Klavan on abortion

As I grow older, I lean more and more towards a Libertarian’s view of the world. Klavan sums up my feelings on abortion, and Gay marriage, and legalizing drugs in this piece pretty well in this piece. Yes, I know full well that many of the things I say and post here do, in fact, tend to cause many Social Conservatives to have outbreaks of offendeditis. But, on abortion, I believe the evidence is clear, abortion DOES kill an innocent unborn child. And, in the end, as Klavan says, whether the baby is alive or not is THE ONLY argument that really matters.

I’ve come to see that every single argument in favor of unlimited abortion simply skips over the decisive question: is an unborn child a human being or not? You can’t say killing a human being is a private matter. You can’t say a woman has “a right to choose” whether to kill a human being. You can’t say it’s okay to kill a human being because he was the product of rape or incest. You can’t argue that protecting the life of a human being unfairly extends government power — the government already has, and must have, that power. And you surely can’t say we must kill masses of innocent humans for the greater good of society. That’s more than hitlerian. It’s satanic.

You can see pro-choicers stumble over this problem of logic when feminists, say, complain that people are aborting far more girls than boys or when gays worry that the discovery of a “gay gene” may lead to a “gay holocaust” by abortion. It ain’t a holocaust if you’re not killing people. And if unborn children aren’t human, why shouldn’t parents kill them off until they get the one they want?

I still believe it’s possible for a person of good will to make the argument that a fetus is not fully human for some small period of its development. Thomas Aquinas did — and the man was a saint. But more and more, that point of view is coming to seem to me pre-scientific. In any case, if that’s the argument pro-choicers want to have, let’s have that argument, and no other — because no other matters. And if we as a free people decide that unborn children are children indeed, there is no moral alternative: we must not only end abortion but put our full efforts into supporting humane and broadly available methods of welcoming the unwanted.

One thought on “Klavan on abortion”

  1. I haven’t seen any pro-choicer argue that the fetus or baby or unborn child (pick your nomenclature) is not alive. Abortion stops a beating heart: no kidding. But that’s not a consideration that matters and in fact isn’t relevant at all to the question of whether abortion should be legal. Which, incidentally, is just another way of saying “whether the government should have the power to make women stay pregnant.” In fact I do say that killing a human being can and should be a private matter: Shooting a home invader stops a beating heart, too, if your aim is good enough. Because he was human, is my right to self-defense negated? Does someone else get to decide whether I defend my own life? I’m not comparing an unwanted baby to a burglar. I am saying that whether the adult life you end is human isn’t in doubt. The law recognizes any number of situations in which ending human life is justified. Every one of those contexts recognizes and upholds the right to life of the man who ends life, and then assigns a level of guilt or exoneration: first degree, second degree, murder, homicide, manslaughter, justifiable homicide, and so on. Underlying them all is the idea that the individual who ended life had the right to uphold his own life and safety against another who sought to infringe that right. Again: not saying a baby is an assault. But the same right to life that makes my wallet mine, makes my killing of an assailant justified, and makes my decision whether to become or remain pregnant mine and mine alone. That is the only valid use of the term “right to life” in the abortion debate: the right to life of the woman involved, and her right to take all the steps and make all the decisions to steer her life on the course *she* thinks best. Who else has the right to tell a woman that she has to remain pregnant? It’s not unheard of even today for women to die from the complications of pregnancy. Are you going to argue that the woman’s right to steer her life, her health, her work are to be subordinated to others’ emotionalism? There’s nothing else to explain the third party attachment to a theoretically possible birth. Am I to remain celibate for life, on the off chance of an unintended pregnancy, because someone else decided for me? No contraceptive is 100% effective. My choice then becomes: celibacy or broodmare? What then of my independence? I’m no liberal evading the eugenics history of the progressives. That such a movement flourished, and that elements of it still flourish today, doesn’t change the fact that I own my life: all of it, including the decision to take a particular job, to donate to a cause, to give birth. Morally, all of it is mine to decide. The situations Mr. Klavan cites–incest, rape, eugenics–are, with respect to the moral question of abortion, non-essentials and base emotional appeals. Left out of his calculus is: if you don’t want an unborn baby penalized for rape, why do you want the fully-adult woman penalized for it? The one essential question is: does a woman have the right to determine the course of her own life, or does she not? Mr. Klavan says not. I’m sorry to see that you agree with him.

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