Abortion is justified as evicting a trespasser from private property – but not as killing — Analysis
The woman should have full access to her womb, and she shouldn’t be responsible for any aborted fetus.
With the present kerfuffle concerning the Supreme Court’s rejection of Roe v. Wade, it might be a good time to consider the philosophical case for and against abortion. Is it the pro-choice position or the prolife view? Neither. There is only one stance that can be tenable: evictionism.
Starting with the assumption human life does not begin at birth or when the heart begins beating, but in the fertilized egg. Young people in this phase of development are entitled to all rights, including the right not being murdered. This position can be taken for at least argumentndo. Firstly, the evictionist position allows for the death of pre-birth human beings, see below, and I don’t want to be guilty of engaging in any straw man arguments. The nine-month old fetus about to give birth is not different from any post-birth infant. Birth is not a change in address. It is illegal to kill the second, which it most definitely is. The fertilized egg that was the beginning of human existence is not in any way different to the one above.
So what is evictionism then? The view that a mother is entitled to expel her child at any stage in its development. However, she cannot ever kill her child (aside from self-defense when her safety or health are at risk). At the present level of medical technology, this means that when and if evictionism is adopted as the law of the land, the baby’s life will be protected during the last trimester, when it is viable outside the womb, but not during the first two trimesters, during the time that it is not capable of living on its own (even with help, of course). Evictionism is a compromise between pro-lifers and pro-choice.
We are in a unique position. This is possible because of the private property rights. Mother is fully and completely responsible for her body. She has “mixed her labor” with this physique of hers, in the words of philosopher John Locke, hence she is the proper owner of it.
How about the unborn baby? A trespasser is the unwanted pre-birth child! In the instance of rape, this is obvious. As a woman walks down the street, she is raped and immunized. The woman now has an entire rights-bearing child growing within her. The father of this small child is definitely a criminal. However, her youngster is completely innocent. Yet, it is in the position of occupying someone else’s property, its mother’s, without her permission.
Individual A may drug or render unconscious person B by using drugs and then secretly sneak him aboard a plane or boat owned by person C. Person B is also an innocent trespasser. Person C can’t force person B to give up his belongings to him to death. Person A is a killer. Proper (e.g. liberty) law does not have a positive obligation. Therefore, person C is not legally entitled to be called a Good Samaritan. The same applies to women who expel their babies during the first 2 trimesters. However, they are within their rights.
It would be nice, decent, lovely, if she harbored her baby for the full nine months, and, also, if person C saved person B’s life. However, none should be accused of a crime of engaging in supererogatory behaviour beyond what is legally permitted.
Was there any voluntary intercourse that leads to an unwanted pregnancy? The woman is then obligated to carry on her pregnancy for nine more months. After all, did she not, in effect, at least implicitly “invite” the fetus to stay with her for that period of time, and thus cannot be considered a trespasser?
No. No. There was no fertilized egg at the time of sexual intercourse. It was impossible to invite anyone. The sperm takes some time to reach the uterus, then into the fallopian tubes and meet the egg. Trespassers are all unwanted pre-birth infants! This rule applies only to the situation in which the mother is legally obligated to not evict any very small child growing inside her.
There are a number of compromise positions being talked about now. Heartbeat, 15 Weeks, Some states will take this route, while others go in the opposite direction. These contentious times call for compromise. However, only evictionism can offer a philosophical reason for such a compromise.
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