RE: [lpsf-discuss] On abortion

Hi all, I just caught up on the abortion thread. That's the toughest
libertarian issue and it was back in 1978 as well. Lot's of people feel and
think that abortion is agression we are justified in stopping. Others think
and feel that it is state agression to criminalize a woman's choice not to take
a pregnancy to term. And, people's views shift over time. Technology may lessen
the intensity of the debate as it becomes easier to avoid pregnancy very early
in the process of sex+conception. But the issue remains. Hardly anyone has
actualy read the Roe v. Wade decision. Justice Harry Blackmun wrote it and he
had been the General Counsel of the Mayo Clinic -- and his daughters had had
several abortions. What the court ruled is that the state has no business
interfering not in a "right to choose" but in a woman's relation with her
physician in the first tri-mester. This was the old common law rule
of "quickening" no prosecution for anything done before the fetus was felt to
move on it own. I think it makes sense to say the same: there is already an
exclusive, historically validated, scientifically validated existing personal
relationship that women have with their physicians and the state has no
business interfering in it, any more that it should interfere with sexual
relations between consenting partners (or menage a dix-hiut for that matter).
Libertarians can defuse the intensity of the debate by referring to the
personal relation between women and their doctors as off limits to the state.
But is abortion murder? It never was, but it was often punishable as something
less (as was infanticide). There's a sliding scale: abortion is historically a
minor crime as was infanticide, but child-killing was more serious than adult
murder (which was often male combat or somebody deserved it anyway) and then as
the victims get old and less able to defend themselves it gets seriously
punishable again. So shielding abortion with the physician-patient relation was
a limited and clever way to circumscribe state power where the state at least
historically did not much want to exercise it anyway. Just up and saying the
state ought not to do this or that is often less persuasive than showing there
is already a way the issue/problem is being resolved by the people closest to
it, the working, private solution to the perceived social problem. I think
libertarians have an open running field in the "right to privacy"
jurisprudence, especially if there is already a private relationship in place
(perhaps not yet legitimized but in place nonetheless). But still, isn't Robert
Nozick right that there should be places to go, under general libertarian
guarantees of an absence of force and fraud, where like-minded people can live
together under like minded laws? But small places, where one can always vote
with one's feet or care-fare.