Wednesday, July 15, 2015

On Abortion, Rights, and Child Support

In debates about abortion, the phrase "it's my body" often pops up. If the debate is able to move past that (rare), the fallback is usually, "Why should we force a woman to have to have a parasite (essentially) feeding off of her body and making her do/feel weird things?"

Most counter-arguments focus on the whole "parasite" phrasing, but I grant it. A baby is exactly that, functionally, and an accidental one probably even carries with it (for the mother) all the negative and pejorative connotations of that word, especially if it is the product of rape.

Nevertheless, the point must be answered: why should the woman have to support this drain on her resources, potential killer (complications from pregnancy and birth can, on rare occasion, kill the mother), etc.?

My answer is this: because it is a Human Being, who enjoys, by virtue of that fact, a Right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. These three are not equal, but hierarchical -- they are presented in that order for a reason.

And even most abortion rights advocates recognize this, although they may not realize it. Most abortion rights advocates are also against the use of the death penalty, in favor of life in prison, forcing the maintenance of that Life onto the taxpayer. They assert that even when the right to Liberty has been surrendered, the right to Life remains, and that said Life must be sustained, even if it means forcing others to do so. And so they recognize a hierarchy within the three rights, with Life as the fountainhead, paramount in its importance, even at the expense of others.

This same distinction is also recognized in their (usual) advocacy of a social safety net.

The objection being answered is legally founded on the mother's right to Liberty: to do with her body as she wills.  However, the Right to Life comes first, and the Baby's Right To Life therefore overrides any conflicting Rights that the Mother upon whom he or she is dependent may otherwise hold, including Liberty.  (I say nothing of the Right to the Pursuit of Happiness, because if that overrode the Right to Life, then children could be murdered by their parents outside the womb, too, and no one would blink an eye.  If the Right to Liberty can't trump the Right to Life, and it is greater than the Right to the Pursuit of Happiness, then how can the least overcome, either?)

To show this most clearly, let's examine the case of the father.  Women's rights advocates are vociferous in their calls for "deadbeat dads" to "man up", to be called to account, to pay for the physical and psychological support of their offspring.

Why?  Because they recognize that every child has a right to the Pursuit of Happiness, and if they child is not provided for by two parents he or she will suffer in the realization of that right.  (Not that it will be eliminated, but merely reduced!)

But this forced recognition of dependency infringes greatly upon the father's own Rights to Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness -- Liberty, because his body and time are no longer solely his own (he has to use them, for at least part of the time, to generate enough revenue to pay the required payments); the Pursuit of Happiness, because in diverting some amount of his resources involuntarily, he is, perforce, not able to use those resources in the pursuit of his own happiness, therefore, his Right to the Pursuit of Happiness is infringed to the extent such diversion is required.

So women's rights advocates (and any right-thinking person, really) do aver that it is good and right to recognize that the lesser rights of the child do in fact infringe upon the same rights of the father to a greater or lesser degree, and that such infringement does not grant any right to the father to cut off the fountainhead Right of the child (that is, to murder his own child in order to end the inconvenience).  They furthermore assert that such infringement should be authorized and enforced by the full force of the law.

This even though the dependency is realized only partially and distantly realized.   (That is, the Child's rights are merely reduced, and not eliminated, if the one on whom he or she is dependent does not recognize and provide for the dependency.)

How then, I ask, can they simultaneously assert that the greatest Right of the child (i.e. to Life) may be abrogated completely, simply because the one on whom it is dependent (in this case, the mother) does not desire to recognize and provide for the dependency, based on an assertion of her lesser Rights?  Do they not see that the same lesser Rights, when asserted by the provider in the other case had no standing or ability to overcome the provision against even the reduction, let alone elimination, of even the lesser Rights of the Child.

How can they say that the same assertion on the one had allows the full elimination of the greater Right, and on the other it doesn't even suffice to allow the mere reduction of the lesser Rights?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi! Feel free to comment. However, I was getting posts from different Anonymous people, and it's difficult to know who is who so I can keep the conversation straight in my head. So I'm requesting that you please bear with my weakness, and identify yourself. Even if you want to use a different name than your real name -- that's fine. But give yourself a handle for me, please. :) Thanks...