Evictionism – The Only Rational Solution to the Abortion Problem

The great libertarian economist Walter Block turned me on to the idea of “Evictionism” (a neo-logism of his own making) as the only sensible, rational solution to the abortion problem.

Typical Abortion Debate

  1. Pro-life people are worried only with the rights of the fetus
  2. Pro-choice people are worried only with the rights of the mother
  3. Neither side concedes that that there is a clear rights conflict, nor is willing to think about how to resolve it equitably for both sides

Block makes some stringent assumptions before launching his argument:

  1. Life begins at conception (medical advances are inching closer to when the fetus will be viable outside the womb right after conception – ergo life begins then)
  2. All human rights stem from property rights
  3. Our most basic property is our own body
  4. All (true) law is governed by the non-agression principle (the NAP), which states that no person is allowed to initiate violence against another
  5. All retribution to agression must be proportionate to the crime (e.g. no gunning down simple backyard tresspassers)

Block’s libertarian argument is this:

  1. A fetus owns her body
  2. A mother owns her body
  3. A fetus is a “guest” in her mother’s body
  4. If at any time, the mother decides her fetus is no longer welcome but is a trespasser  she has the right to remove him
  5. She must take all care to remove the fetus so as not to hurt it (proportionality of retribution), including inducing early labor and submitting the viable baby for adoption
  6. If removing the fetus even in the gentlest manner results in her death, the mother is free from blame, legally speaking

Its really that simple. There is color and nuance that can be provided around all these points, but the cold hard syllogism I just listed is impossible to deny if you accept the assumptions.

What Pro-Lifers Get

Since medical science can now make a fetus viable outside the womb at 7 and even 6 months – all babies that are aborted after that time (millions?) would be immediately classified as homicide cases. This would give pro-lifers the recognition that they seek – that the fetus is a person with full rights of its own body.

What Pro-Choicers Get

A full acknowledgement and defense of the mother’s legal rights to her body is what pro-choicers want. Evictionism is the only philosophy that gives it to them. Medical science might eventually (in 200 years?) advance so far that a fetus will be viable outside the womb immediately after conception. Thus, in the future fewer and fewer abortions will be justifiable, until they eventually will be eliminated for the legal reasons listed above.

Maybe this isn’t what pro-choicers want – I believe some radicals in this camp are actually obsessed with enacting a collective, violent reversal of past abuses against women, and are simply exercising this ugly itch on unborn children. (Its like the old saying about people who are oppressed and bullied – they themselves become the worst oppressors and bullies, once freed). The child after all is a symbol of bondage and oppression to the extreme feminists who lead the pro-abortion vanguard. But the vast majority of pro-choicers are not pro-abortionists in this way, so I think the recognition of woman’s rights provided by evictionism would be attractive.

What Pro-Lifers Don’t Get

They don’t get a moral rule in law – i.e. a law requiring unwilling mothers to sacrifice their bodily rights for an unwelcome child.

This is very important. True law – as shown in our simple and basic approach of Private Property+Non-Agression Principle – is limited only to prohibiting transgressions – not creating positive obligations. Most modern law-codes are overrun with these types of illegitimate “good samaritan” laws, buy they are nonetheless illegitimate.

The law cannot make us moral people. Indeed, a law requiring people to make morally good choices renders morality itself impossible, since to live morally one must be free to…choose! A choice not to be moral must always be allowed by law, so long as it doesn’t violate our earlier principle against agression of others’ property.

It may be morally damnable for a promiscuous young woman who – for example – uses early-term abortion as a method of birth control. But it mustn’t be illegal if she has no other reasonable way to rid her body of the trespasser.

What Pro-Choicers Don’t Get

They don’t get carte blanche to treat the unborn child however they wish – as they do now in America. They get their “mother’s rights”, but must acknowledge that the fetus isn’t a mere blod clot that can be ripped out of the womb at any time, at whim. Evictionism would demand a new respect for life – once which pro-lifers have failed utterly in instilling.

Here’s Professor Block explaining it all in brief, in his own charming way:

  • http://twitter.com/chrifive916 chrifive916

    Nice article. More people need to understand evictionism.

    • bensommer

      Agreed thanks

  • http://www.facebook.com/Colormebrightjewelry Kayla Joyce

    I have never heard of this I would like to know the details. I’m personally Pro-life so I would like to see if this means that nobody is killed and that it will actually work.

    • bensommer

      Hi Kayla – all the details are there, but can be elaborated on.

      Under this approach, non-viable infants would indeed die when evicted from the womb, though would not be purposefully killed as they are now. Over time, as medical science advancements push the point of viability back near the point of conception, fewer and fewer infants would die when evicted, to the point that no infants would die, and abortion would be eliminated, while mother’s full rights to her body are intact.

      Does this make sense?

  • K

    If a fetus owns her own body and is indeed living, why is it not considered murder to abort a living citizen of the country we are so proud of? The woman does not have the right, because she is indeed committing murder. It think this is the most deceitful way of covering up sin. Shameful.

    • bensommer

      K I think you’re not following the train of logic exactly. Killing not always equal to murder. You can’t ignore woman’s rights. You will lose the battle completely if you don’t see the light here and agree to this compromise. It’s the right legal thing to allow, but not necessarily morally right thing. But then morality must be a choice not a law, Or else there is no morality just tyranny.

  • disqus_QbXgWIKI3u

    You are right. We cannot ignore women’s rights. We can’t ignore the rights of the baby either

  • disqus_QbXgWIKI3u

    A baby is never a guest. it is family.

    • bensommer

      You’re applying rhetorical flourish and ignoring my logic flow hun!

  • disqus_QbXgWIKI3u

    No man, woman or child has a legal right to abort, because it is murder. In the Bible, it says that we are made in the image of God, and that we are special to him. Human
    beings are God’s workmanship and destroying his workmanship is defying it. We are to do good works, not destroy God’s
    work. The Lord has also said to
    Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I
    set you apart.” God knew us when we were in the womb and we were special to him. I am sorry, but I cannot agree with you in this situation because it would be declaring God wrong.

  • Newtronic

    Very interesting. I like it. Feasibility?