Unclear on the concept

In an article on pro-life women and feminism, columnist Kathleen Parker wrote, "I'm libertarian-leaning enough to insist that government should have no role in determining what anyone does with his or her body -- as long as no one else is hurt."

Seriously. You read that correctly. She actually wrote, "as long as no one else is hurt."

About abortion.

And this lady is supposed to be a conservative intellectual. If this is what truly passes for intellectualism in the conservative movement, we are in very deep trouble.

Comments:

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Ben, before you make any Randy Newman references (such as this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_People ), you should know that IIRC Gina is about 5'2". Fair warning, my friend.

And I think you've attracted enough attention here, so I've avoided piling on even though you invited me (earlier). But to do you the courtesy of giving you an answer, I'd say it's up to each person's moral convictions in both cases. Assuming, of course, that by "moral convictions" you mean "right and wrong" rather than "better or worse". So I can include that it's wrong to expel a blastocyst, *and* wrong to not give $200 to save a child, in all cases. (One difference is that the blastocyst goes from being definitely alive to definitely dead, while the $200 may not all be used to save the child. It is a rare charity that would actually devote even $190 to that purpose. So one situation is binary - except for those people who have survived abortifacients - and the other is an analog sliding scale.)
Unclear on the Concept(tion)
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Ben said, “Forgive me, but I don’t see any ethical difference between the two cases.”

I’m saddened that you don’t see any ethical difference between the two cases, Ben, but I’m heartened that you do see the need to ask for forgiveness for it.
"You're basically saying that it's okay to steal from women, so long as it goes to helping a good cause."

No, Ben. I am saying the stealing was already done and there is nothing to be done about it except to hunt the presumed rapist down, which is the states job. My point is that murder doesn't make it better.
"To me" Ben, someone who puts family honor before health is less unadmirable then someone who puts health before family honor and honor-killings are just a perversion of that. Be that as it may the point is that in the one case a family shifts it's embarrassment on the victim, and in another the victim shifts her inconvenience on an innocent party.

As for "holding one's body hostage" no one's body belongs completely to them. If there was a foreign invasion, you would be subject to conscription, and we are so sorry you didn't order said invasion.
The HEALTH of a tiny organism, or the LIFE of a tiny organism? The sleight-of-hand was slick, Ben, but not completely undetectable. :-)

And while we're talking about semantics, what's the difference between a human being and an organism, and what does size have to do with any of this?
Eh, still not a great analogy.
A family performing an honor killing places honor or pride above a woman's life.
A woman getting an abortion places her health and future above the health of a tiny organism.
To me, killing a real, breathing woman over pride is much more clearcut and wrong than killing a tiny organism half an inch long for the sake of your future or health.


Re: stealing for starving Chinese kids, we're missing each other. You're basically saying that it's okay to steal from women, so long as it goes to helping a good cause. I.e., it's okay to force a woman to carry a child to term, even if it was put there against her will, because removing the fetus would kill it.

So I asked, well, if stealing from women to save "innocent lives" is okay, that also justifies stealing from people to save starving Chinese kids, right? Forgive me, but I don't see any ethical difference between the two cases.
Ben what you are proposing is to transfer the result of an act of injustice from one innocent party to another by an act of murder. How is that different from an honor-killing? Other then the fact that honor is a more aesthetically attractive motive then the avoidance of unforseen work?
Ben, if you steal money from me to give to starving Chinese kids, that does not give me the right to steal from someone else.
Who's talking about stealing cars, anyway? I don't think that's a great analogy.

You're saying that even if a woman's rights have been violated, she's obliged to carry an innocent human non-being inside of her, at great personal risk and expense to herself.

If saving lives is worth taking people's bodies and money from them, can I steal money from you and give it to starving Chinese kids?

(sorry if I seem hyperbolous - just not sure how to explain myself).
The second case I already explained, Ben. If one's own car is stolen it does not thereby become legal to another person's car.

And by the way, keep repeating that phrase "judgement day".
Boxers knowingly put themselves at risk, and it is reasonable to expect that they might get a broken nose out of the deal at some point.

This analogy does not extend, however, to women who are raped or unknowledgeable about how baby-making works. They have not consented, correct?

(We'd keep arguing about women on the pill 'til Judgment Day..)
"No.. no, it really doesn't. I specifically pointed out that (a) not every woman chooses to take that risk; some have it forced upon them, and (b) taking such a risk doesn't imply consent to have your body taken hostage. I can leave my car parked in a bad part of town, risking that it will get stolen, but that doesn't mean that theft should be legal."

It doesn't mean that stealing someone else's car to make up for the theft should be legal either.
As for taking a risk doesn't imply consent, it most certainly does. We do not demand that boxers have plastic surgery to their broken noses at other people's expense? Taking a risk does imply consent and those who would say it does not, are justifying childishness and cowardice. Which is a poor base if the right to infanticide is based on "womens rights".
Jason said, "The analogy to hostage-taking, besides being grotesque ignores the fact that the mother chose to take a risk which of course included "having her body held hostage" as you so elegantly put it."

No.. no, it really doesn't. I specifically pointed out that (a) not every woman chooses to take that risk; some have it forced upon them, and (b) taking such a risk doesn't imply consent to have your body taken hostage. I can leave my car parked in a bad part of town, risking that it will get stolen, but that doesn't mean that theft should be legal.

LQ: connecting this back to the the Singer thread: so, it's always wrong to evict a 1-celled blastocyst from the womb using the morning-after pill, yet it's up to each person's moral convictions as to whether he should give $200 to save a living, breathing, feeling 5-year old on the next continent?

Singer thread: http://thepoint.breakpoint.org/tp-home/blog-archives/blog-archives/entry/4/14617

You know, as I said, I favor other arguments besides libertarianism for Pro-Choiceness, but this has turned into an interesting discussion.
"More or less, the argument goes that no person has a right to hold another hostage and force them to provide for you, so an unborn child does not have rights to the mother's body "

But if someone steals a car for a joyride and finds out he has unwittingly kidnapped someone sleeping in the back, he has no right to kill that victim to save himself the trouble.

The analogy to hostage-taking, besides being grotesque ignores the fact that the mother chose to take a risk which of course included "having her body held hostage" as you so elegantly put it.
Ben, as I was mulling over the libertarian arguments you discuss (and I know you said they weren't actually your own), it occurred to me that this is one of the areas where too much "rights" talk can muddy the waters. I'm all for rights, but with rights go responsibilities.

To extend the analogies a little: What if the alternative to having the hungry child in your home was putting him outside on your doorstep, where you had to keep stepping over him, to starve? What if the alternative to having the unwelcome guest in your home was sending him outside to face a known serial killer who had a knife? Certainly one could make a case that one had a "right" to do such things (especially if one were Scrooge), but would any decent human being do them?
I'll add,
Kathleen Parker's comment makes no more sense to me than any of you. Maybe she's dancing around the idea of just "evicting" the fetus from the womb, instead of killing it? Of course there's no practical distinction between the two, but it's the kind of distinction that a libertarian might draw.
Just reporting, not taking sides
I believe that the "libertarian" aspect of abortion deals with sovereignty over one's body. More or less, the argument goes that no person has a right to hold another hostage and force them to provide for you, so an unborn child does not have rights to the mother's body (perhaps some rights after a age of viability? I'm not sure).

While the baby/fetus/whatever has done nothing "wrong", its rights to live do not supersede the mother's right to manage her own body.

My thoughts / typical arguments or counterarguments:
1) Well, I disagree.
R: What do you disagree with? Would you say that other children or disabled people should have a right to your income if they need it to feed themselves? If not, how is this different from an unborn child?

2) The mother granted the baby the right to grow in her womb when she had sex.
R: Not if she was raped or uneducated about how sex works (ignorance is a valid excuse here, I think). And certainly this argument is also weaker if she was on birth control: she wasn't *intending* to have a child, so there's no implicit consent to childbearing.


Personally, I "get" the libertarian argument, but I'm pro-choice for other reasons.
I could understand (intellectually, but not agree) if she was arguing that the unborn child isn't alive or isn't human. Then, she could say that no one else is hurt. However, she is not saying that (and it's a very hard argument to make because it's obviously wrong).

I agree that transforming attitudes will ultimately have more of an effect on the number of abortions than legislation will. However, that doesn't mean that abortion shouldn't be illegal. The harder it is to obtain, the better. I agree with Rolley on this; addressing the issue from both angles is important.
Frederic Bastiat,
Obviously one of the greatest libertarian thinkers of all time, might shed some light on the subject:

"Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place."
It is a matter of honor as much as of efficiency. While appealing to hearts is fine, the state's justification is that it protects and avenges innocent people. To not do that, is to not fulfill it's place.
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