Ruling Out Abortions After Viability

My last blog titled “On the Right of a Fetus To Be Where It Is” suggested that a fetus, conceived normally and not by rape or incest or criminality, homesteads a space in its mother’s womb, thereby altering the female’s rights over her body. The discussion was limited to the times between conception (t(0)) and viability (t(v)) of the baby outside the womb.

In this theory, the unborn baby prior to t(v), being an innocent human being who has found and occupies a rightful space that the pregnant female didn’t herself sufficiently homestead so as to prevent pregnancy, gives no justifiable cause to the pregnant female for aborting. Doing so would kill the baby, violating the unborn’s newly-won life. The current blog applies this thinking to times between t(v) and the time of birth (t(b)). In any of these times, the baby may be removed from the womb and the rest of its growth process successfully finished outside. That is the definition of viability. Unless noted, we are considering babies conceived normally, and not criminally through rape or incest or impregnating children.

The womb-homesteading libertarian theory views abortion before t(v) as a violation of the non-aggression principle, because it kills the unborn baby who has found a rightful place alive in this world. Such killing is ruled out as unjustifiable or murder. The very same rule applies to times that come after t(v) (again for normal conceptions). Any procedure that results in the baby’s death or injury violates its homesteading of its own body. If this is true prior to t(v), it is no less true after t(v) when the unborn baby is even older and more fully developed.

Viability is not a well-defined time. Furthermore, in practice a premature extraction is not certain to keep the baby alive and well. See here. The chances of death and body defects are significant.

These facts pointing to uncertain results mean that the womb-homesteading theory does not find a justification in rights for almost all late-term procedures on normal pregnancies, abortion or other, that remove babies from their mother’s wombs prior to t(b). There are exceptions that occur when the mother’s life is threatened, when the baby is premature, when there is a miscarriage, and so on. But this discussion refers to late-term abortions on normal pregnancies.

In womb-homesteading theory, a pregnant female retains the right to terminate a pregnancy resulting from conception brought about through criminal behavior. This right holds whether before t(v) or after.

According to Walter Block’s evictionism theory, “…a woman has a right to rid herself of the fetus at any point in this [nine-month] process, for any reason deemed sufficient by herself alone…” The womb-homesteading theory has the opposite result. At no time during the nine-month process does a pregnant female have a right to rid herself of the unborn baby. Only in exceptional cases does the pregnant woman have this right.

There is no right to kill an innocent person, including unborn babies. How could there possibly be such a right when a right is a capacity to act freely in a non-aggressive way? Unborn babies are not owned by the female, and Block states this outright. Even if they were owned, that still wouldn’t justify killing them.

Eviction either kills or takes a significant chance of killing an unborn baby. Therefore at the present time and with the present technology, eviction cannot be regarded separately from murder. The primary reason in evictionism for allowing such murder is that the woman owns her womb. That’s no reason. Since when does ownership justify killing in order to clear a piece of property upon which one has by one’s own actions allowed new settlers?

What the unborn baby owns and how it came to own it are given no weight at all under evictionism. Indeed, they are given negative weight, as the unborn is viewed as a parasite. By contrast, womb-homesteading views the unborn as actively using womb resources that the female could have kept clear of such a presence. She had the right to keep her womb clear of new life but, for one reason or another, she did not or has not. A homesteader settles on open land. The fetus settles on an open womb. Once they’ve occupied their turf, the rights of others to occupy that turf disappear. Under homesteading theory, new settlers can’t justly drive the original ones from their newly-won land. The female can’t justly drive the unborn from its newly-won womb.


4:50 pm on May 26, 2019