Denying the right of a woman to abort involves denying the basis of libertarianism itself. Libertarianism is often expressed as “the non-initiation of force” but the question is why – why is it wrong to initiate force? The answer lies in a more fundamental principle. The Levellers in seventeenth-century England called it ‘self-proprietorship’; the first American anarchist Josiah Warren referred to ‘the sovereignty of the individual.” 19th century American abolitionists defined the concept of ‘self-ownership’ as the jurisdiction that every human being has over his or her own body simply by virtue of being human. The answer to why it is wrong to initiate force is because force violates that person’s self- ownership. The jurisdiction of each peaceful person over his or her body is what constitutes individual rights.
To express this in less theoretical terms: everything beneath my skin is me. It is mine in the most basic and existential sense possible. If my body is not mine, then nothing else on earth can belong to me. If I cannot claim the blood coursing through my arteries, then I can have no property rights in a chair I fashion or a tomato I grow with my own labor. Why would I? Why would the extended products of my labor belong to me when the breath in my own lungs does not?
As a self-owner, I am the only one with jurisdiction over my own body. If a fetus is sustained by the food I eat and the pulsing of my blood, then I have a right to deny it sustenance and shelter. I have a right to abort that fetus. To give the fetus a ‘right’ to consume another person’s bodily functions is to establish two rights claims over one body. The word that describes a system in which one man has property rights in another is slavery, and it is the antithesis of libertarianism.
The anti-abortion position is weak, riddled with internal contradictions, and dangerously wrong. It uses the word “rights” in a self-contradictory manner that denies the framework from which the concept derives meaning. Self-ownership begins with your skin. If you cannot clearly state, “Everything beneath my skin is me; this is the line past that no one crosses without my permission,” then there is no foundation for individual rights or for libertarianism.Leitura integral recomendada. Adicionalmente: Sobre o direito à vida sobre Judith Thomson