no brainer: abortion is killing. so what?

Max Sawicky sawicky at
Tue Aug 24 08:37:36 PDT 1999

I think the multinomious (when I speak, it's literature) Ms. K's post is one of the best efforts to grapple with the issue, but I see at least two major weak points in the argument.

One has been alluded to by Yoshie. No "killing . . . so what" rhetoric has a political chance in hell, even though the argument has substance. Killing indeed raises the prospect of state intervention. If "killing" is not a concern of the state, nothing is. The only thing that trumps killing is absolute individual rights. So it goes back to a case of determining the division of rights among parties.

Also salient is the point about the state not having a "right" to intervene in any way shape or form. This is an anarchist delusion. It is the state that guarantees or safeguards rights. Individuals cannot. Rights may derive from ethics, philosophy, or God, but the state makes them real. If there is a state interest in the woman's rights, so too can there be one in the fetus's. Of course, we would all agree that babies who survive appendectomy have rights, and to them the community (not just sperm donators) has obligations.

Unfortunately Mr. Perry's obnoxious language distracted from what I took to be an important point in one of his posts which I don't think anyone has answered: namely women's autonomy with respect to birth conduces to the relinquishment of male responsibility. Now it's fine to say we are all responsible for the children of the world, but that laudable sentiment obviously leaves much undecided in real individual cases.


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