"Non-thinking is an act of annihilation, a wish to negate existence, an attempt to wipe out reality. But existence exists; reality is not to be wiped out, it will merely wipe out the wiper." - Ayn Rand
Rand's Bloody Evasion
With her scrupulous devotion to reason above all in every other issue, I remember being astounded when I discovered that Ayn Rand was pro-abortion -- and even more astounded when I discovered that this brilliant woman, and her stunning philosophy, justified abortion on the dubiously shaky premises to be recounted below. Ordinarily one would refer to the nonsense below as 'fallacies', but there are certain contexts in which such sterile speech would communicate a contemptible sort of distanced neutrality. Therefore, I do not merely refer to the arguments for abortion which are touted by Objectivists (and many others) as "fallacious", but as stupid - and evil. When you are dealing with such a weighty subject, with such grave consequences, and with such outright intellectual evasion, emotive language cannot but be used.
Below, you will find the stupid arguments set forth by Objectivists in support of abortion. In seeing the effort they exert in order to remain 'non-thinking' on this issue, you will see the damnable attempts to annihilate reality in general, and individuals in particular, with their bloody evasions. And though they may succeed (momentarily) at annihilating the latter, the former - as Ms. Rand put it - "is not to be wiped out, it will merely wipe out the wiper". Beware, evasive Objectivists, lest in your efforts to wipe out members of the human race, you end up being wiped out by the Ultimate Reality you so evasively fear.
Changing The Subject: A 'Women's Right to Choose'
"Of course a woman has the right to choose! She can choose to go to McDonald's or to go to Burger King... Oh! you're talking about killing a baby? Well that's a different topic. No one has the right to do that!"
Abortion has no more to do with 'a woman's right to choose' than robbery has to do with 'a thief's right to life'. In spite of what the media would have you believe, people who oppose abortion do not do so because of some desire to enslave women -- and the fact that so many believe otherwise is flat-out ridiculous. Anti-abortion advocates are not anti-women; they are anti-murder.
Women have every right that men have; which is to say that they have every legitimate individual right. Just like men, women are free to do exactly as they please, so long as they do not violate the rights of another individual. What pro-abortion advocates need to realize is that, just as there is no such thing as a "right" to the service or property of another individual, so also there is no such thing as a "right" to end an innocent individual's life -- no matter how convenient such a "right" might seem.
To say that abortion is about "a woman's right to choose" is like saying that slavery was about "a white man's right to industry". No one would accept such a ridiculous changing of the subject in respect to slavery -- and for the same reasons, no one should abide such blatant duplicity in the modern debate about abortion. The essential issue in the abortion debate is not about "women's rights", but about the nature and rights of that which is being 'aborted'; i.e. the nature and rights of the unborn.
Definition By Non-Essentials
So what is the nature of that which is being aborted? If you ask an Objectivist, you will hear that it is "a parasite", a "lump of tissue", a "part of the mother's body", or "a potential - but not actual - human". In other words, you'll get a lot of varied answers depending on how deep of a hole - and in which direction - the Objectivist wishes to dig himself.
It can't be "a part of the mother's body" - it has it's own unique DNA. So, it is something other than the mother's body, living inside of the mother's body. "Aha! It's a parasite". A 'parasite' which (in most cases) she willingly received. But what species is this 'parasite'? Is it a tapeworm? A frog? A giraffe? What species is it? Oh, it's human! "Well, no. Not an actual human -- just a potential one".
Such is the line of "reasoning" one will typically experience in a conversation with an Objectivist. But now, what in the world does it mean to be "potentially human, but not actually human"!? Well, implicitly, it means that there are certain conditions to humanity which must be met in order for this thing to pass from potentially human to an actual human. And here we will see the definitions by non-essentials.
What are the differences between the supposed "potential human" in the womb and the actual human outside of the womb? Well, I suppose that gives you the first answer: Location. In the womb vs. out of the womb. What else, though? A perusal through Objectivist literature on the matter will show emphases on age, stage of development, abilities, and - brace yourself: "social context". Before examining the ironically ludicrous implications of that last qualifier, consider all the others (and any potential differences which could be listed) between the "potential human" in the womb and the actual human outside of the womb. Is location, or age, or stage of development, or any other difference which could be listed essential to humanity? Remember, that is the Objectivist's claim: that the difference - whatever it may be - is so essential to humanity that apart from having that attribute, one is not a human.
Is this not a classic case of what Ayn Rand would call a "definition by non-essentials"? Human DNA is essential to being a human. Location is not. Being a fully integrated organism (as opposed to being part of an organism) with it's own unique DNA structure is essential to being a human. Age is not. Stage of development is not. Ability is not. And "social context" most definitely is not -- but that has to do more with the "Objectivists" subjective theory of rights, to be discussed below.
The thing being "aborted" is of the human species - and is therefore human. It is an individual being with it's own unique DNA - and is therefore not a "part" of the mother's body like a toenail, hair follicle, or unfertilized egg; in other words, it is an individual human being. And, this human being which is being "aborted" is alive -- which means that it is not being "aborted". It is being killed. Abortion is therefore the act of killing a live human being -- and it should always be spoken of as such. To speak of it in any other fashion is cowardly and dishonest evasion, through and through.
The Objectivist's Subjective Theory of Rights
Once the Objectivist is pushed to admitting that it is a live human being (and many will honestly admit to that much), the question then becomes whether or not this live human being possesses the individual right to life. Before exploring their reasoning though, I want to stress that this is the only proper progression of debating them (or anyone else) on this issue. The "pro-abortion" advocate must be pressed to admit that they are advocating for the killing of a live human being. Make sure that they admit to that and own it -- and let them then do the squirming necessary to attempt to justify depriving this live human being of the right to life. And now, let the squirming begin:
"[Rights] apply only to human beings living and acting as individuals in a social context—not to embryos or fetuses in the womb. ....The fetus cannot know or interact with the world outside the womb in any meaningful way. It is not an individual member of society" - TOS Abortion Article
So, "interacting with the world in a meaningful way" and being in a "social context" is essential for individual rights? Does this mean that a man who lives alone in the woods does not have the right to life; that a random sniper could morally (and legally) take him out for the fun of it, because he is not "interacting with the world in a meaningful way" or participating in a "social context"? Is the Objectivist implying here that individual rights are based in social interaction; that the social status of a human being can determine his individual status? If I didn't know any better, I'd think they were begging to be carted off back to Soviet Russia with that talk!
But this isn't just a lapse in speech or judgement on the part of a few intellectual Objectivists. This is the inevitable result of their desperate attempts to evade Realism in their theory of moral rights:
"Rights are not implanted by God in zygotes at conception, nor are they innate possessions or properties of human beings. Rights are factual requirements of human survival and flourishing in society." -TOS Abortion Article
The first sentence is the Objectivist's caricature of the doctrine of Realism as applied to individual rights. The second is their attempt to have objective (i.e. real) individual rights apart from Realism; i.e. it is their attempt to have their cake and eat it too. It is all too clear though, in the abortion issue, that those 'factual requirements' are only for some human survival and flourishing; but not all -- which means that the Objectivist has his wiggle room to assert that some humans (namely, those in the womb) do not have those rights. What the Objectivist fails to see though, is that if there is wiggle room in their theory of rights for their pet issue (abortion), then there is plenty of room for every other pet issue which can be imagined.
A full critique of the Objectivist theory of rights must be saved for another day, but for now it is sufficient to see that their evasion on the metaphysical level with the doctrine of Realism leads directly to their bloody evasions with the issue of abortion. If individual rights come from "social context" or "meaningful interaction with others" or from any grounds other than an individual's humanity; then there is no such thing as individual rights. If rights are not "intrinsic" to the individual human, then they are added to him by society (and can just as easily be taken away). If individual rights are not a metaphysical reality (i.e. if they are not objectively the case - whether any subject or group of subjects recognizes them or not), then they are a complete and total subjective farce!
As we observe the spectacle of millions of innocent humans being slaughtered for convenience under the guise of "choice", and as we observe that slaughter being applauded by cowardly, evasive, psuedo-intellectuals who call themselves "Objective" while spewing forth some of the most hideously subjective nonsense on the intellectual field, beware of the potential blood on your hands, due to philosophical evasions you may be entertaining. Ideas matter - because reality matters. Do not claim love for humanity, or love for the unborn, if you do not love the truth in all of reality.