THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 172, May 6, 2002
Overturn roe? NO! (Closing)
by William Westmiller
Exclusive to TLE
Here's an oddity:
If "there is no evidence" that the Framers "intended this" broad defense of individual rights, then how can Mr. Antle suggest that Roe was different from "what the authors intended?"
Clearly, we do know what they intended with respect to natural rights, in spite of the constitutional lapse on slavery. The ruling of the Supreme Court merely discovered what those early libertarians proudly proclaimed.
"Decentralized political authority," says Mr. Antle, "enhances freedom," as opposed to "an unlimited central government." But he's merely added the adjective "unlimited" to a central government which he imagines to be missing from smaller governments.
There are empiric benefits to the separation and division of political powers, but Mr. Antle confuses structure with content. There's nothing inherent in state legislation which makes it better than federal legislation. Unless the content of the laws is irrelevant?
Mr. Antle seems to be disputing a ruling he's never read. There were only 38 states with laws related to abortion, none of which gave a fetus any legal standing equivalent to persons. As Michael Gallagher observes, most of those laws were intended to protect the health and safety of the pregnant women in a risky operation, not to protect "fetal rights."
An odd internal conflict of the "pro-life" camp is the persistent clamor for a new Amendment that would grant the status of "legal person" to a single fertilized egg cell. Either Roe is a proper interpretation of the Constitution, which must be amended ... or it is not proper and therefore merely requires a better legal argument at the bar.
Not at all odd is the obfuscation of the central issue.
Mr. Antle pretends that I dispute the contention that "every human being [is] a person." I don't. Nor do I deny that a human fetus is human; nor that a living fetus is alive. What I contest is the proposition that "human" and "living" is sufficient to define a person. It isn't.
Yes, every human being is a person, but no human going to be is a person. There are no "unborn babies", nor "preborn boys or girls". These are all rhetoric flourishes intended to deceive by perverting language. No matter what adjective you put in front of the word "fetus", it is still a fetus; not a baby; not a child, not a person.
The opponents of abortion have blinded themselves with the certainty that new people are miraculous gifts of God, rather than the crude product of a disgustingly pleasurable sexual act and millennia of natural evolution.
What defeats their argument is the forbidden fruit of knowledge. The advances in science have left them, sadly, with few defensible miracles. But knowledge need not preclude us from elation at the wonders of human reproduction, nor the joy of creating a newborn baby. It does preserve us from damnation for acting wisely in the pursuit of our highest values. Among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.