contrast, I think that the act of conception meets no reasonable criteria, especially at the beginning of the pregnancy. As I detailed, a fertilized ovum is not metaphysically equivalent to a human being, and only begins to approach that status towards the moment of birth, which firms an unambiguous epistemological and therefore legal distinction. (We can argue about the ethics of late-term abortion, but they are a red-herring in the debate the meaning of conception.)

5: False dichotomy between moral absolutism and subjectivism

A false dichotomy is a false alternative between an either/or situation when an additional position exists. In regard to abortion, the dichotomy is this:
“Women must be responsible for their sexual choices and forced to bear children they do not want in order to preserve traditional marriages, families, morality, religion, or another value. Either we hold people responsible for their choices or anything goes.”

There are two false dichotomies in regard to abortion:

First, there is no fundamental conflict between women leading moral lives, raising families, and observing religious beliefs and the practice of abortion. There is no inherent conflict between these concepts. Of course, some religious groups claim that abortion goes against their tenets, but there is no fundamental conflict between these practices, and indeed many religious groups allow for abortion with no ill effect to their basic tenets. More importantly, there is no fundamental conflict between living a virtuous life and abortion, whether individually or as a society. In Western countries such as Germany, France, and Australia, abortions are widely practiced and accepted, and yet are completely incidental to their moral qualities.

Second, there is no conflict between a lifestyle which separates sexuality from parenthood and healthy, loving, responsible families. Modern society has provided men and women with safe and effective technologies that separate sex and childbirth — condoms, birth control pills, emergency contraception, and as a last resort, abortion. These tools liberate women by allowing them to enjoy fulfilling sexual lives for the first time in human history.

While independent women with sexual agency are a threat to those who wish to force them into their vision of a woman’s role in society, there is no reason that women who desire sex for reasons other than childbirth are incapable of healthy and responsible relationships, marriage, and child-rearing.  Having sex for pleasure without the risk of a lifelong obligation does not preclude women and men from forming healthy romantic relationships.  Even abortion critics must accept this – or require a fertility test before any couple is allowed to have sex or marry.  What about those who are infertile or past menopause?

Allowing women to choose when they are ready to raise a child greatly improves the likelihood of raising children in stable, loving families. Children should not be a sacrificial obligation which women must be forced into, but a personal, selfish choice that parents pursue because it will bring joy and a multitude of other benefits into their lives.

40 thoughts on “Five common errors made by abortion critics”

  1. Very nicely stated! “The moment of birth presents a clear physical, biological, and psychological point when a parasite (as an analogy, not a derogatory term) becomes a metaphysically independent being.” This becomes especially clear to the dad when he is asked to cut the umbilical cord, as I did seventeen years ago, and the doctor was holding what he called the “ugly twin,” the placenta.

  2. Why not infanticide through the sixth month post-birth?

    1. and 2. still apply.
    3. A six month old infant is a potential six year old child who is a potential sixteen year old.
    4. A continuum exists, and birth seems an arbitrary point along it. An infant is still a parasite on its mother (and others) long after birth.
    5. There is no fundamental conflict between women leading moral lives, raising families, and observing religious beliefs and the practice of infanticide through the sixth month post-birth or the sixth year for that matter.

  3. @restonthewind

    Both Tucker and Rothbard held to no prohibition against passive infanticide. In contrast, I would view AoD as a necessary condition for prohibiting passive infanticide and would only arrive at justification for eliminating such a prohibition in the event of forced birth.

    The active/passive distinction for infanticide is rarely addressed by the “pro-life” argument. An obligation to carry a pregnancy to term(that is, a prohibition against active infanticide) is not a sufficient condition to establish a legal parental obligation for the infant’s welfare. So, a mother, if forced to give birth, should then be able to simply get up and walk away after doing so.

  4. @dl1337 Free communities have different standards regarding abortion and infanticide. My only point above is that the five point argument doesn’t justify abortion any more than it justifies a parent’s right to kill a six month old or a six year old.

  5. I could build a case for eugenics on this slippery slope. Determining the value of life passed on probabilities is an awful place to go. Painting abortion as some good act is no more than putting lipstick on a pig.

  6. This article misses the single most important question that people commonly make in any abortion discussion. For some reason, we are so focused on “women’s rights” etc. that the interests of prospective fathers are completely overlooked. It is simply a fact that women do not become pregnant without the involvement of a man. Consent to sex is de-facto consent to possible parenthood, and that consent *should* confer authority as well as acceptance of responsibility.
    Insisting that fathers be responsible (child support, court, jail, etc.) while denying them any authority in the question of abortion (legal or actual) is a denial of rights and a recipe for disaster.

  7. Here’s what most abortion proponents try to avoid admitting: they are choosing to end a human life. The only pertinent question is at what point a human life is worth protecting. From the moment of conception, the science is clear that a human life has begun. We don’t need to wait to see if the pregnant woman is going to birth a fish, cat or groundhog; science tells us only a human being will issue forth, and that from conception to death, the life is human.

    So, it boils down to do we respect life from beginning to end, or do we find some arbitrary point at which human life can be purposely ended with no ethical of moral quandries.

    Having heard the numerous defenses of various wholely arbitrary dividing lines between abortable vs not, I find the reasons noted in this article to be selfishly utilitarian, and quite frankly, monstrous.

    If you don’t want to have unwanted children, don’t engage in unprotected sex…

    1. There are many circumstances in which it is acceptable to end a human life. Self-defense, war, capital punishment, etc. Even assisted suicide is allowed these days. Clearly, the moral dimension wrt any decision to end a human life involves something more than the mere fact that it is a human life. What is the “more” that distinguishes right from wrong in this question?
      I don’t have a simple answer to that one, but I am fairly sure that the answer can be found if we look for it. Any proper examination of this question must start at the beginning – conception. In conception, two people are involved. I would argue that any decision to terminate pregnancy should involve the same two people, but this is strongly opposed because it requires that women accept some limits to their power and feminists don’t like that.

      1. When does society allow the purposeful killing of an innocent person?

        That seems as proper a standard as any for when a mother and a doctor may end a human life…

        1. “When does society allow the purposeful killing of an innocent person?”
          I don’t know about “society”, but generally speaking, government allows it whenever the politicians decide it is allowed. Ask anyone in the middle east.

          1. Innocent foreigners – yes the government engages in that with no qualms.

            The discussion however was about society, specifically American society and not government which is wholly apart from society. Another argument could be made that police forces kill the innocent with few repercussions, but again, that is government.

            When does American society condone the purposeful killing of innocent people by other members of society?

          2. A: Whenever “american society” advocates, votes for, or declines to oppose the killing of innocent people.

          3. You mean when 51% get to set the rules for the other 49%.

            But you assume far too much power exists in the hands of voters. It all exists in the state…

          4. voters are not the issue. The highest law in your land says you have recourse to deal with tyrannical government. If your government is killing innocent people then either you (perhaps grudgingly) agree to let the state do it, or you are advocating revolution.

          5. LOL – one giant non-sequitur.

            Which law says I have recourse to deal with a tyrannical government – specifically?

          6. But far off the question at hand – which is in US society, excluding the government, when do people agree that killing a defenseless innocent is just?

  8. @enemyofthestate Winston, you also have an arbitrary dividing line: the moment of conception. You’re OK with allowing a woman to stop her unfertilized egg from leading to a human birth. Yet once a sperm impregnates that egg you won’t allow a woman to stop her fertilized egg from leading to a human birth.

    1. Arbitrary? Sperm and eggs are tissue. Biology says life starts at conception, ergo a fertilized egg is life no matter the species.

      So the question of when life begins is a matter of basic science. The question of when it may be unnaturally ended is not. It is the subject of ethics, and as such a matter of debate involving the question of whether ones convenience and happiness is a higher priority than another human life…

    2. I understand your question regarding “…allow a woman…”. I don’t have an answer for this yet, but I do have a question for you: Do you see any role in the decision for the man who was involved in the conception?
      In other words, why do we assume that prospective mothers can unilaterally make a decision regarding an outcome that affects another person?

  9. @freeman The man makes an irrevocable decision at the point of conception. The woman may revoke the decision for both for a few months longer. I’m not pregnant, so I don’t decide on the pregnancy. Maybe women shouldn’t have a right to revoke after conception. That’s a separate issue.

  10. @restonthewind having personally been present at few conceptions, and having discussed with other men who have also been present for the same thing, I can assure you with a high degree of confidence that there was NO “irrevocable decision” made or consented to., beyond an acceptance that pregnancy is a known risk of copulation. There is nothing anywhere that says copulation confers absolute unilateral decision-making power over the results. Nor does society (or law) agree that the consequences are solely within the purview of the woman, as any good lawyer or politician will explain. I suggest that what we have here is a feminist-inspired doctrine that posits responsibility for men with absolutely no corresponding decision-making authority. No matter how you slice it, there is a moral problem that ought to be addressed. I suggest that addressing this fundamental obvious problem is a necessary first step on the way to resolving the larger question.

    1. I’m discussing the consequences of your actions, not your thoughts during orgasm. You have practically absolute decision making authority over your procreation. You don’t have the same authority over a resulting fetus, because it doesn’t grow in your body. Lawyers and politicians, feminist-inspired or otherwise, have nothing to do with it. Your predicament after conception is a matter of biology, not politics.

      You should have authority commensurate with your obligations if a woman chooses to carry the fetus to term, IMO, but you’ll never be in a position to choose, because you were born a man. A community might enact “male choice” (no support obligation without consent to the carriage), but I wouldn’t join the community, because a right to a father’s support is the child’s right, not the mother’s, in my way of thinking. I expect few women would join the community either.

      If you want to control your fertility, control it before conception, when nature gives you the opportunity. Nature doesn’t care what you think after. Being born without a womb doesn’t make you a victim of the choices of people born with one.

      1. 1) men do not have absolute decision-making authority over procreation. If they did, we would not be having this discussion. The decision, such as it is, is typically a joint decision.
        2) The fetus grows outside the man’s body because of basic biology, but this only happens because a man contributed half of the necessary ingredients. ..but this is not biology class and I expect you understand this part. The point is, location of the fetus is not relevant in the same way that physical location of a business does not determine authority between the two partners who jointly agreed to create it.
        3) “…never be in a position to make the decision, because you were born a man” is a red herring. It would be just as logically correct to say “…never be in a position to own property, because you were born a woman” or some similar discredited idea.
        4) A community might do any number of things, some right and some wrong. History shows that different communities have different conventions, and sometimes conventions change. The question before us is: has our community got this one wrong, and why is it wrong?
        5) A child’s right… you say the child has this right, but I say the child might not. Can you explain how the child acquired such a right, or is it simply an assertion without foundation?
        6) That’s exactly the question, controlling fertility. Men and women equally have the option of abstinence. They both have birth control options, with some differences in reliability and effectiveness. After that, things are different because women have the unilateral option of abortion, whereas men do not.
        7) “Nature” cares nothing about anything… so that’s another red herring.

        Again, a joint consensual agreement to engage in actions that might lead to pregnancy carries obligations as well as authority. A social framework where one person acquires all the authority and can arbitrarily impose even partial responsibility on somebody else, is a recipe for social disaster.

        I suggest that men could have an ‘abortion-like’ option. This would balance the interests of both and ensure that children have fathers who want them. That too might be a “right of the child”, but I await your answer on that question.

        In the alternative, there is the option of “no abortions”, but I suspect that one won’t fly in our community.

        1. 1) A man has practically absolute decision making authority over his own procreation. He makes the decision when he decides to conceive a child with a woman. The conception is almost never involuntary for a man, but we can discuss exceptional cases.

          2) If a man jointly creates a business with another man, he presumably can’t unilaterally terminate the business either. If he jointly creates a business in which he is a passive investor, operated exclusively by the other man, he may lose his investment. If the business uses credit, he may lose his investment and then some.

          3) A man is never in a position to terminate a pregnancy, because he is never pregnant. For a libertarian committed to self-ownership, that’s not a red herring.

          4) In a free society, if you don’t like your community, you find another one. If you want “male choice”, you find a community organized this way, but you may not find many women there. You might leave a woman you’ve impregnated with no support by leaving her community. If you have no other stake in the community, you may have little to lose by leaving. If you own property in the community, you could lose the property, and no other community must accept you.

          In a free society, I expect “male choice” only in a community financing the support of children through fees paid by all members, because I don’t expect women to join the community otherwise. If you want socialized parenting, a free society might offer this option, but I expect few communities to operate this way. A socialized parenting community accepting a member with offspring in another community could and likely would support the child in the other community. Joining such a community wouldn’t relieve you of a support obligation. It would only socialize the obligation.

          5) I wrote, “a right to a father’s support is the child’s right, not the mother’s, in my way of thinking.” “In my way of thinking” describes my preference. I can’t “prove” preferences. I would join a community organized by this principle, and I would not joint a community organized by a “male choice” principle. Again, you may organize a community respecting “male choice”, but you may not force women to join it.

          6) Again, a woman in a free society (a society respecting self-ownership) has the unilateral option of abortion, because pregnancy occurs only in her body. This fact is biological, not political. Self-ownership is the political principle here. At, I take self-ownership for granted.

          7) “Nature doesn’t care” is a figure of speech rather than a red herring.

          In my neck of the woods, a joint agreement to engage in procreative actions carries an obligation to support the product if the pregnant partner does not terminate the pregnancy. This framework does not give all authority to the pregnant party. It only gives her a few more months to decide while the male party anxiously awaits her decision. The male party’s anxiety is understandable, but the female party is clearly anxious as well, so I’m not seeing the terrible inequity.

          We can discuss your “abortion-like” option if you specify it. I understand “male choice” and have already addressed it. “Male choice” is not particularly “abortion-like”, because no child exists after an abortion, but a child may exist after a man refuses support.

          1. 1) You appear to be conflating “agreement to copulation” with “agreement to procreation”. I suggest that a significant number of procreation events are unintended consequence of copulation, and in those cases the male participant did not explicitly consent to procreation and has zero options regarding procreation.
            2) In fact, anyone can unilaterally withdraw from a business partnership.
            3) many libertarians, including me, do not see “self-ownership” as a legitimate idea. It’s rather like a kindergarten analogy, to give newbies the flavor of what is being discussed until such time as they learn more.
            4) In a civilized community, people are not arbitrarily forced to accept obligations simply because somebody else said they must.
            5) You still have the problem of explaining where you think this “right” comes from. Referring to your “personal opinion” as “a right” is simply nonsense, and you should withdraw the assertion if you can’t back it up.
            6) Appealing to “self-ownership” won’t help your argument because “self-ownership” (or ownership of anything) requires that the owned thing is property of some sort. Unless, of course, you wish to make the claim that people are property. Do you?
            7) Exactly.

            Agreement to copulate is *not* the same thing as agreement to procreate. An agreement to engage in procreation should carry mutual obligations and mutual authority. In my neck of the woods, it doesn’t. It carries obligations for men and authority for women, which causes a lot of problems for men and the affected children.

            The key factor here is “consent to procreation”, which basically means consent to assuming parental responsibilities. The objective of abortion is to avoid those parental obligations. There is no similar option for men who wish to avoid parental obligations, but there could be. I would argue that there should be, for the reasons previously mentioned.

          2. 1) Actions have consequences. Agreeing to copulate is agreeing to conceive if the copulation leads to conception. Agreeing to conceive is agreeing to procreate unless the woman chooses to terminate the pregnancy. Even if a father has no support obligation, if the woman does not terminate, he has procreated.

            Options to avoid conception and subsequent procreation include fellatio and careful use of a condom, at least. 2 > 0

            2) Withdrawing from a business partnership can have consequences.

            3) If you reject self-ownership, we likely have no basis for agreement.

            4) Community standards impose obligations routinely. Again, in my way of thinking, you may exit a community requiring you to support a child, but other members of the community may then decide no longer to respect your property in anything subject to the community’s standards, and other communities need not accept you as a member while you refuse support. You might find a community governed just as you like, but you may not force women to join.

            5) The standards I prefer come from my head. If you and I contract, terms of the contract and our contractual rights are our personal preferences. In a free society, community standards are terms of a contract accepted by community members.

            6) Yes, people are property of some sort. For a libertarian of my sort, property in oneself is inalienable. Children are also property of their parents. “Property” in this sense does not mean that parents may do anything they like with their children. It means that a parent’s authority over a child is bound by standards of propriety. Property in a thing is the right to govern it properly, not a right to exploit it without limit.

            I agree that procreation should involve mutual obligations and authority. I’m not defending family law in your neck of the woods or in mine. I prefer a community respecting strong parental rights and obligations, including an obligation of both parents to support their children and to support one another in their children’s interests.

            Women have options to avoid parental obligations unavailable to men, because they have rights to their own bodies and their bodies become pregnant. Until we have artificial wombs, procreative equality is not possible. If you only want hedonistic sex without the risk of procreation, homosexuality is an option.

          3. 1) You will have to explain that one. If I agree to travel with a friend to Africa, that does not mean I have agreed to be infected with malaria. I might get malaria, but that would be an unintended consequence and no blame attaches to the friend for inviting me.
            2) Withdrawing from a business partnership has no consequences. You won’t be fined or jailed or dragged into court for that.
            3) I simply do not agree that people are property. There is plenty of room for dis/agreement on many other matters in addition to this one.
            4) communities that impose standards on dissenters are known as “tyrannies”. If you are advocating tyranny then I suppose you are right about “no basis for agreement” because I won’t agree to tyranny of any type.
            4a) If these standards are , as you say, a contract and adhere to the rules of contract then anyone is free to accept/or reject the terms of the contract without penalty or threat of retaliation. Contracts are not legitimate if signed under duress. As it happens, I agree with you that they are a matter of contract – real contracts, not coerced.

            What you seem to be suggesting is that killing an unborn child is acceptable (for women) but men are not allowed to simply walk away if they choose. Your argument in favor of that position is that “women have a right to their body”. Do they not grant some access to that body and invite a man to take certain liberties, and don’t they have every right to do so? Having extended that invitation, doesn’t that mean they must accept the consequences, which is a child who (like it or not) is 1/2 formed from the tissue of the man? Wasn’t it his sperm and doesn’t he “own” it (according to your rules, anyhow)? Using your “self-ownership” argument, wouldn’t he have rights to the disposition of his body parts (sperm) and anything done with it (impregnation)? According to your “self-ownership” idea, he must “own” half the fetus and can do as he pleases with his half. And the same goes for the woman.

          4. 1) Yes. If you travel to a region where malaria is common, you risk being infected with malaria. If you have unprotected, receptive, anal sex with a man known to be infected with HIV, you agree to be infected with HIV. Little in life is certain. If taking a risk is not accepting responsibility for the consequences when you roll snake eyes, the whole idea of personal responsibility is nonsense. The friend’s invitation is a non sequitur.

            2) Withdrawing from a business partnership may not recover your investment in the business or relieve you of responsibility for its debts. If you simply stop paying the debts or contributing to the payments as required by the partnership, you can be dragged into court. If I don’t pay my wife’s debts, incurred during the marriage, I might be dragged into court, even after divorce.

            3) I won’t bicker over semantics. You may use “property” however you like, but the substantive point remains.

            4) Voluntary communities do not impose standards, but no one is entitled to membership in a voluntary community. Again, you can have a “male choice” community, but if women don’t join, it might as well be a gay community.

            4a) Contracts are not always written. If you enter a community, you accept the obligations of membership while you remain, regardless of any signature. Again, I’m discussing a hypothetical, libertarian community here, not the state in your neck of the woods.

            I never say anything about the acceptability of killing an unborn child. It’s a separate issue. If abortion is illegal, my position is unchanged, and I would join a community prohibiting abortion among its members.

            A woman inviting you to copulate with her is agreeing to risk conception with you. Walking away doesn’t change the fact that the child is your progeny. Walking away doesn’t change the fact that you have procreated. That it began with a union of your sperm and her egg doesn’t change the fact that it’s a human being distinct from both of you.

            If I swallow your sperm, you may not cut my belly open to retrieve it. I wouldn’t join a community respecting this standard anyway. If you impregnate a woman, you have gifted your sperm to her and ultimately to your progeny. Practically every voluntary community with female members would respect this standard.

            When you have sex with a woman, do you inform her that you reserve the right not support her or the child if she becomes pregnant? She could then choose to copulate with you on these terms or not. If a community honors this contract, in writing, are you satisfied?

          5. 1) I defer your greater experience of anal sex, but the question at hand is not risk – it is: what is the division of responsibility where there is agreed risk between two parties.
            2) There is no penalty for withdrawing from a business partnership. Contractual obligations are a separate matter.
            3) “property” is not semantics, especially when that word is applied to people. Do you wish to continue applying it to people?
            4) “Communities” exist simply by virtue of shared values among the members. Where people agree on conventions, morals, laws etc. (or agree to disagree) then “community” exists between them.
            4a Contracts require only “a meeting of the minds”. It can be helpful to write down the terms, but it is not necessary for perfectly valid contract. In any truly “libertarian” community, all obligations are created “by consent” and not imposed by force or threat of force.

            It is true that if you swallow my pocket watch, I cannot cut you open to retrieve it but it is also true that you do not magically acquire ownership of my property simply because it resides in your gut. Same for fetus.

          6. Great debate… I am particularly fascinated by comments made by Mr. Wiebe to argue against a male role in conception.

            I can’t avoid imagining a young fellow in court arguing that he is not obligated in any way to provide financial support to his new born child… “Your Honor, respectfully, I suggest that you appear to be conflating ‘agreement to copulation’ with ‘agreement to procreation.’ I had no intention of procreating, and clearly was simply enjoying the copulation with this really hot chick. Further, I did not in any way, verbal or written, explicitly consent to procreation. In fact we never even discussed children, I don’t even know her full name. It’s obvious that I had absolutely no options with regard to procreation since I was just having fun for the night and there was no agreement to anything lasting longer than 10 minutes.”

          7. In the current legal/political climate, such an argument in court would fall on deaf ears. There is no legal option for a man to avoid financial responsibility for an unwanted child. Similarly, there is no legal option for a man to interfere with an abortion even if he accepts full financial responsibility. In fact, there are no options whatsoever for a man in our legal system – he is simply to do as he is ordered.

            Contrast that with the result for a woman in an abortion clinic, where she has the power of life and death, with the option of ZERO parental responsibility.
            Which leaves the question, if the woman involved has ALL the legal/political authority then why does she not also have ALL the responsibility?

            How is it that our legal/political system strips men of all family-related authority while simultaneously demanding they bear the bulk of the responsibility? Who are you, or the courts, or anyone, to inflict your views regarding “male authority and responsibility” on people you do not know and have no legitimate authority over? Where does your authority to do that come from? Isn’t this simply an imposition by force?

  11. @enemyofthestate We are speaking about the US? I thought this was a discussion of abortion.
    1) I am not a citizen of the US and do not live in the US. Welcome to the internet.
    2) people in the US should be able to answer a question regarding when it is allowable to kill innocent people. Your government does this, as does nearly every other government in the world.

    1. 1) I’m concerned only about the US. You and the rest of the world are free to do as you please in your own countries.

      2) When does “my government” allow the killing of innocent people? To my knowledge, it does not, but you may be privy to info I’m not…

  12. 1) Political divisions determine geographic areas of authority, not moral matters of right and wrong. Something considered morally wrong in the US is also morally wrong in Canada.
    2) Middle east. Vietnam. Horoshima and Nagasaki. Need I go on?

  13. I used to be as sure as the author of what I thought. Then my wife and I had in-vitro twins (we were a bit old), and I got to know very intimately the process of conception and development in a womb. I agree that a blastocyst is not a human being, but I will never again say the same about a 3 month fetus. When we lost them the first try, we were devastated. They were human beings.

  14. Great discussion, but the issue of life at conception was dropped too soon. As a libertarian issue, if life begins at conception (as I believe it does) then there are three parties involved, not two. The fetus/baby/person has a property right in himself and the right not to be agressed against without some process of law. What we have now is lethal agression without due process or advocacy on behalf of the fetus. Libertarian principles can allow this only if a fetus is determined not to be a human being. The next step would be to determine when this thing is, in fact, a person.

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