It would have been logical to think that after the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade on January 22, 1973, the debate over abortion would slowly and gradually disappear as more and more people became reconciled with the idea and the practice. Such has not been the case. Instead of fading out, it seems this issue has become more contentious, especially in recent months as state after state enacts laws either tightening the restrictions or codifying “women’s rights” and access to abortions into law. See these articles.
Why is there so much turmoil in this issue after so many years? What has happened? I cannot say for certain, but my gut feeling is that it is due to the election of Donald Trump and the subsequent placement of Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court bench. If Hillary Clinton had won, I am quite certain that much of this would not be happening. I am also sure that if Trump can nominate and seat another ‘conservative’ judge on the Court, the chances that Roe v. Wade will be revisited go up considerably. I think that the anti-abortion faction smells blood in the water and is pushing the issue, while the pro-abortion lobby smells of fear and is desperately trying to consolidate their position while they can.
Of course, this is only my opinion and, just to avoid any confusion, I want to say that I am not an adherent nor a supporter of either conservative nor liberal politics. I do know the difference between right and wrong, however, and that makes me glad that we are finally seeing some serious movement on this issue. I look forward to the day when abortions are only performed as a last resort because there are no other options, not as a matter of ‘choice’ or convenience as they are today.
Nothing lasts forever, not even ‘settled law’. Sooner or later, the decision-making on abortion will be taken away from the federal government and returned to the states, where it rightly belongs, according to the US Constitution. When, not if, this happens, most of the various states will regulate abortion tightly or prohibit it entirely, while a handful will allow it virtually unrestricted.
Ocean tides flow and they ebb. So do
social and cultural tides. Abortion is one such which has flowed in one
direction for decades. Is it close to reaching its limits? Is social acceptance
changing? I’m beginning to think so.
a major contributor to modern libertarian thought, stresses the “legality” of
abortion in the quote shown below. He appeals to law to validate his claim that
a woman has an absolute right to have an abortion.
“What we are
trying to establish here is not the morality of abortion (which may or may not
be moral on other grounds), but its legality, i.e., the absolute right of the
mother to have an abortion”[iii]
Well, all right, then. Let’s look at this from a legal
perspective. As you will see below, I argue that a fetus is not a trespasser
based on the legal aspect of what it means to be a trespasser. I state
firmly and unequivocally that a fetus CANNOT be a trespasser because there is
no legal justification for the attribute. Trespassing
is a criminal act, punishable by law! A fetus cannot be tried and
convicted, by law, for the crime of trespass, therefore, a fetus is not a
I will go further. Saddling a fetus with the pejorative
label of “trespasser” or “parasite” is nothing more than an
attempt to justify the pro-abortion position. It is in the same class as
calling the fetus “a clump of cells”, “fetal tissue”, “product
of conception”, “blob of protoplasm”, or “uterine content” and seeks
to obfuscate the real meaning of what an abortion is–the deliberate killing of
an innocent, unborn human being.
Dictionary definitions of ‘trespasser’ can be seen here.[iv]
“One who has committed trespass; one
who unlawfully enters or intrudes upon another’s land, or unlawfully and
forcibly takes another’s personal property.”
“In the law of tort, property, and
criminal law a trespasser is a person who commits the act of trespassing on a
property, that is, without the permission of the owner. Being present on land
as a trespasser thereto creates liability in the trespasser, so long as the
trespass is intentional.”
In these descriptions, the emphasis is on unlawful entry,
forceful taking, and intentional action. This is about as far from a newly
conceived zygote or a four-month old fetus as anything could get.
Let’s break this down. Trespassing is a criminal act,
prohibited by law and punishable under law. It is embedded into the legal code.
Trespassing may be done willfully, ignorantly, or mistakenly, but it always
involves the crossing of a previously established boundary. The trespasser
always intrudes on someone else’s space (property) from some other location or
position. If there is no transgression of boundaries, there is no trespass.
To intrude on someone’s property by mistake or out of
ignorance should not be (and usually is not) considered criminal unless damage
is done to the property. More likely than not, trespassers who are confronted
will remove themselves promptly, with the knowledge that behavior of that sort
will not be tolerated. Trespassers who offer a sincere apology will probably be
allowed to vacate the property without any further trouble and that will be the
end of it. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up
anger.” (Proverbs 15:1) An honest, contrite confession of a mistake or
lack of knowledge will go a long way in defusing a potentially violent
An example of this might be that a young woman from the city
visits her uncle, who lives in a heavily forested part of the country. While
there, she decides to venture out and explore the wilderness. Since there are
no fences or signs, she has no idea that she has left her uncle’s property and
is now walking through his neighbor’s forest. The neighbor sees her, confronts
her, and warns her that she is trespassing and must remove herself from the
property. In response to this, she confesses her mistake, asks for direction
back to her uncle’s place, and leaves without further ado.
Under this scenario, the neighbor whose property boundary
was violated would likely do nothing more, unless he called the uncle and asked
him to inform the niece of the property lines. Legally, he probably would not
be able to make a case for the arrest and trial of a young woman who had simply
made a mistake.
Intentional trespass, on the other hand, requires deliberate
action and knowledge. It is done with the understanding that a boundary has
been placed around the property by the rightful owner. The trespasser would
have to consciously violate that boundary without regard for the will of the
owner. Such a violation could and might result in a penalty being assessed
against the trespasser, if the property owner was inclined to push the issue.
Suppose that this same young woman, while walking through
the forest, came to a place where there was a four strand, barbed wire fence,
arrow-straight and fiddle-string tight. In addition, there was a “No
Trespassing” sign fastened to a fence post at fifty-foot intervals. There
could be no mistaking of the intent. This would be a clear indication that she
was not allowed to go any further, under penalty of law. The choice then would
be hers–to obey the injunction and turn back or to willfully climb over the
fence in a deliberate act of trespass, which would be considered criminal if
discovered and prosecuted.
Criminal trespass cannot happen in the case of pregnancy,
because the (supposed, alleged) violator, the fetus, was conceived and has
always existed in the womb[vi].
It originated from within the womb. It has never been anywhere else. It has
never crossed any boundary. How can something, anything, be charged with
trespassing if it began inside the boundaries and never crossed them? The fetus
may be unwanted, but it is not a trespasser. Call it a noxious weed if you
wish, but don’t call it a trespasser. Assert your right to remove weeds from
your “lawn”, but don’t base your claim on trespass law.
Criminal prosecution usually takes the form of arrest,
charge, hearing/trial, verdict, and penalty/release, or some variation of this
process. Every person who is arrested for a crime should be advised of the
charge(s) against him. Not only that, but he should be expected to understand
why he has been charged and what the penalty might be if he is found guilty.
Moreover, he should have a right to counsel and the opportunity to defend
himself. In addition, he should be able to appeal his case to a higher
authority. Or at least this is the way it’s supposed to work.
Trespass is a legal concept. It must be handled in a legal
manner. In order to prove a case of trespass, these steps (at a minimum) must
1. Charge or accusation
2. Hearing or trial
3. Evidence presented
4. Verdict pronounced
5. Penalty imposed or case dismissed.
In a case of (supposed) fetal trespass against a woman, this
will not be the course of action. Consider:
1. No charges or accusations have ever been (nor will ever
be) brought against the “offender”.[vii]
If they were, it would not be able to hear nor understand them.
2. There is no trial or hearing in which the fetus is given
the opportunity to defend itself nor is anyone else appointed to act on its
behalf. In fact, if someone else did make an attempt to speak for it, he could
with a crime himself.
3. The only evidence presented at all is that the woman is
known to be pregnant. There is no evidence presented to prove that the fetus
committed any “crime” of trespass.
4. The verdict is not based on objective proof beyond a
shadow of doubt, but solely on the subjective decision of the woman and anyone
around her who might benefit from the abortion, either financially or
5. The penalty is carried out–execution–without any
possibility of appeal.
“…I’ll be judge, I’ll be jury, said cunning old
Fury. I’ll try the whole cause and condemn you to death.”
Fetal trespass is a misnomer. There is no law directly forbidding
a fetus to reside in a womb or compelling it to vacate the premises. There is
no law which orders a fetus to act in a certain manner regarding the violation
of property boundaries. None. Nada. Nyet. Nein. There never will be. It would
be the absolute height of foolishness to forbid a fetus from trespassing, at
least as much as it would be to forbid a dog from pooping on a neighbor’s front
Identifying a fetus as a trespasser is dissembling. It is
incorrect terminology. In today’s social and political environment, it would be
equivalent to “fake news.” Calling something what it is not in order
to justify a viewpoint is not only false and misleading, it is morally
reprehensible. It is irresponsible at best, deadly at worst.
The counter-argument might be presented that, since the
fetus is not a person[xi],
legally correct criminal proceedings really don’t apply. Even in cases of
non-persons becoming trespassers, however, the law still operates in the same
way. Trespassing is a criminal act and must be treated that way.
Domestic animals, dogs, for instance, can and do leave their
owner’s property and trespass on someone else’s. Sometimes they poop on front
lawns, which is a nuisance. Sometimes they are more aggressive, e.g., killing a
neighbor’s sheep. A tree can (and sometimes does) fall across a property
boundary and cause damage, for example, if it crashes through a neighbor’s
In the case of the tree falling, someone would cut it up,
clean it up, and remove it from the site. If you wanted to imagine it this way,
the tree would be “punished” for its trespass.
In the case of the sheep-killing dog, the dog might be shot
by the shepherd, thus “paying” for its crime. It might be imprisoned
(kenneled, chained) by its owner to keep it from running wild and causing more
so to speak.
However, no matter how much cases like these can be twisted
and contorted, the owner of the dog or the tree is, legally speaking, ultimately
the one who is “charged” with trespass and is forced (restitution,
insurance, etc.) to make things right. Dogs and trees, while able to
“trespass” and cause damage, are not held legally liable. Their
Dogs and trees can trespass on a person’s property, but they
do not understand that they do so. To them, it is a completely natural act.
They know nothing else. It is futile to legally charge them with trespass, so
we take the more rational step of charging their owner, requiring that he make
the situation right and compensating the victim for damages caused.
Some might claim that I have blown my case. If dogs and
trees can trespass unknowingly, then so too can a fetus. This assertion
collapses, however, under the same point that I made earlier–trespass cannot
occur without the violation of a boundary. While dogs and trees can and do
violate property boundaries, the fetus never has. Dogs and trees came across
the line from some other place. The fetus arrived from nowhere and, from the
very beginning, has always existed on the property.
The whole process from sexual intercourse to the realization
that a woman is pregnant can be roughly compared to the appearance of alien
spaceships from (seemingly) nowhere into Earth’s space without warning.
broadcast and blast radio waves into the universe non-stop, sometimes with
the express purpose of catching the attention of other-worldly entities—sexual
know that “intercourse” of this nature might result in the
appearance of a spaceship into Earth’s space and time–possibility of
conception and pregnancy.
understand that this appearance might have repercussions and possibly even
prove fatal—pregnancy which adversely affects the health and well-being of
also understand that the appearance might produce future benefits which we
can only imagine at the time—interaction with the new-born baby.
event that an alien spaceship does appear, we have to make a decision
either to live with it, cooperate with it, and benefit from its presence,
or to use violence to blast it out of the sky and justify that violence in
an attempt to maintain the life we prefer and have become accustomed to,
regardless of the death and damage that might ensue–to abort or not to
The one discrepancy in this comparison is that alien
spaceships, regardless of where they originate, come from another place within
the universe, or for those who are really into it, from some other parallel
universe. Consequently, they can, according to our code of justice,
legally be charged with criminal trespass, found guilty, and
“punished”. After all, it is our
space! How well that might work out remains to be seen.
Unborn fetuses (and this is the pivot of my argument) do not
and never have come from another location. They appear out of nowhere. They do
not exist before they arrive. They spring from nothing. They are
“created” within the womb by the simple joining of an egg cell and a
sperm cell. Before this union, there is nothing but two individual cells. After
that, there is a new human being, who has committed no crime and is completely
innocent of any charge or accusation against it.
If the unborn fetus is not a parasite nor a trespasser, then
what is it? There is only one answer left–a unique, personal, human being
which has been placed, through no action, will, or desire of its own, in a
vulnerable, dangerous position. It deserves all the protection that we can give
it, if we are so inclined. Unfortunately, quite often, we are so NOT inclined,
consequently, it ends up dead.
Koukl has written what I consider to be the perfect sentiment to end this article.
I couldn’t have said it any better.
“A child is not an invader, though, a parasite living
off his mother. A mother’s womb is the baby’s natural environment…One
trespasses when he’s not in his rightful place, but a baby developing in the
womb belongs there.” [xiii]
am not a legal scholar, judge, nor lawyer. I could be entirely wrong about this
whole train of thought, however, I am willing to stick my neck out and stand
according to what I do know and believe to be true. In this sense, I am relying
on common sense and moral justice as my guides.
use the term “womb” to include the entire reproductive system of the female
Martin Armstrong writes this which closely parallels what I have outlined
above. “In law school, they teach you that the Due
Process of Law comes from the Bible. God already knew what
happened between Cain and Able. He still granted him the Due Process of Law to (1)
summon him providing notice and (2) the right to be heard. We no longer allow Due Process of Law. We presume
guilt and condemn people without trial.”
hadn’t read this poem in close to fifty years until I started researching this
article, but I still remembered most of it. “Fury said to a mouse that he met
in the house…” I wish I could have met Lewis Carroll.
[Editor’s Note: This was originally published as one article, but has been split in two. Nothing in the content has been changed, except to facilitate the division. See here to view Part 2.]
“To hold individuals guilty of crimes they couldn’t have
committed is a moral obscenity.”–Robert
Within the abortion debate, it is not uncommon that unborn
children are called either parasites or trespassers, sometimes both. This
article seeks to prove in a straight-forward manner that this idea is wrong. It
is nothing more than an attempt to marginalize and dehumanize the unborn child
in order to justify a position.
“… given that the fetus is unwanted, it is in effect a trespasser
or a parasite.”—Walter
“What human has the
right to remain, unbidden, as an unwanted parasite within some other human
being’s body? This is the nub of the issue: the absolute right of every person
and hence every woman, to the ownership of her own body. What the mother is
doing in an abortion is causing an unwanted entity within her body to be ejected
from it: If the fetus dies, this does not rebut the point that no being has a
right to live, unbidden, as a parasite within or upon some person’s body.– Murray Rothbard[ii]
Whether she is wanted or not is irrelevant. The unborn child
is neither a parasite nor a trespasser.
Unfortunately, these men have based their claims on
“property rights”, i.e., the woman owns her own body (property) and can do with
it whatever she wishes. The “right” of the fetus to own her body is discarded
out of hand. They assert that property rights are all that matter. Morality
(the sense of right and wrong) does not enter the picture. In the case of
abortion on demand, rights have become more important than what is right.
Section I: Parasites
Parasites, biological and social
The number of types of parasites can be numbered–there are
two. Only two. Biological and social. See here[iii]
for a typical definition of the term. Unborn children are neither.
Parasites (biological) are not a part of the host. They do
not derive from it and are not related to it. In fact, they are a species which
is completely different from the host. They draw nourishment and sustenance out
of the host, debilitating and weakening it. They give nothing back. If they
grow and/or reproduce unchecked, they can, and sometimes do, literally kill the
host. A tapeworm is a parasite. Mistletoe is a parasite. Lice and bedbugs are
parasites. A fetus is not.
Unborn fetuses DO draw nourishment and sustenance from the
woman, via the umbilical cord, but they are not a threat to the woman under normal
circumstances. They are not a different species. They are related to the host
(mother). They derive half their DNA from her, but they are
a part of her. The only time that a woman is threatened by the fetus is due to
an ectopic pregnancy or (perhaps) other complications brought on during the
Biologically speaking, a fetus cannot be a parasite.
Parasites (social) are another sort entirely. They are human
beings who prey on other human beings. They may or may not be related. They may
attach exclusively to one person or draw from more than one. They have a desire
to be supported by others and have their wants and needs filled by them. They
know their current (preferred) lifestyle would suffer if the parasite/host
attachment were severed for any reason. One common characteristic of social
parasites is the selfish belief that other human beings exist for their benefit
and should be used to that effect. They are users of people and seek to control
them for personal gain. Taken to an extreme, this becomes an “all for me,
none for you” attitude and way of life. In an unrelated but not entirely
irrelevant article, Brandon Smith describes it like this[v].
“This attitude can also be
seen in the common actions of narcissistic sociopaths, who have no qualms about
conning or exploiting people around them as resources, feeding off others like
To some degree, all of us are social parasites. Everyone, at
one time or another in his life, uses someone else for personal gain or
benefit. This type of action, for most of us, tends to be minimized as we grow
older and wiser and it can be personally overcome to a large degree.
It is commonly accepted that fetuses do not have any
consciousness of their own until they have developed sufficiently[vi],
probably not until very late in the pregnancy. How can a fetus (which is not
aware of its situation and surroundings) use someone else selfishly? How can a
fetus which has not attained the characteristic of self-consciousness be a
parasite? Quite simply, it can’t. It does not knowingly use anyone else for its
benefit. It knows nothing except what has always been, i.e., the womb and a
state of total dependence. It will never know anything differently until and
unless it is born and (gradually, progressively) taught to become independent.
In the timeline of the unborn baby/newborn baby/small
child/teenager/adult, the individual progresses from complete dependence on her
mother to a state of some degree of independence. If she is considered a
parasite before birth, at what point does she cease to be one? What is the
point in a person’s life where she does not need or depend on anyone else? When
does a person stop “taking” and start “giving”? Everyone
takes more at the beginning, but eventually we learn (hopefully) to give more
than we take. It can be argued that we live on a sliding scale, one end being
total dependence, the other total independence. The only choice we have is
where we live on that scale and that is determined through a lifetime of personal
change, either positive or negative, with varying degrees of success.
Block, Walter E. and Roy Whitehead. 2005. “Compromising the Uncompromisable: A
Private Property Rights Approach to Resolving the Abortion Controversy,” Appalachian
Law Review, 4 (2) 1-45
There are two aspects of the abortion debate we need to be concerned about in determining the definition of an unborn child: biological and political. Humanity and person-hood are two different things and we must be careful not to confuse them.
On the biological side, there should be no argument about the humanity of the child, no matter its age. See here. Embryonic biology confirms 100% that a new, unique, human, individual comes into being at the fusion of the sperm and egg cells. This is objective, fixed, and permanent. It is based on science–cold, hard facts.
On the political side, there is the question about person-hood, which is an arbitrary, subjective decision. It is fluid and can mean different things at different times, depending on the fickle whims of the populace or its rulers. This is what we are dealing with in our current debate on abortion, not the humanity of the unborn fetus. See here with my reply to Walter Block concerning a snippet he wrote about the meaning of the libertarian philosophy.
Michael Rozeff has written about creating a new
definition—nascent human—attempting to define the time when an unborn child
becomes human and therefore legally protected from abortion. See here, here, and most
During a brief e-mail conversation between Rozeff and myself, he asked the
question, “Is the category of nascent-human plausible or specious?”
Merriam-Webster defines nascent as ‘coming or having recently come into existence’, which can easily describe a zygote or embryo, but the fact remains that while the term ‘nascent’ might apply at the very beginning, it must be discarded at some point. When and at what stage of development does that occur? Can that even be determined? When does a nascent human become a full-blown human? Who is going to make the decision? This plays into the political argument, but not the biological one and is no different than trying to determine at what stage an unborn fetus becomes a person. Brain waves? Heartbeat? Viability at 24 weeks? Or maybe 26? As such, it will constantly change and reflect the mindset of societies in the future as the thinking about abortion changes. This is not solid ground on which to base an argument and Rozeff is in danger of losing his footing.
The social trend toward moral subjectivity and away from moral objectivity has not done us any favors. We need to change that as concerns the humanity of the unborn child. It is a human being, no matter what anyone thinks, and, as such, merits protection against the aggression of abortion, which results in the death of an innocent human being, which is murder according to Rozeff’s definition. The descriptive terms—nascent, potential, developing, etc.—are irrelevant. This is not to say they are not accurate, but as far as concerns the humanity of the unborn child, they are irrelevant.
The abortion war can be settled once we decide to stop defining the unborn embryo or fetus in political (subjective) terms and start defining it according to biology (objective). Born or unborn, a human being is a human being. End of argument. So long as we focus on whether it is a person or not, we will have abortions and the legal murders of countless human beings. The attitude of the general public is what will change the dynamic of abortion, not because laws are passed, but because already born individual, human beings decide to do what is right and refuse to be a part of that murderous lifestyle any longer.
Is this wishful thinking or a pipe dream? I think not. Tides
advance and they retreat. So do societal and moral values. I am under no
illusions about the length of time it may take, but I am certain that abortions
will one day, someday, again be verboten, because, as a society, we understand
what is right and are willing to act on that understanding.
Last Sunday afternoon, my wife and I went to a local theater and watched the movie, Unplanned, along with about forty other people. It was powerful. It has reinforced my determination to work for the day when the last legal abortion is performed in this country, at which point I will shift gears, change direction, and start focusing on the last illegal one. Since I only have twenty or so more years, I might see the first, but I’m not so deluded as to think I will see the second.
Aside from the pro-life message and the not-so-subtle Christian viewpoint, there was one thing which impressed me about this movie–the quality of its manufacture. Typically, Christian based movies trend toward B-grade or worse quality, but in my opinion, this one looked as if it was made by a top-flight studio with people who knew how to make a movie and had the money to produce it. They deserve to be congratulated and honored. Of course, I’m not a film critic, so my opinion won’t count for much, but I do know a good piece of work when I see it. Watch the trailer.
If you hold to a pro-life stance, you should see Unplanned. It will enhance your convictions. If you’re not sure where you stand on the issue of abortion, you should see this movie. It will probably answer questions you may have. If you are in favor of abortion, for any reason, you should see this movie. It will shine a light on the dark shadows that Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers would prefer to keep undercover and unseen. It may change the way you think.
The abortion industry, in general, and Planned Parenthood, in particular, have nothing with which to counter this movie. They will not produce one of their own. They can’t. If they tried, it would fail miserably and turn even more people against them. The only thing they can do is to put a brave face on it, knowing that the message about their heinous practice is getting out into the public consciousness.
Their days are numbered. It’s only a matter of time.
Imagine if the quote below was applied to the abortion industry. Substitute a few words and it could easily fit…and what a ruckus it would cause!
“…PRC officials claim it’s the Americans who deserve blame for the
country’s drug problem – and need to stop taking drugs in the first
place. Pimps and drug pushers have been using this excuse for years –
‘just giving customers what they want.’
Admittedly, human nature is what it is. But that’s why
civilized societies punish the providers of dangerous substances and services —
and don’t just sanction users for their irresponsible behavior.”
This quote appeared on Zero
Hedge recently in an article by Grant
Newsham which basically stated that the government of China could stop the
massive inflow of fentanyl overnight—if it wanted to. All the communist leadership
would have to do is lean on the factories producing the drug and, presto! The
problem would instantly be solved.
The opioid crisis this country is experiencing right now is
real. There’s no doubt about it. Tens of thousands of people die every year
from overdoses and many more are sickened or incapacitated. It’s a sad
situation, for sure, and there are no easy answers to it.
There is no doubt that Planned Parenthood and other groups and individuals have been pushing abortion (providing a dangerous service) for a long time under the rationale that “legalized abortion is just giving women what they want.” Realistically, it can be argued that every year abortion kills at least ten or twelve times as many people as fentanyl ever has. Human nature may be what it is, but there is no denying that since Roe v. Wade, January 22, 1973, an immense number of innocent human lives, perhaps as many as 60 million, have been deliberately snuffed out.
Maybe we should just blame the women, who need to stop
becoming pregnant in the first place!
There is a huge difference between fentanyl and abortion
which needs to be considered. The people who use drugs have made a conscious
choice to inject themselves with a potentially toxic substance. They know the
risk. They know that they might end up dead. No one forces them. No one kills
them. They are responsible. If you wanted to, you could say that those who die
from drug overdosing have it coming to them. You could–if you were heartless.
The same cannot be said about abortion, in which the unborn
children have no “choice” in the matter. They do not know the risk of living in
the uterus of a woman who decides she doesn’t want to be a mother. They do not
know they will end up dead. They are completely innocent of any part of this matter.
They are not responsible for what happens to them.
Regardless of the difference, the fact remains that people of all ages are dying without regard to their lives or well-being. The question is what to do about it. How do we stop these scourges on humanity? The most immediate response from the average person would likely mimic Grant Newsham’s observation—punish those evildoers! At least it would in the case of the Chinese supplying the fentanyl trade. As concerns abortion, the answer might be a brusque “Mind your own business!”
Whether you’re in favor of government-led drug wars or are
opposed to them is up to you. Whether you’re adamantly pro-abortion or
staunchly pro-life is also your decision. There is one thing which is certain
in both cases, however. No matter how many laws there are prohibiting these
actions and behaviors nor how vigorously they are prosecuted and punished, there
will always be a market for them and people who are ready, willing, and able to
fill that demand. Laws alone will not stop the trade in fentanyl
nor will they end the killing of unborn babies.
Don’t get me wrong. I think there is a pressing need to have
laws enacted and enforced which will severely sanction abortion on demand. In
blog post, I made this statement.
“I do agree with Rozeff that the government should not
support or subsidize abortion, but I am emphatically opposed to the idea that
it should not be outlawed. The common view of government is that it exists to
protect those within its domain against outside aggression and to offer justice
and redress in case such aggression occurs. Until and unless the day comes when
every individual is a government in and of themselves (in other words, not
until the end of time), certain people are going to be dominant and make the
rules, while other people submit and do as they are told. No question! Because
of this, I have no problem at all with government ordering a pregnant woman not
to abort her unborn fetus, under pain of punishment.”
More than this, however, is the growing realization in my own soul that individual people, like myself, need to do what the government cannot—love these people (drug addicts and pregnant women), help them when they need it, support them emotionally, treat them kindly, and take on the role of Good Samaritan when necessary—all without any expectation of reimbursement or recognition, but simply because of the love in our hearts for our fellow man and woman. Simply because we know what it means to follow the Golden Rule. “Do for others what you would like to have someone else do for you.”
God knows I’d want someone to help me if I found myself in a
precarious, dangerous, desperate situation.
The Bitterroot Star, a local newspaper based in Stevensville, MT, published a Letter to the Editor by Dee Gibney about “late-term abortions” on Feb. 27 and a rejoinder by Mel Holloway on March 20. These views add fuel to the abortion issue still raging in the US, more than forty-six years after the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling which made abortion legal across the entire country.
This is a polarizing subject. I do not know anyone who
claims to have “no opinion” on the issue. Instead, most individuals are
vehemently in favor of abortion on demand OR they are adamantly opposed to it. The argument is almost always one-sided: a
woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy OR the right to life of the unborn
child. Very few people ever bother to ask, though, why do we have to choose
between the woman and the child. Why does it have to be one or the other?
Abortion, as it is practiced today, pits the woman against
her child and the child against her mother. For women considering abortion, the
unborn fetus can easily become an enemy. What are the reasons WHY a woman would
bring herself to the point where she is willing to destroy her own offspring. Here
are a few examples.
Women of color comprise a huge number of
abortions performed each year in the US. Perhaps as many as 40 out of 100 black
pregnancies end in abortion. The odds are good that these women are unmarried, reliant
on food stamps and HUD to survive, and already have other children which they
are trying to raise.
“Minority women constitute only
about 13% of the female population (age 15-44) in the United States, but they
underwent approximately 36% of the abortions. According to the Alan Guttmacher
Institute, black women are more than 5 times as likely as white women to have
an abortion. On average, 1,876 black babies are aborted every day in the United
Another group which is represented
disproportionately is college age women, who are attempting to gain an
education in the hopes of being successful in a chosen career. Pregnancy is a
roadblock to that hope. Most colleges do not have any program to help them maintain
the academic load and carry a child at the same time. The woman’s “choice” is
between her career and her child.
“No woman should be
forced to choose between sacrificing her education or career plans and
suffering through a humiliating, invasive procedure and sacrificing her child.
We refuse to choose®. Abortion represents a failure to listen and
respond to the unmet needs of women.”—(https://www.feministsforlife.org/question-abortion/)
In addition, we need to consider the number of times
that a woman is coerced and pressured into undergoing an abortion by her
boyfriend, husband, or father. Men have
a huge influence in this decision.
“If legal abortion has given women
more choice, it has also given men more choice as well. They now have a potent
new weapon in the old business of manipulating and abandoning women…. That
men have long coerced women into abortion when it suits their purposes is
well-known but rarely mentioned.”—(http://www.theunchoice.com/articles/howcommoniscoercion.htm)
It is undeniable that many women face huge obstacles as they consider their options when they find out they are pregnant. Contrary to Gibney, we need to start seeing them, not as selfish murderers, but as they truly are—probably young, maybe alone, less than rich, confused, afraid, unsure. They may not believe they have any other “choice”. They may not have the means and personal strength to carry the pregnancy to term and then adopt the baby out. The chances are that they are not aborting out of selfishness, but out of perceived necessity. This does not excuse the abortion in any way, but it does help to explain it.
Not only do we have to consider the women who abort, but also those who are killed and thrown away—unborn human beings who never asked to be conceived in the first place. Holloway tries to use scare tactics, but most abortions do not occur because of fetal deformities or the physical health and well-being of the mother. Statistics from the State of Florida in 2018 show that out of 70, 083 abortions, only 1, 004 were done for the reasons of rape, incest, fetal deformity, or to save the life of the woman. The rest were elective—by choice. )
These instances do occur, but they are rare. They constitute a very small number of abortions and should not be used as justification to allow the killing of unborn babies by anyone for any reason. The blanket allowance of abortion is even more cruel than a blanket prohibition would be and there are millions of reasons why a pregnancy should not be terminated—all of them live human beings.
For too long, this issue has been framed in a confrontational way:
woman vs. child. One, but not the other. Either/or, but not both. We must
change the way we debate this issue. We must recognize that for every abortion,
there are at least two victims—the woman and the child. We must not only save
the life of the unborn, but also give the woman the means and support she needs
to continue the pregnancy, give birth, and either raise the child herself or turn
that responsibility over to someone else. We must become a society which honors
and esteems human life at all ages—19 weeks from conception or 19 years from
birth. If this means we are inconvenienced ourselves, so be it.
Abortion is a symptom of an underlying disease, a reflection of
the fact that, as a society, we have not met the needs of women. It also shows
us that, as a society, we would rather address our problems violently than face
them responsibly. The most defenseless members of our human family suffer and
die as a result. Both the woman and the child deserve better.
Since starting this blog, To Make a Difference, I have been spending
a lot of time online looking for information that I could use in the articles I
write. I have to say that in just a few short months, I have learned a lot. In
fact, the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know much at all about the
issue of abortion. The internet is a wonderful thing.
While doing some research last night, I came across the website of an organization I’d never heard of before—Feminists for Life. I spent a considerable amount of time there, reading various pages and information about the group, with my interest and admiration growing all the while. It ended with my subscription for a year and I made up my mind to promote them on these pages. You should check it out. This organization is for real. (Disclaimer: I have never been a feminist nor an advocate for radical feminism. I do believe that women can and should be considered as equal to men, but not at the expense of society nor the people who comprise it. Nobody should have to die so that women can be free.)
Right off the bat on their home page is the message that “Women Deserve better than Abortion” splashed across their header. The sub-title is more pointed—“Abortion is a reflection that we have not met the needs of women.” How true! Why didn’t I think of that? And the quotes shown below just drove the message home that I could support this group without any reservation.
“When a man steals to satisfy hunger, we may safely conclude
that there is something wrong in society — so when a woman destroys the life of
her unborn child, it is an evidence that either by education or circumstances
she has been greatly wronged.” —Mattie
Brinkerhoff, The Revolution, 1860
“No woman should be forced to choose between sacrificing her education or career plans and suffering through a humiliating, invasive procedure and sacrificing her child. We refuse to choose®. Abortion represents a failure to listen and respond to the unmet needs of women. Why perpetuate failure? Pro-life feminists recognize abortion as a symptom of, not a solution to, the continuing struggles women face in the workplace, on campus, at home, and in the world at large.”—FFL, Question Abortion
So much of the abortion argument has been about one of two things—either “women’s rights” or the “right to life” and I am as guilty as anyone else in advocating for one side only. Feminists for Life simply refuses to make a choice between the pregnant woman and the unborn baby. They promote health and wellness for everyone involved, including husbands and fathers, employers, and victims of sexual violence.
The status quo of abortion on demand pits women against their unborn babies and those babies against their mothers. This needs to change. We have got to stop seeing this issue from a one-sided perspective and work toward a more wholesome approach which includes everyone involved.
I wish Feminists for Life the very best. I wish I
could do more to help them.
Is the commonly prescribed abortion drug, RU-486, essentially any different than a Saturday Night Special firearm which is cheap, widely available, and, as Lynyrd Skynyrd put it, “…ain’t good for nothing, but put a man six feet in a hole.”
Gun control is not the topic of this post. Whether the Saturday Night Special is used for self-defense or during the commission of a crime is irrelevant. Instead, I’m using this argument to try to make some sense of the question–should RU-486 be legal or prohibited? Does it have any positive redeeming social qualities? Can it be used for any medical purpose other than inducing abortions? If so, what are they? Would it even exist if it wasn’t a low-cost, popular method of obtaining an abortion?
RU-486 (mifespristone, sold as Mifeprex) acts as an abortifacient by blocking the production of the hormone progesterone, which is necessary to the proper development of the pregnancy, both before and after implantation of the embryo in the uterus. It is not the same as so-called “birth control or morning after pills”, which are taken with the intention of preventing conception. Rather, RU-486 is not prescribed at all until the woman suspects she might be pregnant and visits her doctor, who confirms the pregnancy. In plain and simple terms, the drug does not prevent a pregnancy from happening, but used commonly in conjunction with misoprostol, it ends the pregnancy by killing the embryo and ejecting it from the womb.
Planned Parenthood extols it as a “safe, effective way” to terminate a pregnancy. The pro-abortion lobby presents it as an alternative to surgical abortions by basically promoting the idea that it is as easy as simply taking a pill. In reality, its use has some serious side effects. In the US, it must be prescribed by an FDA certified practitioner, but, as with everything else which has monetary value, it can be purchased online. (WARNING: This is illegal, potentially dangerous, and is not recommended nor encouraged.) I will not give any respectability to online vendors who market the drug by linking to their websites.
The question is this. Does RU-486 have any other medical use which would legitimize its continued manufacture and sale or should it be banned completely? From what I have been able to find while researching this, it has very few, very limited applications outside the abortion issue. For instance, it may be used in the treatment of Cushing’s Syndrome in people who have type 2 diabetes or are glucose intolerant. This condition is extremely rare so it seems to be a safe bet that RU-486 was developed and is being sold as a “one trick pony” exclusively to induce abortions.
Considering all this, it seems to me that the main difference between RU-486 and a “Saturday Night Special” gun is that, while they are both single purpose items, the gun at least can be used in self-defense. I’m sure it has been. For that reason alone, it can be considered to have some moral value and, in that sense, it should be considered no differently than any other firearm. Any weapon which stops violent aggression, whether it’s a stick or a bazooka, has validity and a proper place in society.
The use of RU-486, however, is blatantly aggressive. It is not used in self-defense, but is meant to deliberately kill an innocent, unborn, human being in a violent manner. It was developed, approved, manufactured, and sold as a quick, easy solution to an unwanted pregnancy. The end really does justify the means. Realistically, it can be argued that the woman herself pulls the trigger of this cheap, widely available “gun”, while aiming it at someone else–her defenseless, unborn child.
Should RU-486 be outlawed and prohibited? I believe so, with one exception, that it ought to be available in certain medical situations, where there is no possibility that an unborn child could be harmed. If this were put into practice, it is quite likely that the market for the drug would be so limited that the manufacturers would simply fold up shop and move on to something more lucrative. Almost certainly, though, it would probably be produced in generic form by some shadowy company somewhere and show up on the black market, available to anyone who has a credit card and connection to the internet.
In an article [i] on property rights concerning conjoined twins, Walter Block and Jeremiah Dyke [ii] have raised some interesting questions and thoughts. See here to read the full essay. Many of them could easily be applied to the abortion issue without doing much more than simply changing a few words here or there. I do not necessarily have any argument with the authors concerning the issue of conjoined twins, but wanted to draw attention to the ease with which the arguments could apply to the abortion debate.
“Though an individual has the right to not be physically aggressed against, he does not have the right to demand someone help or save him if he is being physically aggressed against.”–Dyke and Block
Though a woman has the right to not be pregnant against her will, she does not have the right to demand someone help or save her if she is pregnant against her will. If she does not have the right to demand that someone help or save her from the predicament she finds herself in, then she does not have the authority to demand that abortion be legal or that she be allowed to kill her unborn child for any reason she finds suitable.
This is especially relevant since women everywhere are literally demanding that society, culture, and State grant them help and salvation in their quest to be non-pregnant. No one, least of all a more powerful government, should be able to force a woman to be pregnant, but it does not follow that she can manipulate government to allow the use of force to kill her unborn child. Dyke and Block should examine their positions to ensure that all of their statements are consistent with each other.
“…who owns the body if it is under the control of two wills? Is it even intelligible to consider property under duel ownership of two wills?—Dyke and Block
Who owns the body of the fetus if it is under the control of the fetus—the mother or the child? For that matter, who owns the body of the mother if it is under the control of the developing fetus? Is the body of the mother under the control of the fetus or the mother? There is no disputing that the physical condition of the woman changes as the pregnancy progresses, but is this an act of aggression on the part of the unborn child or just a natural response to the pregnancy?
“Are there limits of a dominant twin based on the demands of the other twin?”—Dyke and Block
Are there limits of a dominant will based on the demands of the other submissive will? Dyke and Block were concerned about the limitations of property rights of conjoined twins, but what happens if we compare this question to that of a pregnancy in which there are also two individuals sharing a physical connection? Are there any limits to a woman’s will based on the demands of an unborn child’s? What are the unspoken, yet proven demands of the unborn child? There are only three: time, proper nutrition, and protection. Take away any of one of these three and the life of the child is placed in jeopardy. Take away all of them, according to legally defined abortion laws, and there are virtually no limits placed on the woman as regards these demands.
“Could one twin commit a crime while the
other was innocent?”—Block/Dyke
In the case of conjoined twins, this might be a dilemma. It is entirely possible that one twin could completely overrule or overpower the other in committing a crime. In the event of this happening, the only defense possible by the non-dominant twin would be that of unwillingness. “I didn’t want to, but he made me do it!”
In the event of pregnancy and abortion, there is no question. This is not even a valid question. One party (the woman) can absolutely commit a vicious, murderous act while the other (the unborn child) would be completely innocent, but without recourse or appeal to law.
“What, if any, are the limits of restitution and punishment regarding conjoined twins?”—Dyke and Block
If this question were applied to the abortion issue, it would be laughed out of court. The fact of the matter is that the fetus pays the ultimate price and the amount of restitution (subjectively determined) depends on the way the woman lives her life thereafter. Does she gain enough from the abortion to more than make up for the “crime” against her bodily integrity? How are the costs assessed? How is the reparation made? Does the punishment fit the crime or is it excessive?
“Could one twin legally end his life if it meant the end of both of their lives?”—Dyke and Block
In America, under today’s laws, women cannot legally commit suicide in most cases. If they could and were pregnant, it would inevitably mean the death of the unborn child. However, in whatever form it appears, Truth does not tolerate any inconsistencies, hypocrisies, or contradictions. The fact that women cannot legally commit suicide, but can legally kill their unborn children is inconsistent and therefore intolerable. As such, it will eventually be resolved in one of two ways:
Abortion which kills children will eventually be outlawed and prosecuted as criminal, or,
Suicide will be made legal for anyone (adults, at least) regardless of circumstances.
“Could one twin enter into a contract without the consent of the other?”—Dyke and Block
conjoined twin get married without the consent of the other? How would that
happen? Assuming that the conjoined twins were female with a shared body and
two heads, would the consummation of the marriage be considered rape on the
part of the unwilling twin? What if a pregnancy occurred as a result of that
consummation? Could the unwilling twin be able to claim the “right” of abortion
and terminate the pregnancy against the wishes of the “mother”? If the child
were carried to term and delivered, would she have “two mommies”? Would the
unwilling twin be called “Auntie”?
What a can of worms! Perhaps we should turn our attention elsewhere.
“Conflicts arise, whenever two actors want and try to use one
and the same physical means – the same body, standing room or external object
for the attainment of different goals, i.e., when their interests regarding
such means are not harmonious but incompatible or antagonistic. Two actors
cannot at the same time use the same physical means for alternative purposes. If they try to do so, they must clash.
Only one person’s will or that of
another can prevail, but not both.” –Herman-Hoppe,
Ethics of Argumentation [iii]
Herman-Hoppe is correct in his assessment of conflict. In the abortion war, it simply means the idea that women can kill their unborn children is dominant and accepted, or it is unacceptable and going to be contested. Only one view, not both, is going to prevail, and because tides and opinions change, it is probable that what is seen to prevail today will, in all likelihood, be subjugated tomorrow.
The conflict arises when we try to reduce human beings to a concept of property without any sense of moral grounding. Under some libertarian theory, human beings own their own bodies and can do whatever they wish, so long as they don’t act aggressively toward someone else. (See here for a differing opinion.) By extension, because every human being owns his (her) own body, no other human being can own it, thereby eliminating any invalid form of slavery. Involuntary servitude may sometimes be allowed, even mandated for one reason or another, but only in the pursuit of criminal justice.
The conflict rages when two actors (born woman, unborn woman) want and try to use the same body for different goals, i.e., when one does not wish to be pregnant and the other needs the space in order to develop. Whose will is dominant? Whose “rights” are protected? Whose “freedoms” are violated? When abortion is legal, the pregnancy is ended by the killing of the dependent child who is unable to defend herself against the aggression.
The pregnancy may be ended, but the
conflict is not resolved. [iv]
The abortion war is fought, not by the ones who die, but by those who don’t. The
fact that many innocent civilians are killed without regard for their lives is
not greatly different than two large, political powers supporting, encouraging,
and abetting various factions in small, weak countries, e.g., Syria, Yemen, or
Venezuela, among others. The locals pay the price, the string-pullers reap the
Abortion is not an issue of property rights. Instead, it rises out of a moral and spiritual question—good or evil, and the dispute will continue until one side or the other is completely beaten and disappears forever. In other words, not until the end of time itself. In the meantime, we must do what we believe to be right and try to minimize the number of casualties inflicted.
So long as abortion on demand is
with us, there is no compromise. No matter how pretty a face we try to put on
it, in the end all we are doing is painting lipstick on a pig.
Jeremiah Dyke & Walter E. Block, “Explorations
in Property Rights: Conjoined Twins,”Libertarian Papers3, 38 (2011)
Jeremiah Dyke (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Instructor of Mathematics, Lord Fairfax Community
Block (www.WalterBlock.com; email@example.com) is Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar
Endowed Chair and Prof. of Economics,
College of Business, Loyola University New Orleans and a Senior Fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.