Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pro-[Choice/Life] isn't Anti-Freedom

I frequently see people on both sides of the abortion debate that point to the other side and accuse the other position of being "anti-freedom" or "incompatible with freedom". Problem is, as I see it, neither side can make that claim.

It seems to me that at some point, the right of the child to live overrides the right of the mother to choose to kill it. Most reasonable people will concede that this point is some time before it's actually born. Thus we are really just debating what that point should be.

For people like Ron Paul, his view is that the freedom to live is more important than the freedom to choose what to do with your own body. That's his view, but he recognizes that not all share it. In addition to that, he has said that Constitutionally, he would not allow a federal level mandate one way or another.

Personally, I'm not sure there is a "correct" answer politically that will satisfy everyone.

This is because, more generically, the problem is that abortion creates a paradox for individualism because you have two people occupying the same space at the same time and the exercise of rights by one is an infringement on the rights of the other.

In either case, you are infringing on someone's rights. Either you protect the right of the baby to live and infringe on the right of the mother to choose what to do with her own body, or you choose to protect the right of the mother to choose what to do with her own body and infringe on the right of the child to live.
So, agree or disagree with him about the point at which he feels we should recognize and protect a life, but it's not anti-liberty or anti-freedom.

In fact, Paul's actual policy prescription is a good compromise. Instead of a federal, top-down mandate that states that abortions are either all legal or all illegal, he allows the people of each state to decide. This will create a diverse environment that allows different views to be respected.

For example, while some states ban abortions, and some states permit even late-term abortions, perhaps a few other states would pass a law that legalizes abortion up to the 8th month, but that all abortions after the first 10 weeks must be done painlessly such as with lethal injection or an anesthetic that puts the baby to sleep first. This should satisfy most all pro-choice individuals since their ability to get an abortion isn't infringed. This could satisfy many pro-life individuals since the baby itself would not suffer or feel any pain. Reasonable compromise? I don't know.

Through this method of allowing multiple, different approaches that Paul is advocating, I think a more acceptable common ground can be reached.

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