Ethics of Liberty: Libertarian attitude towards abortion

The Ethics of Liberty — One of the major books M. Rothbard, which can rightly be considered the basis of "libertarian theory." 

Murray Rothbard (Born Murray Rothbard; March 2, 1926, Bronx, New York, USA — January 7, 1995, New York, USA) — American economist, a representative of the Austrian school in economics, one of the followers of the tradition of Ludwig von Mises. He played for the freedom of business and non-interference of the state in economic activity. The representative of the libertarian and a supporter of the construction of the anarchist society based on the free market. Coined the term "anarcho-capitalism".
He was born in the family of David and Rai Rothbard. His father immigrated to the U.S. from Warsaw, and his mother from Russia. He graduated from Columbia University in New York: Bachelor of Mathematics (1945) and a Bachelor of Economics (1946). In 1956, he defended at Columbia University doctoral dissertation on «Toward a Reconstruction of Utility and Welfare Economics».

Children and the Law

First, you should discuss the issue of fetal life the child. What are the property rights of parents or the mother to the fetus? Immediately it should be noted that the conservative Catholic position generally rejected too messy. This position states that the fruit — it's a real person and, therefore, abortion is murder and should be prosecuted just like any other murder.

Usually just reply that the beginning of human life — is his birth and from that moment he becomes natural rights, including the right not to be killed, before the birth of a child is not a living person. But Catholics respond that the fetus is alive and well, of course, is a potential person, and then reduce the problem to a common point of view that the newborn can not be subjected to aggression because it is a potential adult. Although the birth is indeed a good starting point, the usual wording makes birth to an arbitrary dividing line and has not been substantiated in the theory of property itself.

Appropriate bases in the analysis of abortion are in the absolute right of every person to himself. This means that every woman has the absolute right to her own body and all that it contains. This right includes the fruit. Most fruits appear in the womb due to her own will and voluntary consent. But once the mother decides she does not want to find the fetus inside, it becomes a parasitic "invader" of her body and the mother has the right to expel him from their property. Abortion in this case should not be seen as "murder" of a living person, but as the expulsion of an unwanted invader from her body. Therefore, any law restricting or penalizing abortion, violate the rights of mothers.

Meets the argument emanating from the statement that if the mother initially agreed to the conception, it thus entered a "contract" with the result and can not break it by abortion. This doctrine, however, has many problems. First, as we shall see below, a simple promise — it's not a binding contract: the contract may be binding only if the violation involves an implicit theft, but such considerations are, obviously, can not be applied. Second, it obviously can not be a contract, because the fetus (fertilized egg?) Is unlikely to be recognized as a voluntary and intelligent party to the contract. And third, as we have seen before, the key point is the libertarian theory of immunity will and, therefore, a strict ban enforcement contract. Even if I had been here a "contract", it can not be binding, as the will of the mother is inviolable and can not be legally compelled to nurturing and upbringing of the child against his will.

Another argument of opponents of abortion is that the fetus — this is a living human being, and therefore has all the human rights. Ok, let's for the purposes of this discussion, assume that the fetus — a human being, or, more broadly, the potential person — so it makes all human rights. But in this case, we can ask what the person is allowed to forcibly parasite in the human body, it does not want to? Obviously, born people do not have this right and, a fortiori, it can not be the fruit.

Opponents of abortion formulate previous argument in terms of the rights of the fetus "to life", what has the person's birth. We do not use in this work the concept because of its excessive ambition, but also because all the proper rights, which is suggested by its advocates, are included in the concept of "ownership of yourself" — the individual's right to freedom from aggression. Even Professor Judith Thompson, who in his discussion of the issue of abortion is trying to correctly combine the concept of a "right to life" and human rights to his own body, demonstrates the difficulties and mistakes of this doctrine:

"In accordance with some of the points of view of the right to life includes some individual receiving the minimum necessary to sustain life. But suppose that the said at least it's something that he has no rights? If I am terminally ill only thing that will save my life — this is a cool touch of Henry Fonda hand to my hot forehead. It would be very pleased if he came from the West Coast and did it for me. But … I can not have any claims to the others, if he does not. "

The term "right to life" can not be interpreted as obliging a call from someone actions aimed at maintaining this life. In our terminology, this requirement would be an unacceptable violation of the rights of ownership over another individual. Or how convincing it expresses Professor Thomson, "the right to life does not guarantee anybody the right to use the body of another individual — even if it is necessary to maintain the very existence".

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