The argument for abortion, if made honestly, requires many words: It must evoke the recent past, the dire consequences to women of making a very simple medical procedure illegal. The argument against it doesn’t take even a single word. The argument against it is a picture. [“The Dishonesty of the Abortion Debate,” Caitlin Flanagan]
This brings to mind philosopher Leonard Peikoff’s talk, A Picture is Not an Argument.
Philosophers Onkar Ghate and Ben Bayer have a timely discussion on Roe vs Wade and the right to abortion.
Topics covered include:
A brief history of abortion jurisprudence since Roe v. Wade;
Ayn Rand’s view of Roe and her support for abortion rights;
Why abortion rights are not grounded in a right to privacy;
Why activities don’t need to be concretely enumerated to be protected by fundamental rights;
Why we need abstract principles to state fundamental legal principles;
Why conservative sympathy for the reversal of Lochner v. New York implies a presumption in favor of government power;
Whether the potential to feel pain is the basis of rights;
How Roe v. Wade tries to balance competing interests, not to protect rights;
Why regarding life as sacred from conception is a baseless religious viewpoint;
Why it’s arbitrary to regard viability as the limit for justifiable abortion;
Whether religion or judicial philosophy motivates Justice Thomas;
Whether “individual responsibility” means a woman who chooses to have sex should carry a pregnancy to term;
The Supreme Court Justices’ unphilosophical approach.
Mentioned in the discussion are Leonard Peikoff’s essay “Abortion Rights Are Pro-Life,” Ben Bayer’s essays “Ayn Rand’s Radical Case for Abortion Rights” and “Science without Philosophy Can’t Resolve Abortion Debate,” and Tom Bowden’s “Justice Holmes and the Empty Constitution.”
What motivates women who crusade against abortion? I’ve always wondered this.
I think the American philosopher Ayn Rand identifies their motivation. It is not love, but hatred. Writes Rand:
“I cannot project the degree of hatred required to make those women run around in crusades against abortion. Hatred is what they certainly project, not love for the embryos, which is a piece of nonsense no one could experience, but hatred, a virulent hatred for an unnamed object…Their hatred is directed against human beings as such, against the mind, against reason, against ambition, against success, against love, against any value that brings happiness to human life. In compliance with the dishonesty that dominates today’s intellectual field, they call themselves ‘pro-life.’ “