Tuesday, January 28, 2003


Calvinist Libertarian has this and this on Roe v. Wade.

Consider Sally. She lives out in the boonies. No phone, no car, no neighbors. Somehow a six-year-old child appears in her house. (Either she created him or some jackass put him there by force.) She dislikes his presense on her property, and she puts him out. He finds his way in, and again she puts him out, but he finds his way in. So, she either bludgeons him to death and puts him in the trash, or she carries him out a hundred yards and lets him die of exposure, hunger and thirst. I assume that Sally has done something illegal and terribly immoral. She had a duty to care for the child for some time, until she could manage to hand him off to someone else, even if this would amount to nine months of care. So, I find the commonly proffered moral and legal basis for abortion to be full of holes. On the other hand, you legal experts might inform me that by putting the child out to die of exposure, Sally has not violated the law. If so, I'm wrong, and Roe v. Wade is what our laws commit us to.

Don't get me wrong, I believe abortion is permissible. The fetus is not a person (a being with preferences, and with reflective knowledge of itself and its preferences and of its having a future in which it can discover ways in which to fulfill them). But if it is a person, as the commonly proffered moral a legal basis assumes, it is a hideous crime to kill it. It is murder.