23 June 2010

Revised Beckwith-McDonagh Abortion Argument

I was thinking further about my argument in the previous post (reproduced immediately below):

(I) The ordinary means of survival are food, water, and shelter.
(II) It is the duty of society to provide ordinary means of survival to its members.
(III) The only person that can provide the ordinary means of survival to a preborn girl or boy is a pregnant woman.
(IV) It is the duty of a pregnant woman to provide ordinary means of survival to a preborn girl or boy.

Do duties have less argumentative power than rights? I think so. Well, I thought of the following revised argument of the above.

(I) The ordinary means of survival are food, water, and shelter.
(II) It is the right of each individual of society to safeguard his/her ordinary means of survival. Said safeguarding must be carried out by said individual, third party (A), or the state.
(III) Abortion by the mother or third party (B) is the forceful taking of ordinary means of survival from a preborn girl or boy.
(IV) Since the preborn girl or boy is not actually able to safeguard himself/herself from the imposition of abortion by the mother or third party (B), the state or third party (A) must safeguard the ordinary means of survival of said preborn girl or boy by stopping the abortion.

Let's reconsider the previous scenarios (they are changed below from the previous post):

Consider scenario A'.

There is country C that is ruled by monarch M. In country C, monarch M naturally controls all the ordinary means of production MP for country C. There are subject(s) S of country C that are under the natural care and jurisdiction of monarch M.

The only way that subject(s) S is/are able to survive is through monarch M providing the ordinary fruits F of the ordinary means of production MP for country C. Therefore, it would be a violation of the rights of subject(s) S if monarch M did not provide said ordinary fruits F. Fruits F include shelter, food, and water which are all ordinary means of survival.

Consider scenario B'.

In a spacecraft S that is solely under the jurisdiction of captain C, there is a reversibly-comatose homeless woman HW that was picked up off the street. She is sent up a futuristic elevator E from Earth that goes to spacecraft S. Through a feeding tube that goes up elevator E, homeless woman HW is fed and hydrated. Air is circulated up from Earth through elevator E.

The only way that homeless woman HW can survive is if she is fed, hydrated, and provided with air through elevator E that is solely under the jurisdiction of captain C. Therefore, it would be a violation of the rights of homeless woman HW if captain C did not provide homeless woman HW shelter (air), food, and water which are all ordinary means of survival.

BTW, since Dr. McDonagh thinks it the right of pregnant women to have money from the government (you and me) to pay for abortions through her right to consent idea (and here), my right to ordinary means of survival is even more basic than hers (right to tax payers money for abortion).
The result is a pro-consent constitutional argument for extending abortion rights to include public funding, at least for women who cannot otherwise afford it, that is to be distinguished from both the common pro-life and pro-choice perspectives.


  1. If an embryo or fetus is defined not as part of a woman's body but as "a unique human life," even a person, it has no right to be inside the woman's body without her consent.

    Beckwith's example of the doctor and unconscious woman has no power to persuade regarding a conscious woman, because a conscious person has the right even to refuse medical examination and treatment.

    Meanwhile, when you consent to sexual intercourse, you consent to ONE person's putting ONE of HIS/HER body parts in ONE specific place inside your body for ONE SHORT TIME period, with the implied understanding that this will NOT INJURE one's body.

    Your consent to a man to put one of his body parts inside your body is not consent to his siblings, friends, and born children, so it is not consent to a zygote defined as a person. Each person who wants to put body parts inside your body has to get separate consent. Even the man got consent only to put a specific body part inside a specific part of your body and for a short duration. Hence, even giving a blastocyst consent to be in your uterus is not consent to its implantation in the uterine wall for nine continuous months.

    In vaginal delivery, the fetus/child penetrates the vagina. In caesarian delivery, the doctor cuts into your uterus, a sex organ, with a knife. If you did not consent to pregnancy AND vaginal or caesarian delivery, the vaginal penetration can fit the legal definition of rape and the surgery can fit the legal definition of aggravated sexual assault.

    In the absence of a legal abortion option, that pregnancy can be perceived, with cause, as a threat of rape or sexual assault. It is legal to use deadly force to stop a threat so perceive to prevent the crime, in both self-defense and the defense of another.

    If the government bans abortion, neither the zygote~fetus or doctor has to intend rape or sexual assault. They are just exhibiting behavior. The government itself is the one with the intent to use force to prevent defense against the threat of rape/sexual assault.

    A mammalian blastocyst grown in a petri dish with a normal amount of nutrient with oxygen has the same life span as it does before implantation in the female uterus. That span can only be doubled by using an artificial developed nutrient with oxygen in the petri dish. In the case of a human blastocyst, that doubled span would be 16-20 days. The embryo cannot live longer than that unless implanted in a live woman's body.

    Prior to viability, the fetus will die if the woman dies. Its span is extended only by her own life. But no person has the right to have your blood nutrients/oxygen/antibodies transferred away from your blood into him/her without your consent, because they are part of your own life! Even your parent is not legally required to provide you with a transfusion of his/her blood or donate an organ to extend your life span.

    So Beckwith is not very persuasive, and neither are you.

  2. You are not persuasive either since you didn't address or refute the premises of my argument.

    As far as what seems to be your main point, even though a woman may give consent to a man, she doesn't necessarily give consent to a preborn boy or girl, that argument is flawed.

    Take a baseball example. Say the game is near a residential neighborhood. If a player at bat his a ball and breaks a window of a house in the balls path, s/he can't say, "I didn't consent to paying for the window. I was just playing baseball," I would think the player was irresponsible. Of course the hitter would have to pay for the window.

    The same goes for the pregnant woman in your example. When consenting to sex, the consequences are also her responsibility (to give MOMS (min. of ordinary means of survival)).


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