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Archive for August 8th, 2022

If you don’t have the right to bodily autonomy then you cannot be said to really be free.  –  Kelly Wright

Crypto-puritans in the libertarian tent have definitely become more numerous.  A few weeks ago at Freedom Fest, I attended a panel on the dangerous liberty-violating laws that may result now that Roe has been overturned.  Despite the fact that there was even a “pro-life” person on the panel who eloquently explained why she was just as concerned as the others, stupid mumbling and a few loud belches of “dead babies!” and the like warned me of what was to come during the time reserved for questions: a long line of propagandists at the mike who didn’t have questions, but instead wanted to appoint themselves as members of the panel without invitation of permission.  So I was forced to appoint myself as bailiff and shout “THIS IS NOT A QUESTION!” when it became clear that was the case, except for the idiot who made an “argument” involving Marxism equivalent to, “this plastic bottle is actually a plant because both are green”; for that guy, I shouted “This is pure bullshit!”  Then there was the guy who promised his question wasn’t belligerent, then proceeded to make a statement just as propagandistic as the half-dozen before him.  We were only saved by the organizers ejecting us for the next presentation.  It felt like an Evangelical convention had invaded a Libertarian one.  By the by, most of the panelists thanked me for my anger later; I could do from the floor what they really couldn’t from the stage: confront rude, disrespectful twatwaffles with a taste of their own medicine.

It’s certainly possible for a libertarian to be against abortion for themselves and/or in principle, but the second the state becomes involved, using violence to abrogate women’s bodily autonomy, there is no honest way to describe support for such a regime as “libertarian”.  This recent article by Kelly Wright explains it perfectly; it’s rare that I agree with every point made in a persuasive essay, but this is one of those times.  The article is well worth reading in its entirety and I strongly urge you to do so, but here’s the core of the argument:

Are the lives of hypothetical future babies (blastocysts, zygotes, embryos, and fetuses are not babies) worth more than the lives of actual living breathing pregnant individuals?  Are people with the capacity for pregnancy nothing more than walking, potential incubators?  Even if we concede the argument that a fetus is a person with individual rights, libertarians should still oppose abortion restrictions.  If someone is invading your home, you have a right to repel them, especially if your life is at risk.  It follows that if someone is invading your uterus then you also have the right to repel them as well.  Fetuses hijack blood supplies and even begin to leach the calcium out of the bones of the person whose body they have commandeered.  This may seem like a peculiar projection of agency onto fetuses, but it’s no more peculiar than the rights, interests, and souls projected onto fetuses by advocates of fetal personhood and forced pregnancy.  No one has a right to your circulatory system, and if someone has affixed themselves to your circulatory system against your will, you have the right to use force to stop them from doing so.  One rights-bearing individual does not have the right to the calcium in the bones and teeth of another rights-bearing individual…

There’s an incidental point the author makes that you might not have noticed, so I’ll elaborate.  I’ve never made a big deal about people incorrectly calling anything in a pregnant woman’s uterus a “fetus”, because up to now it wasn’t that important.  However, it certainly has become so.  A developing organism of less than 11 weeks gestational age (which is actually 9 weeks after fertilization due to the practice of counting from the last menstrual period) is not, repeat not, a fetus; it is an embryo.  This is important because there is as real and distinct a difference between the two as there is between a fetus and a baby.  Alas, this won’t make any difference at all to prohibitionist politicians, who think the state has the right to classify a bee as a fish, define pi as “3” or declare that the laws of the State supersede the laws of science in any other way.  But using the word “fetus” in a discussion of, say, ectopic pregnancies (when the developing organism rarely makes it to the fetal stage) helps to extend and worsen the scientific ignorance and confusion that prohibitionism relies upon to thrive.  Using the correct terminology won’t sway religious anti-abortion people in the least, because their position is based in belief, not facts.  But it may help the great majority who can be swayed by argument to understand the absurdity and evil of “from point of conception” abortion bans.

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