Property Rights Vs. Abortion
…My journey and reasoning on abortion begins and ends with the view that it is the taking of an innocent life. Whatever the cause of the pregnancy – chosen or not – the unborn child was innocent of causing the pregnancy and therefore not justifiably subject to aggression in the so-called self-defense of the mother.However, for my purpose here, I will approach this issue via the positions of two of the staunchest libertarians of recent times – Murray Rothbard and Walter Block, and primarily Block. Although I believe it to be a moral issue, I will approach it here on their terms. Both have written in favor of abortion (although Block uses the term “evictionism”), and both have defended their respective positions from what they consider to be a libertarian viewpoint: a trespass by the unborn child and the property rights of the mother.With this in mind, I will present the case that it is the unborn child, and not the mother, that has the right of use of the womb for the term of the pregnancy. I base this on causation, reasonable reliance, unilateral contract, and, as Block has introduced the language of landlord and tenant, a lease and the covenant of quiet enjoyment.
Many abortion proponents (including some libertarians) present it as an issue of individual sovereignty, the usual refrain being “my body, my choice” or something similar. The fallacy is that the fetus is assumed to be an extension of the mother’s body – or sometimes even a parasite invading the woman’s body, therefore trespassing on her property – instead of a separate, sovereign being of its own.
Hat tip to The Observer.