A Positive Message of Support

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.

RU-486: The “Saturday Night Special” of Abortion

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.

Conjoined Twins, Property Rights, and the Abortion Issue

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:

  1. Abortion which kills children will eventually be outlawed and prosecuted as criminal, or,
  2. 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

Could one 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 benefits.

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.

[i] Jeremiah Dyke & Walter E. Block, “Explorations in Property Rights: Conjoined Twins,”Libertarian Papers3, 38 (2011)

[ii] Jeremiah Dyke (jeremiahdyke@gmail.com) is Instructor of Mathematics, Lord Fairfax Community College.Walter E. Block (www.WalterBlock.com; wblock@loyno.edu) 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.

[iii] . https://misesuk.org/2016/10/09/hans-hermann-hoppe-the-ethics-of-argumentation-2016/

[iv] Similar to the Korean War. See here.

Humanizing Mice–with the Assistance of Aborted Children

My thanks go to Michael Rozeff [i] for the push needed to write this article.

“The Department of Health and Human Services says it has granted a second 90-day extension to a contract it has with the University of California at San Francisco that requires UCSF to make “humanized mice.”…These creatures are made by implanting mice with human tissues taken from late-term aborted babies.” [ii]

According to this article, the federal government is spending up to $95, 000, 000. 00 of taxpayer money to finance various research experiments which use human tissue from aborted babies.

Just to make it perfectly clear, let me rephrase this information.

The Department of Health and Human Services, through its arm, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding research at the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF) which uses tissue from aborted babies to create “humanized mice”. So far, payments to the university equal $10,596,960 and if the contract is extended through the full term, will total almost $14, 000, 000. Not only that, but the contract requires the university to do this.

Did you get that? To create “humanized mice”. Humanized mice!

Not only does the federal government allow, condone, and endorse the killing of unborn babies, but it also pays to have those babies literally ground into a soup from which specific cells are extracted to be used in research on mice. Supposedly this is done to facilitate medical cures for diseases like HIV or Alzheimer’s.

And you are paying for it, as am I. Does this make you hopping mad, or what?

The real kicker in this whole thing, though, is not the news itself, but what is unseen behind the news. Rozeff pointed this out in a blog post [iii] on Lew Rockwell and basically challenged the pro-life community to do something about it.

One of the main arguments of the pro-abortion side has been that unborn fetuses are not really human beings, not actually persons. Truth be told, this faction has invested an incredible amount of time, energy, and resources in dehumanizing the unborn child, calling her a “blob of tissue”, a “product of conception”, “uterine contents”, “protoplasm”, et al, in the attempt to persuade people that she wasn’t worth getting all worked up about. After all, abortion is only a matter of evicting parasites and trespassers. Nothing to see here. Move on!

This line of thinking eventually reached the US Supreme Court. On January 22, 1973, Roe v. Wade Day, the unborn fetus was determined to be a non-person, somewhat less than human, and declared to be fair game for any woman who was willing to kill her child. This has been the official policy of the US government since and the various states have followed suit—some vigorously, some less so, but they have all gone along with the plot.

Due to this news report, however, it is now evident that the federal government, research universities, and the researchers themselves admit, implicitly at least, that unborn children are human much earlier than the Supreme Court determined.

“This tells us that the fetus is sufficiently human at 18 weeks to be able to lend human characteristics to the mice. This means that the U.S. and the scientists implicitly accept as fact that a fetus at 18 weeks is a human being…”—Michael Rozeff [iv]

More even than this, Rozeff writes that,

“Scientists at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill use fetal tissue from 14 to 19 week pregnancies to make humanized mice. Perhaps others will find that even earlier tissue is being used to transfer human properties. But 14 week tissue means that scientists are implicitly accepting as fact that a 14 week fetus is human, human enough to qualify for their tests and sometimes subsidies funded by taxes.” [v]

The gist of his argument is that the pro-life community needs to be made aware that the federal government recognizes, by its very behavior, that unborn children as young as 14 weeks from conception are human beings. Humanized mice could not be produced from fetal tissue if this were not true. This information needs to be shouted from the rooftops, spread widely, and used to bring pressure to bear on officials within the government who have the power to change the status quo.

Let’s get this straight, people. Our own government is admitting that innocent human children are being killed and used for purposes which may or may not benefit society at large. Certainly the research facility benefits as does the research team. The administrative team at the NIH benefits from this practice. I am sure Planned Parenthood benefits from it. Maybe the mice will learn someday to talk with us. The single most important person in this whole sorry affair, however, had to die violently for this to happen.

Shall we do evil so that good may come? I think not. The lives of people who have already been born are not more important than the lives of people who have not. In fact, if anything, we should be placing more importance on those who have yet to be born, because they represent mankind’s future. Without them, we will cease to exist.

[i] https://mises.org/profile/michael-s-rozeff

[ii] https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/hhs-extends-contract-make-humanized-mice-aborted-baby-parts-another

[iii] https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/implication-of-humanized-mice-from-14-week-fetal-tissue/

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Ibid.

Whose Body is it Anyway? A Property Question of Abortion Rights

One of the most widely used arguments to defend a woman’s “right” to kill her unborn child is that she owns her own body and can do what she wants with it. No one has any authority to impose restrictions on her behavior, so long as she is not harming any other person.

Yes, yes, I know. An unborn baby is a person and women who abort their unborn babies ARE harming other people, but it is not my intention to discuss the person-hood of an unborn child in this article. Rather, I want to explore the philosophical question of the ownership of the human body—irrespective of sex. Male or female is irrelevant. To whom do I belong? That is a question everyone must answer.

“…how can we defend the mother’s right to kill the fetus?

Simple. She owns her own body, and the unwanted fetus growing within it is in effect a trespasser or parasite. This may sound harsh, but when the property rights in question are thoroughly analyzed, it is the only possible conclusion that may be reached.”[i]–Walter Block and Roy Whitehead

If I was asked (I wasn’t) to paraphrase and rewrite the above quote, this is the way it would turn out.

“We can defend a woman’s (mothers don’t act that way) right to kill her unborn child because she owns her body and the unwanted fetus is a trespasser and a parasite. Dastardly things, anyway! Besides, property rights are sacrosanct [ii] so we can reach no other conclusion.”

All I can say about this manner of thinking is that it is abominable and despicable. When “property rights” are the only thing in question, then the end justifies the means and any moral rectitude simply flies out the window.

Who am I? Why am I here? What will happen to me when I die? These are questions which have vexed and perplexed philosophers since people started thinking about things other than how to get and keep their next meal. There are probably just about as many answers as there are philosophers. We ought to also be asking one other question: To whom or to what do I belong? This is a valid question and there are only two possible answers: we belong to ourselves OR we belong to someone/something outside of and beyond ourselves.

If we conclude that a woman belongs to herself, then she also owns herself, every part of herself, including her body and everything in it, over which she exercises full and complete control. No one and nothing can dictate to her what she may or may not do with her body. If a woman owns her body, then there should be no restraints placed on her, so long as she does not initiate aggression against other people who also own their bodies [iii]. If this is true, then the whole argument about abortion is moot, null, void, and utterly useless, deserving to be scrapped. It is a waste of time, energy, and resources–if this is true!

But, is it? Or is there another way of looking at the question? Michael Rozeff puts it this way.

” 3. Property is what belongs to you. It’s circular to say that a person belongs to himself or owns himself. You only seem to become property when you become a slave, partly or wholly, and belong to someone else. Even in that case, they have property in your body, in the product of your labor, but not in YOU. In other words, to resolve this problem of definition and starting point philosophically or religiously, we need to specify what a human being or person IS. What IS this “I”? What is the BEING that “I” am, and that you are? That BEING exists outside the domain of human notions of property. That’s my unprovable assumption or postulate about life and existence.” [iv]

I agree. I brought this up to make the point that no one owns themselves. No one owns their own body. No man, no woman, no exceptions. With nothing more than pure logic, I can make my case using a common libertarian argument.

You and your family live in a nice house on a piece of land which you own. You borrowed money to pay for it, scrimped and saved, did without, and worked side jobs to pay the mortgage, eventually receiving the deed free and clear. It is yours. At least that’s what you think.

One day, while in a discussion with your friend, he points out that you really don’t own the property, you only rent it. He explains that if you don’t pay the taxes which the county determines you should, you will find out within the space of a few years who the real owner is. You will be looking for another place to live and all the effort you have put into this property will accrue to someone else’s benefit.

You will lose your property if you don’t pay the declared property tax, but the fact of the matter is, you can live in the house and control the property, even profit from it, without (much) interference from the county–so long as you pay the tax! Libertarians everywhere understand this argument immediately.

In the case of a woman’s (or man’s) body, there will come a time when your “property” will be taken away from you. There will be no grace period, no time to pay the back taxes, plus costs, plus interest. There will be no extensions. Begging, refusing to consent, and getting angry will not help. Trying to make a deal is an exercise in futility. (Daniel Webster [v], I need help!) As the rock band Kansas [vi] put it, “…all your money won’t another minute buy.” When the Grim Reaper crooks his finger, you will go, with or without warning. Willing or unwilling, it doesn’t matter. Off you go. You are going to die.

If we grasp the point that we don’t own our real estate because it CAN be taken away from us, then we should also understand that we don’t own our bodies because they WILL be taken away. In fact, ownership of real property is a far more feasible concept than ownership of body because the rules concerning taxation can always be changed for the better. At least it’s theoretically possible to change them. People may someday live in a society in which there are no property taxes. About the end of life, however, there is nothing to do except to understand that it is coming and to be ready for it.

We are conceived, we live, we die. Everything that we accumulate in this world will belong to someone else after our death. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life.” (Job 1:21) “We didn’t bring anything into this world, and we won’t take anything with us when we leave.” (1 Timothy 6:7)

If immortality becomes practicable in this world, I will have to eat my words. Until then, they stand. This side of Heaven (or whatever you believe lies on the other side of death), everyone will die. That is an absolute certainty. I am absolutely certain that I am going to die. And so are you.

Since you are going to die and your body is going to be taken away from you, then you do not own it. If you do not own the body you live in, then it belongs to someone or something else: God, a higher power, the Great Spirit, cosmic truth, weird space aliens who seeded our planet, et al, any one of which might actually have something to say about the way that we are abusing, destroying, and killing those “properties” entrusted, but not belonging, to us. [vii]

Let’s bring Michael Rozeff back into the conversation.

“I contend that libertarian theory is too narrow. I make the following statements of where I stand.
1. Property is too narrow a basis to build an entire law and society on. The moral principle of no physical aggression is too narrow a basis. They are good as far as they go, but taken too far, they run into problems by ignoring the non-physical. Libertarianism has an impoverished social theory by this restriction to property and physical aggression. It gains by definiteness, but it loses by restrictiveness. In some cases, as in defamation, it leads to conclusions that go against thousands of years of law and history. “

Rozeff is correct. Libertarianism with a fixated view on property rights will not work. It has no soul. It needs to incorporate what he calls “the non-physical”, which I don’t mind referring to as spiritual and moral. When spirituality (the understanding that we are more than just body) enters the picture, it brings with it a sense of morality: what is right and what is wrong. When right and wrong come into play, it becomes evident that a monstrous crime has been perpetrated on the weakest, most vulnerable members of our society for a long, long time.

Women do NOT own their bodies and they certainly do not own the unborn children who are temporarily residing within their wombs. Any law which allows a woman to kill her unborn child, based on ownership claims, is flawed. Any society which relies solely on property rights to determine what is allowable is building a house on unstable soil. [ix] A civilization which elevates property rights over and above all things will be a civilization which is cold and heartless.

Where is the love?

[i] 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

[ii] It seems to me that, in many quarters, rights have taken on the attributes of religion, complete with high priests, a “gospel” message, worship services, and dedicated followers who will die before they change their beliefs.

[iii] Excluding unborn children, of course.

[iv] https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/harm-to-the-person/

[v] Just one of the stories I read a long, long time ago and have never forgotten. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Devil_and_Daniel_Webster

[vi] Not one of my favorite bands, but they made a hit out of this melancholy tune. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tH2w6Oxx0kQ

[vii] An example of this can be seen in the Holy Bible, Psalms, Chapter 2.

[viii] https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/harm-to-the-person/

[ix] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_Wise_and_the_Foolish_Builders

Without Question: The Beginning of Human Life

Within the abortion debate, one of the most pervasive tactics of the pro-abortion side has been to paint the unborn child in a dehumanizing manner. Consequently, the unborn child became a fetus [i], the embryo became a clump of cells, protoplasm, uterine content, etc. In addition, groups such as Planned Parenthood use the technology of ultrasound, not to show women a true picture of their unborn baby, but to deceive [ii] them into proceeding with a planned abortion. Deception and dissembling have been hallmarks of the abortion lobby from the very beginning. In fact, their tactics resemble those of a State or society which seeks to “dehumanize” its enemies [iii], i.e., especially in the time prior to and amid a war, political conflict, or social reconstruction [iv].

This has led to a considerable amount of confusion regarding the humanity of the unborn embryo or fetus. When does human life start? Is the fetus a human being? If not, when does it become one? These questions are all separate from the ones concerning person-hood, which is not the thrust of this article. In fact, the question of the beginning of human life and the time that life attains person-hood are two separate questions and must be addressed by different methods. Person-hood is a matter of belief, opinion, persuasion, subjectivity, etc., and is susceptible to a wide variety of influences—religious, philosophical, social, financial, etc.

There is only one qualified discipline which can state emphatically (and has hard evidence to back it up) when a new human life begins—embryonic science. This is strictly a scientific matter and science has clearly stated what so many believe or feel to be true.

“…scientifically something very radical occurs between the processes of gametogenesis and fertilization, the change from a simple part of one human being (i.e., a sperm) and a simple part of another human being (i.e., an oocyte, usually referred to as an “ovum” or “egg”), which simply possess “human life”, to a new, genetically unique, newly existing, individual, whole living human being (a single-cell embryonic human zygote). That is, upon fertilization, parts of human beings have actually been transformed into something very different from what they were before; they have been changed into a single, whole human being. During the process of fertilization, the sperm and the oocyte cease to exist as such, and a new human being is produced.” –Dianne M. Irving, M.A., Ph.D [v]

In other words, what Dr. Irving has said is that when a sperm cell and an egg cell fuse (conception), a new, unique, individual human being has begun. The sperm and the egg were individual human cells before the fusion, after that, they are something completely different—a live human being which had never existed before. Of this, there can be no doubt. The life of every human begins at conception. This is unassailable, indisputable fact.

Dr. Irving goes on to explain (and goes into intense detail) why a human being comes into existence at conception. She lists and destroys several myths which have been promoted over the years and decades concerning this issue and never equivocates from the main premise–that a human being comes to life at the moment of conception.

“The issue is not when does human life begin, but rather when does the life of every human being begin.”—Dianne M. Irving [vi]

From the moment of conception, a human being exists within the womb–zygote, blastocyst, embryo, fetus—right up to the point of the delivery as a newborn baby. At every stage of development, this is a live human being. Whether he is a person or not doesn’t matter. Whether she has rights or not is irrelevant. He is a human being. She is a human being. As such, abortion is a procedure which literally kills a human being. Abortion has probably killed hundreds of millions of human beings in the 20th century alone.

Every person who is alive today, every person who has ever lived, started out in exactly the same way—as a newly conceived zygote with all the genetic material necessary to become the persons we are today. We should be grateful that our mothers didn’t simply decide to throw us away.

[i] The term “fetus” generates a lot of heat on both sides of the aisle. The pro-abortionists use it almost exclusively and refuse to use the terms unborn baby or child for obvious reasons. The pro-lifers prefer “baby” or “child” and generally avoid using the term fetus, again for obvious reasons. Fetus, though, is simply a Latin word which can have many meanings, however, all of them are related to reproduction and refer to very young, immature offspring. It is medically correct and refers to the stage of human development in the womb from embryo (about 8 weeks) until birth. I do not generally make distinctions between fetus, baby, and child, but use the terms interchangeably.

[ii] https://www.liveaction.org/news/planned-parenthood-abortion-deceptive-ultrasound/

[iii] https://www.npr.org/2011/03/29/134956180/criminals-see-their-victims-as-less-than-human

[iv] Nazi Germany, for instance, successfully used this tactic against the Jews. Today, political parties attempt to divide the electorate into what are basically enemy camps.

[v] https://www.princeton.edu/~prolife/articles/wdhbb.html  Dianne N. Irving, M.A., Ph.D (International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 1999, 19:3/4:22-36

[vi] Ibid. Section B, Fact 1.

The Violinist and other Perverse Views of Justice

“Don’t hesitate to rescue someone who is about to be executed unjustly.” — Proverbs 24:11 (Good News Translation)  

In 1971, in her defense of abortion rights, Judith Jarvis Thomson [i] published an essay [ii] which used the imagery of a violinist attached to an unknowing, unwilling person. It has become one of the most famous analogies ever created within the abortion debate and is still used today [iii].

“You wake up in the morning and find yourself back to back in bed with an unconscious violinist. A famous unconscious violinist. He has been found to have a fatal kidney ailment, and the Society of Music Lovers has canvassed all the available medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type to help. They have therefore kidnapped you, and last night the violinist’s circulatory system was plugged into yours, so that your kidneys can be used to extract poisons from his blood as well as your own.” [iv]


She begins her article by admitting that an unborn fetus is a human being, a person, and ends it by stating that she really didn’t mean that. It has all been a pretense, “for the sake of argument.”

“I am inclined to think also that we shall probably have to agree that the fetus has already become a human person well before birth. Indeed, it comes as a surprise when one first learns how early in its life it begins to acquire human characteristics. By the tenth week, for example, it already has a face, arms and less, fingers and toes; it has internal organs, and brain activity is detectable…I propose, then, that we grant that the fetus is a person from the moment of conception.” [v]

“…we have only been pretending throughout that the fetus is a human being from the moment of conception. A very early abortion is surely not the killing of a person…” [vi]

Well, which is it? This is inconsistent. She says that by the tenth week (2-1/2 months, 70 days), the fetus already has recognizable human characteristics, including detectable brain activity, but then follows up with the idea that an abortion before this (no definite time mentioned) really wouldn’t be killing a human person. It has already become a human person (her words), but it is still OK to abort it so long as it’s very early in the pregnancy.

The question that begs to be asked is this: if a fetus very early in the pregnancy is not a human person, then when does it become one? Thomson refuses to be drawn into that trap, evading it quite adroitly by making this comment, and I quote, “But I shall not discuss any of this.” I shouldn’t wonder, because there is simply no way to determine any point in the timeline from conception to birth when it is possible to distinguish between ‘person’ and ‘non-person’. It is easier to just avoid talking about it.


” It is concluded that the fetus is. or anyway that we had better say it is, a person from the moment of conception. But this conclusion does not follow. Similar things might be said about the development of an acorn into an oak trees, and it does not follow that acorns are oak trees, or that we had better say they are.” [vii]

“Similar things” follows the same line of reasoning. We really can’t tell when an acorn becomes an oak tree, but we do know that it isn’t one right now. Everyone knows that acorns aren’t oak trees even if we say that they are and “we had better say they are.” Well, of course, an acorn is not an oak tree, which is the adult version of an acorn that has sprouted and grown over many years, probably decades, maybe centuries. By the same token, newly conceived zygotes or embryos are not yet adult human beings. You can’t get around the fact, though, that given enough time and the proper environment, both the acorn and the zygote WILL become what they were intended to be–fully-grown and mature.

To be honest, the comparison of an acorn to a fetus is wrong. If the analogy is to be used at all, it should be that an acorn is comparable to a zygote or an embryo before it has implanted into the uterus. Acorns are buried in the soil, grow, and eventually poke into open air above the soil line to assert themselves as individual oak trees. Embryos implant into the uterus, grow, and are eventually birthed into open air, where they assert themselves as individual human beings.

An acorn is created [viii] when the pollen (sperm) from a male flower is joined to the ova (egg) from the female flower, in the same sort of way as in human fertilization. Coincidentally, there are millions, perhaps billions, of pollen sperm available at mating time, but only one sperm is necessary to fertilize any female flower, again comparable to human fertilization.

Difference in species, difference in methodology, same principle.

Let’s move on to the “famous violinist” hypothetical situation quoted above. This is generally considered to be equivalent to a rape in which the woman or girl becomes pregnant. An extreme case, one of the “hard” ones. Also, very infrequent. In 2018, according to the State of Florida [ix], out of 70, 083 elective abortions, rape [x] was listed as the primary reason in only 101 cases. By extension, rapes which result in pregnancy are rare [xi]. In fact, according to these statistics, more than 95% of the abortions which occurred were done for the sake of personal convenience, i.e., social/financial reasons or choice. Some rapes do cause pregnancies, but this is not a valid reason to justify abortion on demand which is available to any woman who simply does not want to be pregnant.


Thomson creates another hypothetical situation. Imagine that you are trapped in a house, a very tiny house, with a rapidly growing child. [Note: it is interesting how she uses the terms fetus, baby, and child interchangeably throughout the essay without ever attempting to de-humanize the unborn person. In this respect, she is at least more honest than so many others who have attempted to remove all traces of humanity and person-hood from the debate. See here [xii] and here [xiii].

“…you are already up against the wall of the house and in a few minutes you’ll be crushed to death. The child on the other hand won’t be crushed to death; if nothing is done to stop him from growing he’ll be hurt, but in the end he’ll simply burst open the house and walk out a free man.” [xiv]

Supposedly this refers to an ectopic pregnancy [xv], although Thomson never says so. She describes the situation as life-threatening for the woman unless someone comes to her rescue. If you are not relieved of this pregnancy, your son will destroy your house by bursting it open. You will be crushed to death, but he will walk away, without any onus of responsibility or obligation–a free man. Along with the one used in the violinist case, these are scare tactics, and Thomson doesn’t hesitate to use them. A large part of her article employs this tactic to justify her position and advance the cause of abortion on demand.

There are cases [xvi] in which the pregnancy must be terminated in order to save the life and/or physical health of the mother. Most people understand that when a woman’s life is threatened by a pregnancy, then it is her life which must be saved. Inevitably, this means the fetus must lose his. In a situation where either the fetus alone will die or the mother and the fetus will both die, the conclusion is unavoidable. It may be emotionally and morally excruciating, but the decision will be made. [xvii]

However, this is not the case in a normal pregnancy which ends in delivery. It is possible to imagine birth as the bursting open of the house, but the bursting is not fatally destructive to the woman and is more akin to the throwing open of a front door. In fact, within a few days at most, she will walk out of the birthing facility with her newborn son in tow–a free woman.


“We surely must all grant that there may be cases in which it would be morally indecent to detach a person from your body at the cost of his life. Suppose you learn that what the violinist needs is not nine years of your life, but only one hour: all you need do to save his life is to spend one hour in that bed with him. Suppose also that letting him use your kidneys for that one hour would not affect your health in the slightest. Admittedly you were kidnapped. Admittedly you did not give anyone permission to plug him into you. Nevertheless it seems to me plain you ought to allow him to use your kidneys for that hour–it would be indecent to refuse.”
“Again, suppose pregnancy lasted only an hour, and constituted no threat to life or health. And suppose that a woman becomes pregnant as a result of rape. Admittedly she did not voluntarily do anything to bring about the existence of a child. Admittedly she did nothing at all which would give the unborn person a right to the use of her body. All the same it might well be said, as in the newly amended violinist story, that she ought to allow it to remain for that hour–that it would be indecent of her to refuse.” [xviii]

Ah, the milk of human kindness!

Thomson has argued that women ought to be able to abort her unborn child for any reason, but then comes out with the statement above. You can cut the violinist loose or abort your unborn baby as you choose, without recriminations from anyone, but if the time needed to cure him or to deliver the baby is shortened dramatically, then you really ought to just suck it up and do what is best for them. Yeah, really, it doesn’t matter how you feel, just do it! It would be indecent if you didn’t!

The question is, though, where do you draw the line? If it is “indecent” of you to refuse to support the violinist or your baby for one hour, then why would it also not be indecent to support them for two hours? How about 24 hours? A week? A month? We have seen that Thomson refused to discuss defining when a human being becomes a person, but here she has no compunction in saying that one hour of your time is decently obligatory.

How did she come up with this rationale? And why? It seems a little strange that she can vigorously promote a heinous, murderous lifestyle and then attempt to bring a sense of guilt into it. Kind of like baking your cake and then refusing to eat it. This is moral and philosophical hypocrisy.

Either abortion is wrong or it is not. The picture is black and white. There is no shading in it. If it is perfectly fine for a woman to kill her unborn child at any time, for any reason, then there is no shame in her refusal to countenance it for another hour. If abortion is legitimate in any and all circumstances, then women everywhere should be able to engage in the practice without shame or disapproval from anyone. [xix]


“…while I do argue that abortion is not impermissible, I do not argue that it is always permissible.”[xx]

To be fair to Thomson, it does seem that she has a sense of going too far with this line of reasoning. The problem is that she started out with the idea that abortion should be allowable in cases like rape and the life/death of the mother. This morphed into the “right to life” vs. “women’s rights” and it is neither extraordinary nor surprising that the pro-abortion lobby took the ball and ran with it. If Thomson had spoken in plain English and said that abortion was allowable in life or death cases and rape cases only, but not in any other, she would have gotten nowhere near the hearing and publicity her essay generated. Unfortunately, since January 22, 1973, tens of millions of American babies have been brutally murdered legally and part of the responsibility for that slaughter lands in Thomson’s lap. She should have stopped while she was ahead.


That brings us to Thomson’s retelling of the parable of the Good Samaritan, which she proceeded to mangle. I have quoted the entire parable. Thomson only used half of it, [xxii], which enabled her to twist it out of shape and more easily fold it into her narrative.

“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii [xxi] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’  

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37)

A Good Samaritan has come to mean someone who does something kind for another person who needs assistance. There is nothing wrong with that definition and we should all be ready and willing to help whenever someone needs it, but this is not the whole story.

Some 2000 years ago, a lawyer asked Jesus to explain the process by which a person could gain eternal life. The answer he got was not what he was expecting. He knew the Law. He knew what he was supposed to do. He knew how he was supposed to live. He thought that eternal life could be gained by following a regimen of laws. Jesus, however, drove the lesson home that simply obeying the law was not good enough and that he had to consider another aspect of this–“love your neighbor as yourself.”

Of course, being human, he didn’t really want to go down that road, so trying to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”, and received the lesson in the form of the parable shown above.

To begin with, Jesus slammed the religious leaders (Pharisees, Levites) of the day by calling them hypocrites in no uncertain words. These were the same people who “strained at gnats, but swallowed camels.” [xxiii] They knew all the nit-picking details of the law and insisted that their constituents adhere to them, but refused to show any mercy or kindness toward the people overburdened by their rules. They focused strenuously on being “clean”, but wouldn’t dirty their hands to help a man in acute distress. Instead, they continually added more to the spiritual load calling it “righteousness.” Not a lot different than the bureaucracy we have today, just a different religion.

A priest and a Levite, both of whom were scholars and experts in the Law, passed by on the road without offering to lift a finger. If they had had cell phones, they probably wouldn’t have bothered to call 911. Yet, a Samaritan, whom the Jews of the day regarded as beneath them (unclean, pariah) stopped to help the man, took him to a hotel, gave the management a large sum of money in advance, and promised to return and settle any remaining balance. All the innkeeper had to do was to nurse the man back to health. It is interesting that one denarius at that time was equivalent in value to ten donkeys. This man fronted the value of twenty donkeys, two denarii, which, for most people of that time, would have been a very large sum.

At the end of the parable, Jesus asked the lawyer which one of the three would have been considered the victim’s neighbor, to which the lawyer replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Exactly! And this is what Jesus commanded him to do. “Go thou and do likewise.” In other words, have mercy on others when it is within your power to do so. Treat them in the same way that you would want to be treated if you were in that situation. As the Golden Rule [xxiv] puts it, “Do to others what you would like to have done to yourself.” Or to put it in a different light, don’t do to others what you would not want to have done to yourself. This timeless concept is not unique to Christianity, but is nearly universal across all religions, societies, and cultures. What a simple, yet beautiful way to live!

It is unfortunate, but Thomson twists this around and tries to make it an argument of law.

“…no person is morally required to make large sacrifices to sustain the life of another who has no right to demand them,…we are not morally required to be Good Samaritans…” [xxv]

No one is required to show mercy. No one can be forced to be kind. No one should be made to call the police when a murder is taking place in their neighborhood, let alone interfere [xxvi]. No woman should be required to show mercy to her unborn child, which is true, but she shouldn’t be able to kill it either because she doesn’t want it. In the same way, no woman should be forced to keep and rear an infant or a toddler if she really doesn’t want to, but it doesn’t follow that she ought to be able to throw it out into a snowbank in the middle of a blizzard.

Kindness, compassion, and mercy are heart attitudes and cannot be reduced to legality. Good Samaritanism is born out of love toward others, especially those weaker and needier than we are. It is not a behavior which can be legislated, regulated, and sanctioned by law. It is an understanding that we do what is right, regardless of the cost, simply because of the love in our hearts for our fellow man or woman, whomever and wherever they may be.  

Thomson argues that women ought to at least be Minimally Decent Samaritans [xxvii], but they shouldn’t have to bear the burden for an unreasonable time, certainly not more than an hour. In other words, show mercy to your unborn child so long as it doesn’t cause you undue hardship, but when you get tired of carrying the load, throw it into the ditch alongside the road. Or the garbage can at the abortion mill, whichever is closer. This is nothing more than guilt manipulation, which boils down to “moral requirement”—anathema to her own stated viewpoint.

Thomson’s argument could not be further from the truth. A Good Samaritan mother who really loved (had mercy on) her unborn baby (neighbor) would commit to any cost, any hardship, in order to give her child what it needed to live and prosper.

Abortion is real. It is close to home. It causes enormous damage to the human family. It is a monstrous act. It is comparable to the thieves who set upon the traveler, beat him, took everything he had, and left him for dead. It cannot and should not be compared to goodness which springs out of a loving heart.

[i] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Jarvis_Thomson

[ii] Judith Jarvis Thomson: A Defense of Abortion.  First published in Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol. 1, No. 1. (Autumn, 1971)

[iii] 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

[iv] Thomson: A Defense of Abortion

[v] Ibid.

[vi] Ibid. Section 8

[vii] Ibid.

[viii] https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/W126.pdf

[ix] https://ahca.myflorida.com/MCHQ/Central_Services/Training_Support/docs/TrimesterByReason_2018.pdf

[x] Sandra Mahkorn, “Pregnancy and Sexual Assault,” The Psychological Aspects of Abortion, eds. Mall & Watts, (Washington, D.C., University Publications of America, 1979) 55-69. Mahkorn found that 75-85% of raped, pregnant victims chose NOT to abort their unborn child, preferring instead to carry it to delivery.

[xi] Rape and incest, along with fetal abnormalities are commonly cited as reasons why abortion on demand needs to be allowed, but these three categories account for a very small percentage of total abortions—3% or less. According to the Florida statistic cited above, rape, incest, and fetal abnormality were listed as cause in just over 1% of abortions. Blending these numbers with Makhorn’s assertion, we can deduce that there were approximately 400 rape cases in Florida in 2018 which resulted in pregnancy, 300 of which were delivered naturally. This is hardly solid ground on which to base legal abortion.

[xii] https://humandefense.com/pro-abortion-speech-the-deception-of-dehumanizing-the-preborn/

[xiii] https://www.liveaction.org/news/planned-parenthood-abortion-deceptive-ultrasound/

[xiv] Thomson: A Defense of Abortion, Section 1

[xv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1071024/

[xvi] In some ectopic pregnancies, the embryo will be absorbed by the woman’s body, eliminating it. Others may be discovered by a physician due to a complaint of physical pain by the woman. If an ectopic pregnancy is not terminated, it will develop to the point that the woman’s life is endangered. Therefore, it should rightfully be considered self-preservation on her part to terminate the pregnancy. It is not murder in any sense of the word.

[xvii] “If an unborn individual is a person, entitled to rights, he is entitled to the right to life (in the libertarian sense). This right implies a correlative duty on the part of all other persons not to take his life, except in two cases: first, if the child commits aggression against the life of another person; and second, if the continued lives of the child and another person are mutually incompatible because of existential circumstances beyond their control. The first case raises the privilege of self-defense, which permits a victim of aggression to protect his own life, even if that protection requires taking the aggressor’s life. The second raises the privilege of self-preservation, which permits an innocent individual to take the life of another innocent individual in an “emergency situation in which both cannot survive and the survival of one depends upon the denial to the other of the means of survival.”—Edwin Viera, Jr., from Libertarians for Life, 1978.

[xviii] Thomson: A Defense of Abortion, Section 5

[xix] Walter Block and Roy Whitehead tapped into the same vein of thought. Pregnant women cannot be stopped from committing suicide, but they can be prevented from doing so for a reasonable amount of time, at least, a few hours during which their unborn fetuses can be removed and saved. After that, the woman is free to go.

Block and Whitehead: A Private Property Rights Approach to Resolving the Abortion Controversy, cited above, footnote #3.

[xx] Ibid. Section 8

[xxi] https://www.thefreedictionary.com/denarii

[xxii] Verses 30-35

[xxiii] For a serious reading of the opinion Jesus had for the religious leaders of his day, see this passage of Scripture

[xxiv] This world would be a much better place if everyone was to follow this advice. Instead, we usually just point the finger at someone else. 

[xxv] Thomson: A Defense of Abortion, Section 6

[xxvi] Supposedly, according to the New York Times, 37 or 38 people watched this horrific rape and murder, yet no one did anything to help the victim directly nor did they call the police. This claim has since been debunked. Fake news isn’t anything new to the 21st Century. The Times has been practicing for decades.  https://www.history.com/topics/crime/kitty-genovese

[xxvii] Minimally Decent Samaritanism: Doing the least amount possible to alleviate someone else’s hurt and then persuading yourself that you did a good deed. A good example of this would be to witness a head-on collision on the highway directly in front of you, calling 911, and driving on without ever stopping to see if anyone is hurt or if you can help. Later you can exonerate yourself by saying, “Well, I did call 911.”

Abortion and the Non-Aggression Principle, Part II

Editor’s Note: This article originally was published on January 5, 2019, in another blog I write. See here. The only change between this post and the original is the cleanup of a few links. None of the subject matter or text was altered.

“…libertarianism is not at all a philosophy of life. Rather, it is a very, very, very limited philosophy. It pretty much asks only one question: “when is violence against another person justified?” and pretty much gives only one answer: “only in response to a prior use of violence, or threats.” That is, violence may properly be used only in defense, not offense. When the latter is engaged in, the perpetrator should be punished. That’s libertarianism in a nutshell,…”–Walter Block

Gasoline on the fire!

Although many people might think otherwise, the debate over abortion is centered on one question—is the unborn fetus a person with an inalienable right to life? Or not? Women’s rights are peripheral to this.

If it is true that a fetus is a person, then Walter Block has exposed a contradiction of the NAP on this issue. Any attempt to terminate a pregnancy through abortion would be an act of aggression against an unborn person.

Of course, the opposing view is that an unborn fetus is not a person and can be treated in any way desired by the woman, without interference from anyone else. If this is true, then there is no inconsistency within the NAP.

This is the question which must be answered. Either the fetus is a person or it is not. Either/or, but not both. There are no other choices. If it can be shown that a fetus is a person with the innate right to life, it will be impossible to defend the “right to choose.” On the other hand, if it can be proven to NOT be a person, the pro-life argument collapses into a quivering pile of nothingness.

If Zager and Evans were correct in their prediction, “…you’ll pick your sons, pick your daughters too, from the bottom of a long, glass tube…”, the personality of the child will be visible from the very beginning. As technology improves, viability will be pushed to an earlier and earlier date, which will erode any claim that the fetus does not become a person until an arbitrary point in time is reached. The use of ultrasound, imaging, and medical science will continue to support and bolster the pro-life position that a live, human, individual with a personality all its own exists. These are going to be extremely difficult hurdles for politics and rationalization to clear, regardless of judicial orders.

The burden of proof rests heavily on the pro-abortion side of this debate. It has the more difficult task of proving its point. Efforts to show that fetuses are not persons will prove, in the long run, to be futile and insurmountable.

The difference between these two positions cannot be reconciled. It will never be settled nor agreed upon. It is an “all or nothing” war of conflicting ideas. The NAP is skewed toward “women’s rights” and, as a consequence, does not allow the right to life to be extended to all unborn persons, only those who are “wanted”.

If libertarianism is a horse carrying its riders to freedom and the NAP is the saddle those riders rest on, then the abortion issue is a burr under that saddle. It will always be there, irritating and counter-productive, until it is removed and ceases to be a problem. When will that be? How will it happen? I don’t know. I can’t predict the future, but I believe it will have something to do with individuals gradually and peacefully changing their minds and then changing their ways. Repentence, in other words. Hopefully, libertarianism won’t end up as Bob Seger put it so brilliantly, “…caught like a wildfire out of control, til there was nothing left to burn and nothing left to prove…”

Where do we go from here? My answer, short and simple–keep moving. Don’t allow this single issue to tear us apart. A solution will appear, sooner or later, and it might be quite a lot later, maybe not until the year 6565. Doesn’t matter. Keep moving.

Abortion and the Non-Aggression Principle

Editor’s Note: This article originally was published on December 23, 2018, in another blog I write. See here. See also this immediate response. As far as I’m concerned, Michael Rozeff’s honor is above reproach. The only change between this post and the original is the cleanup of a few links. None of the subject matter or text was altered.

I have a lot of respect for Michael Rozeff. I read his articles and letters regularly and usually do not find anything with which to disagree. In a recent post on Lew Rockwell, however, he wrote something which just grated on me and, apparently others as well. See here and here.

Michael Rozeff is wrong. Something does not have to be capable of life outside the womb (with assistance, of course) in order to have being. (An unhatched bald eagle does not need to be capable of living outside the shell to be considered worthy of legal protection.) He says that “Fetuses that cannot survive outside the womb are not yet human beings…” (Which is like saying that a chick which cannot survive outside the shell is not yet an eagle.) My question to him is that if they are not human beings, then what are they?

Being means existence and it is scientifically undeniable that a human life exists. If there is no existence, there is no need of argument. The new human being (zygote, blastocyst, embryo, fetus, unborn child) IS, emphatically so, and therefore HAS being.

Even after 23 weeks of pregnancy when a fetus can conceivably survive outside the womb, it cannot live without care, nurture, and a protective environment, in other words, exactly what is needed to survive before 23 weeks. Furthermore, when a person becomes old or disabled and cannot survive without care, nurture, and a protective environment, does she, according to Rozeff’s argument, lose her so-called right of being and risk being “aborted”. Did Terri Schiavo become a non-being and were all the lengthy machinations over her life and death simply much ado about nothing? Or did they really matter?

Everyone needs assistance from other people to survive and live at some point in their lives. Everyone, without exception! There has never been nor ever will be anyone who simply springs into being who does not require care, nurture, and a protective environment at some time in his life. If one’s innate right to live is contingent on his ability to live independently of others, then we are all in trouble, since none of us are truly independent.

Rozeff uses the argument that if a woman wants an abortion, no one can deprive her of it. It is her “right”, if  you will.  What this line of reasoning does, however, is to give pregnant women the authority to violate the rights of their unborn offspring, at their own discretion, without repercussion, hindrance, sanction, or punishment. He then attempts to get around this dilemma by declaring that “viable, with assistance” is the determining factor in deciding when an unborn fetus actually becomes a “person”, which approximates the Roe v. Wade ruling of the Supreme Court. He never says what the unborn fetus is before it reaches that point. I repeat my question—if it is not a human being, then what is it?

The NAP is dead. Long live the NAP!

It appears to me that the NAP (non-aggression principle), so beloved by libertarians everywhere, has a fatal contradiction. On the one hand, no one can (should be able to) force a woman to carry her pregnancy to term. On the other hand, no one should be able to initiate aggression against an unborn human being by killing and aborting it. These two positions are diametrically opposed and cannot be reconciled. Either the NAP will allow women to act aggressively against their unborn children or it will accord protection to unborn children against that aggression until a point is reached when viable separation (eviction, birth) can occur. Either one or the other, but not both! The problem lies in deciding which of these positions is supported.

In an earlier blog post, Rozeff lays it out quite well.

“…to resolve this problem of definition and starting point philosophically or religiously, we need to specify what a human being or person IS. What IS this “I”? What is the BEING that “I” am, and that you are?”

Exactly! What is a human being? What is a person? This whole argument over abortion and women’s “right to choose” is going to forever hinge on these two questions. How do we determine the answer to them? What will be the TRUTH that we point to and anchor our decision in? Dogmatic religious beliefs? Scientific fact? Fluctuating social mores? Fickle political whims? Regardless of the method used, someone is going to be upset with the result. There will always be someone who feels that the decision is wrong and must be changed to better reflect their own opinion.

Human beings ARE. Being is real and is a gift from God or, if you prefer, a random accident of chance. Before pregnancy, a child can be hoped for or dreamed about.  After death, people are considered memories. While alive, however, he or she IS a person, no matter how young or old. The right to live is granted to persons everywhere simply because they are, by virtue of being, persons.

The political definition of “person-hood” is something else entirely, an abstract notion which is conferred and can mean anything at any time. (Dred Scott, Jews in Nazi Germany, e.g.). This so-called person-hood is a “right” given by certain powerful people to other less powerful people and can be taken away at any time, depending on the whim of the moment. Just because five members of a nine-member panel say that a human being does not become a “person” and have “rights” until he or she is viable does not necessarily make it so.

It is inevitable that aggression will be forced on someone—either the woman or the fetus. Someone will have to undergo suffering against her (or his) will. How do we determine which will be the one to suffer? The methodology used today, right now, is politics. If you make a loud enough noise, you will be given what you want. At someone else’s expense!  For a long, long time the loudest noise has been made by the pro-abortion crowd, which has attempted to justify its position by declaring that unborn human beings are not really “persons”. Since at least Jan. 22, 1973, this has been the deciding factor.

When viewed from a purely moral (right vs. wrong) standard, it is obvious that abortion, as it is practiced today, is a heinous crime against the most vulnerable persons among us. This morality does not have to incorporate any religious beliefs in order to be valid. The scientific facts are enough—an unborn fetus IS a live personal human being and, as such, requires that measures be taken to care for, nurture, and protect it until it becomes capable of independent living, with assistance, of course. The NAP must apply, despite protestations to the contrary! Sadly, the moral viewpoint is denigrated and dismissed in much of the discussion of this issue. Instead, it has taken a back seat to the idea that some people have more “rights” than others and interference with those “rights” is a blatant aggression. Rights have become more important than what is right.

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.

In the post cited above, Rozeff makes this statement.

“…people need to understand their essential be-ing in order to understand how they should treat one another.”

Perhaps he should consider rephrasing this statement to read that “pregnant women need to understand…how they should treat their unborn children.” Perhaps abortion proponents should consider “doing unto others in the same manner that they would like to have done unto them.” Perhaps the Humanity Bureau will rise one day to determine who should live. And who shouldn’t.

Until everyone is protected from aggression, no one is safe.