Autonomy, Abortion, and Patriarchy

There is a good read on Libertarian Christian on why

  1. We own our bodies like everything else we have (“As a leasehold from God”, I would add, “and not the State or the Collective.”)
  2. Why its wrong to claim that the unborn child has no right to retain his life in his own body for the nine months of pregnancy.

But what’s interesting is that Matt Walsh (who the writer, Kerry Baldwin, is responding against) subordinates the ownership rights of the mother, to that of the child. Baldwin argues against this. She writes:

Walsh throws the baby out with the bathwater.

Walsh’s view of rights suffers the ambiguity that Murray Rothbard seeks to avoid through the concept of self-ownership. So we have to go further than just claiming our rights come from God. It would be fine if Walsh were saying that a woman’s bodily autonomy doesn’t extend to her the power to determine the rights-bearing status of the fetus. But he doesn’t. He simply affirms the bodily autonomy of the fetus at the expense of the woman’s.

Libertarian prolifers reject this, holding that the absolute self-ownership of both the woman and fetus are necessarily upheld, not one at the expense of the other.

If Walsh was not more interested in shutting down pro-choicers, then he might see the benefit bodily autonomy actually provides the pro-life case. One major problem with his view is that it declares that women don’t have bodily autonomy because the more important issue is the baby. This is an emotional appeal to the condition of the baby’s defenselessness, and an accusation of female selfishness. To be sure, the baby is, in fact, defenseless, but appealing to the baby’s defenselessness as the reason why a woman can’t have bodily autonomy, is an emotional appeal. And as Walsh’s buddy, Ben Shapiro would say, “facts don’t care about your feelings.”

Women have self-ownership; and by extension bodily autonomy. Fetuses have self-ownership; men have self-ownership, and by extension bodily autonomy as well. And it’s this self-ownership which make it possible to claim any rights to begin with. More to the point, the absolute self-ownership of the woman and the fetus necessitates not aborting the fetus because it would be an abject rights violation. Without the concept of bodily autonomy viz self-ownership, then there is no case to be made that abortion is murder.

The very reason why abortion is murder is because bodily autonomy exists, and the self-ownership of the woman and the fetus necessitate a non-lethal response to unwanted pregnancy.

For more on why self-ownership is necessary to the pro-life position on abortion, please listen to my podcast episodes on Fetal Self-Ownership. [Part 1] [Part 2] Also, see my announcement about my upcoming debate with Dr. Walter Block on his argument for evictionism.

Let me point out that God is not a sentimentalist. Every last sinner, every evil man, is as helpless against God as a squirming infant or an unborn child. That helplessness won’t stop God from casting that wicked man into Hell, and in time the Lake of Fire, forever.

God’s focus is on justice. Mercy does exist, but that is not a matter of law.

That being said, there are patriarchal men who use the pro-life cause merely as an avenue to further the control of all women by all men. There are quite a number of pro-lifer men who simply could not care less about women who are raped, or are forced into prostitution, or are abused by their husbands or lovers. Such pro-lifer men are not particularly interested in justice, mercy, or compassion, but instead are all about the control of women’s bodies.

Such an attitude poisons the pro-life cause turning it into just another tool of oppression. Much like the church, which was supposed to free men, became a tool to oppress men (first women — who are as men under the Law, to be blessed for obedience or cursed for disobedience — then poor men, then men who lack the right political connections.)

Walsh, as well as a large majority of the *vocal and active* pro-life/abolitionist activists, actually are in this conversation for the reasons that pro-choice people say they are, to control women, not to uphold human rights.

The Monstrous Regiment

This reminds me of the sad shift of the Abolitionism movement into patriarchy.

Oppression is not God’s way. It is a cursed and unjust path, a road to failure, and is to be shunned.

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