Is The Rapist A Murderer If The Rape Victim Carried The Baby To Viability But The Baby Died During Delivery?

From: Anthony Cesario
Sent: Sunday, December 22, 2019 1:07 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Spring 2020 Update and SOHO debate question

Hello Professor Block!

I recently watched your phenomenal SOHO debate on the topic of evicitonism/abortion (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKU_xutF-eQ). First of all, I thought both you and Kerry Baldwin did an excellent job articulating your beliefs on the matter. I also loved your suggestion about getting her argument published in a journal since I’ve tried to read and summarize the various published debates you’ve had on the topic! In addition to reading a published debate between you two, I would also love to listen to an informal discussion on the topic if that was something you both were interested in doing (kind of like your discussions with Daniel Rothschild: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51RgVSuNBEI). I think it could be very productive to go through the nuances of evictionism in that kind of setting rather than in a formal debate setting.

At one point toward the end of the debate (1:11:05), Kerry Baldwin was asked if she would hold a rapist accountable for the death of a baby in the event that the rape victim carried the baby to viability but the baby died during delivery. She responded that she was ultimately unsure and would need more details but suggested that if the baby died from natural consequences then probably not, however, if the baby died unnaturally, then maybe. You then asked (at 1:12:00) to make a comment but were unfortunately told no by the great Gene Epstein (probably due to time constraints, which seems understandable).

If you don’t mind, do you remember what your comment was going to be because I’d love to know? Also, if the comment was not going to be a direct response to the same question, how would you respond to the same question?

Thanks again for everything!

Best,

Anthony J. Cesario

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>
Sent: Sunday, December 22, 2019 4:54 PM
To: ‘Anthony Cesario’
Subject: RE: Spring 2020 Update and SOHO debate question

Dear Anthony:

I’m my view, the rapist is guilty of trespassing upon the body of the woman with his penis, and, also, creating a fetus within her body who is also a(n innocent) trespasser, but, I don’t think he is guilty of murder if the baby dies, whether of natural or non-natural causes.

There was a scene in the Godfather movie in which the baker asked the Godfather to kill the rapist of his daughter. I think the Godfather’s response was correct: we’ll beat the crap out of him (paraphrase), but we won’t kill him. Rape is indeed a heinous crime, but it is less serious than murder. Now, if the mother were to die in childbirth, I think that would be a different matter. Here, her death is traceable to the rape. I would hold the rapist guilty of murder in this case, but not the other. At the time of the coerced intercourse, the baby did not yet exist, even as a fertilized egg (which I count as a human being), so I don’t think he can be considered a rapist if the baby dies, 9 months later.

But this is indeed an important and complex issue. Thanks for raising it.

Best regards,

Walter

Share

1:45 am on January 30, 2020