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Jun 27, 2022·edited Jun 27, 2022Liked by John Carter

Edit for clarity: these are devil's advocate style arguments, in case someone doesn't read the whole way to the end where I explicitly state that.

If I were to push back on this, I would point out that there is a line between the baby needing a particular parent, the one with the womb it is implanted in, and the baby needing any human parent, and that makes a point where the bodily autonomy argument holds up. If a baby can't be born (one way or another) and survive on its own with the help of some third party, then it is arguably part of the mother/a parasite.* If the baby could be born and someone else could raise it, because the baby can do the breathing etc. it needs to do on its own or with a little help, then it is definitely its own person that owns itself. I think your argument glosses over that distinction.

One can (and should I think) make the argument that parents are responsible for the wellbeing of their kids, and along with that responsibility comes authority and limited ownership over the kid. A parent that can't or won't take that responsibility also gives up authority and the limited ownership to another adult. Ownership is limited because kids are humans that own themselves, but on a bit of a mortgage you might say due to being dependent on adults for their continued existence and raising. Since the parental ownership is limited, specifically around the wellbeing part, that stops one short of the "parents own their children and can dispose of them at will", replacing it with the obligation to not kill the kids because they are humans, and instead hand them to someone else to take the role of parent, giving up all parental status. This hinges on the kid being capable of existing outside of its specific parent, however, because you can't transfer the responsibility to another person, otherwise. If one holds full responsibility that cannot be discharged, and yet not full ownership, that gets you in sort of an odd place, a place really close to "society owns your body in some very real ways, or at least has some extremely strong claims to it." That's the kind of exception that gets you to vaccine mandates or whatever nonsense the state wants to do to you for the good of other people.

Another way of looking at the objection is a least harm principle based on conflicting rights. After the kid can live on its own (in the biological sense, not getting a job sense) it is clearly least harm to bring the child to term and adopt it to someone else. A few month's cost to the mother compared to the lifetime of the child that is almost certainly going to live because someone else will take care of it.

If the kid can't live on its own yet, then it gets fuzzier, because one can make the argument above that it isn't an actual viable human without someone who doesn't want to take care of it taking care of it. If someone is willing and able to take care of it, then you are back to least harm is to give it to that person obviously. If you make the claim that it is viable despite not being able to live without being directly attached to mom, you create a bit of an odd position that anything that happens to the kid while in the womb is mom's responsibility as though the fetus was a post-natal kid. Which is probably ok for the most part but would require investigating miscarriages as at least accidental deaths. It also moves lots of prenatal care into the realm of taking care of your post-natal child, which might get weird.

All in all, I don't think those are airtight arguments, more just devil's advocate sort of things. We humans probably need to be a bit more careful than average when talking about this stuff, however, because these questions get to the very root of what it is to be human, in the sense of our ancestors dealing with these questions for all our existence, and coming up with very different answers.

Personally, I am all for just saying "Fuck it, first trimester is fine, after that not, and pay for it yourself. NOW CAN WE PLEASE STOP TALKING ABOUT THIS?!" I actually thought Roe v Wade would never be overturned simply because the political parties loved using it to get the base riled up and drive voter turn out. Regardless of the moral or ethical dimensions, I am thrilled that it got overturned just for the good governance outcomes I expect. Even if every state's laws stay exactly the same as they were last year, not having it be a national issue is a huge win. People being able to select states closer to their preference on this issue is a bonus.

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Your last para is more or less my position, too - both in terms of when abortion is sort of morally acceptable (or at any rate I don't actually care that much), and in terms of Holy shit, I am genuinely sick of this being the national conversation for like my entire life so far. Let the states choose for themselves.

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Coof of doom. Poof. Proof. Spoof. If children are useless eaters with massive carbon footprints, the solution is obvious: Global mgmt will need to stop feeding them starting with baby formula, then fertilizer bans for Africa per EU green guidelines.

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Remarkable that the left doesn't realize that we're all clumps of cells, isn't it.

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Dear Chap,

A strikingly moderate proposal indeed. Unconstrained filicide would surly be beneficial to the publick. My only criticism of you proposal is the lack of gourmet creativity, to which I'd suggest inspiration from a certain Dr Swift. Although I'd say you've had a rather large degree of inspiration from him already.

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As pointed out by Mark Bisone elsewhere in the thread, I may not be Swift but I was at least fast (I really couldn't improve on that).

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Yes I saw his remark after making my comment.

Nice approach to the topic JC - like an intellectual startle response to orientate the reader to sit up and pay attention.

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It grew out of a post Caitlin Johnstone wrote yesterday, and a fight I got into in the comments section. I made the same broad points there, but expressing it with a more satirical edge seemed like fun. My neighbors probably heard me laughing as I wrote it.

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Love it.

I can hear your mom... "John... John! You're not fighting again are you? Come away from that keyboard, your dinner's ready."

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Bodily autonomy consistently applied to the individual is a principle worth dying to protect IMHO. Typically I only take the argument about the misapplication of this principle to an unborn child to the point of infanticide, because that is sufficiently horrific to inform me of my stance on the issue. Perhaps this exposition would be useful for the California legislators that propose not investigating the deaths of children up to 8 days following delivery. Why just 8 days? Perhaps they would be intrigued by your moderate proposal. In any case I'm glad that we have a federal system so that such complex moral questions can be adjudicated at the lowest possible level.

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I certainly agree that bodily autonomy is crucial - if one does not have it, one is property, which is to say a slave.

Much of the moral confusion on the issue results from the misapplication of a principle that applies between adult humans in a political or economic context, and close family members. The bonds of parent and child are intrinsically a violation of bodily autonomy: the child must do as the parent says, but the parent must care for the child; biology gives neither party any choice in the matter.

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That second paragraph there is a very good point that should have been in the essay :D

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Jun 28, 2022·edited Jun 28, 2022Liked by John Carter

Recognizing the importance and worth of bodily autonomy is consistent with also recognizing other reason-giving considerations, such as:

- The fact that humans have a more or less normal biological life-cycle, which includes reproduction

- That the facts of our biological life-cycle extend beyond the mechanical details of reproduction

- That each of us has been, and in many ways still is, dependent on other human beings

- That we each occupy a range of roles and relationships with one another, which include (not exhaustively) being a child, a friend, a spouse, and a father or mother.

Making this about a single issue of rights shows how far corrupted the language, much less the debate, around this issue has become.

Recognizing that women do and should have a large measure of personal autonomy is not the same thing as saying that this autonomy is the ONLY or MOST IMPORTANT issue. It is entirely possible to have rights and freedoms and exercise them in bad, wicked, awful, cruel, callous and evil ways.

Rights alone are not the issue, any more than the status of the fetus as person or clump of cells is the only salient issue. There are considerations that include, but run well beyond these sources of moral reasons.

I skew hard pro-life, but even I acknowledge that there are considerations in any given case where abortion might be the best answer all things considered. But that kind of nuance is beyond the scope of the "moral thinking" [sic] which is identical with the yelling on the Tee-Vee.

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Jun 27, 2022·edited Jun 27, 2022Liked by John Carter

Why 8 days?

Probably a function of life insurance.

If you could insure a child starting at 24 hours after birth for a million bucks + you could kill it (with no investigation possible and no criminal charges seven days later) - well, you can double check the math for yourself, but it looks to me like "Hell Week" would need to have one more definition in slang dictionaries.

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Moloch would gain many new supplicants if parents could sacrifice their babies for the blessings of the insurance company.

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Jun 27, 2022·edited Jun 27, 2022Liked by John Carter

Maybe she doesn't even need to get her hands dirty. How long can a newborn survive without food or water?

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Jun 27, 2022Liked by John Carter

Maybe a week in Vegas does the trick and hire the cleaning service to tidy up before returning?

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Maybe we can compromise and make it near impossible after 3months? (Unless of course for the rich who will reserve the right probably to abort at any time and maybe buy newborns for personal consumption?)

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Three months after giving birth is far too short a window. For instance, you can't even tell if the kid is going to be ugly.

Or maybe I misunderstood.

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You get right to the nub of the issue.

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The first three months pregnant...

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Okay, you convinced me. I'm ready to open a chain of abortion shops if you'll handle the marketing. We can even market ultrasound kits that dads can use at home while mom is sleeping. We'll be rich, as well as making the world a quieter place.

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Jun 27, 2022Liked by John Carter

Retrofitting the Overton Window with a pane of bulletproof?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pa39PUng9to

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Jun 27, 2022·edited Jun 27, 2022Liked by John Carter

One of the best things I've read in a long time.

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Summed up succinctly and with impeccable, if horrible, logic.

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Good work, John. FWIW, here's my analysis from a lawyer's perspective making a similar point in relation to the "bodily autonomy" argument being essentially a self-defense argument - and the bodily autonomy argument does NOT meet the requirements for a self-defense exception.

https://robwbright.substack.com/p/the-bodily-autonomy-abortion-argument

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Jun 27, 2022Liked by John Carter

Send the strychnine, please! Great stuff, and incredibly hard to get. (Requires a special pesticide license if you can get it at all. One could once buy it as gopher killer at Kroger.) It was the very first drug ever reportedly used as a performance enhancer at the Olympics. PTZ (also hard to get) may work; don't know. Wrecking yards are apparently banned from selling air bags. I suppose you could use those home rapid tests for covid. Dunno how much azide is in them. Probably an expensive route.

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Jun 27, 2022Liked by John Carter

Outside of marriage, if abortion is allowed for the mother it should certainly be allowed for the father: but what the father would abort would be their eighteen-years of responsibility, not the fetus (that’s not in their body, or subject to their choice). The mother, if she discovered that she couldn’t get the father to agree to be on the hook, might then rethink whether she wanted to bring the fetus to term.

This is essentially the state of affairs that would exist absent state-ordered child-support for paternity, but could co-exist with that system.

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Btw why us the Left not freaking out about the bodily autonomy of a man to abort his internal fetus on demand?

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This is an important question.

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I'm afraid this proposal simply doesn't go far enough in the moderation department. We need to include preemptive destruction of the sources of parasitic infection, in accordance with widely adopted epidemiological models. Let's call it the "Bad Date Clause".

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Touche!~ Well stated... Well stated INdeed!!~

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I don't like infanticide either way, but the argument in the post above is based on a fundamental misrepresentation of the pro-choice argument, which is very clear to me:

#1 A fetus until is born is an integral part of a woman's body, an organ, like an earlobe or a kidney. Some argue that more precisely it is fundamentally a tumor inflicted on a woman by a man.

#2 Therefore since there is a "my body my choice" right to self-mutilation (including suicide), a woman has the absolute right to have the fetus removed, the more so if she regards it as a tumor.

Now it may look like that the whole argument rests on the debatable premise, point #1, that a fetus is just an organ, or a tumor growing inside a woman, a part of her body, but that is actually incidental the the whole political discussion about it.

The critical point is #1, the right to self-mutilation (and suicide), that's why right-wing libertarians push abortion rights so hard: because that right implies "freedom of contract", and that implies a possible return to hereditary debt-based servitude, like in the "good" old times.

The critical issue is to which point "society"/"the state" has an interest in regulating individual behaviour, because of how it reflects on others, even if it has no direct consequences on others, for example by being an example.

So in many cultures suicide used to be crime, because "society"/"the state" did not recognize an absolute right to self-determination.

Conversely in ancient Rome fathers could kill their descendants at any time (even if this was very rare), and it was normal in that and other ancient civilizations to kill or abandon in garbage dumps live-born babies that had "anomalies".

https://earlychurchhistory.org/medicine/infanticide-in-the-ancient-world/

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The argument is simple and I'm not sure you understood it. The fetus is a 'part of the woman's body' because it is dependent. It takes resources, gives nothing back, and dies without it. That dependence is the core of the argument that the fetus is not a person and can therefore be executed. No misrepresentation is involved; I'm merely working out the logical consequences.

If you'd read through to the end you'd have seen that I explicitly bring up pagan infanticide.

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«It takes resources, gives nothing back, and dies without it. That dependence is the core of the argument that the fetus is not a person and can therefore be executed. No misrepresentation is involved; I'm merely working out the logical consequences.»

That's not quite the standard "my body my choice" argument, because that argument is based on the absolute right to self-multilation, even of a very useful body part, not on the fetus being something that "takes resources, gives nothing back, and dies without it". The right to self-mutilation invoked for fetus elimination applies as well as to a healthy hand rather as to a unhealthy tumor. The idea behind it is that if someone wants to cut off their healthy hand to replace it with a hook because they want to cosplay pirate, that is their absolute right under "my body my choice", which is in essence a property right to a person's body.

You wrote:

«by agreeing to maternal homicide we have agreed that the fetus is not her body, but a parasite upon it, having no rights of its own.»

The very core of the "my body my choice" is instead that the fetus *is* her body, her property, no more a parasite than a hand or an eye is for her. Therefore for example if a man causes the death of the fetus, by an incident or deliberately (unless she contracted him to do that), that is a crime, because while the woman has the property right to mutilate her own body, a man does not have that right, because it is not a parasite which is not part of her body, but her property as part of her body.

The whole idea of "my body my choice" is that it is up to a woman to decide if she should keep her body property, be it a fetus or a hand or a tumor or her life, or get rid of it, for any reason whatever.

For a contrast as to property rights I mentioned the "potestas" of a roman "paterfamilias": that was based instead on the idea that the "paterfamilias" had something like a property right in all his issue, first generation and subsequent generations, and therefore could terminate them before or after birth. BTW the romans had two marriages: one (religious marriage, "confarratio") in which the wife would become the property of the "paterfamilias" of her husband, and one (contract marriage) where she would remain the property of her "paterfamilias".

Then there are different views:

* That even if body parts are property, the state can limit property rights.

* That body parts, or specifically fetuses, are not property, but "sacred" (in a religious or even secular sense) and the state can limit what can be done to them.

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