Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 561, March 14, 2010

"The state is death."

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The Answer to Abortion
by Rob Sandwell

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

Any time someone tells me they are pro-life, my immediate reaction is to respond that they must be anti state. Of course, this is always shocking to them; I have yet to have someone enthusiastically reply, "Of course! I'm an anarchist! How'd you know?" But I use that shock as a way to make them stop in their tracks and consider a very simple idea.

The answer to abortion is the elimination of the state.

For many people, the logic here is not immediately self evident, so allow me to explain.

First of all, the state incentivizes irresponsible sexual behavior. No one has to incentivize sexual behavior in and of itself. It is after all, sex. Most people, absent years of petty indoctrination, can tell a good thing when they have one. But the state incentivizes irresponsible sexual behavior. It gives subsidies to single mothers. It gives government money to clinics which perform abortions. It gives "free" school, and daycare, and food, and medical care, to the children who result from irresponsible sexual behavior, and thus by mitigating the consequences of it, the state incentivizes that behavior in the first place.

Now you may be saying, "but those subsidies largely only apply to women who keep their babies, not those who abort them," and you are right. But the existence of those subsidies acts as to reduce the risk of the initial action, the irresponsible sexual behavior. It is only after that action has taken place that the mother decides how best to proceed.

Of course, this has a number of profound effects on society in general, including the devaluing of virtue in the male, the proliferation of sexually transmitted diseases, the objectification of women and so on, but here we are dealing primarily with abortion.

So instead of facing the very real and possibly devastating social consequences of irresponsible sexual behavior, the state encourages it. You always get more of what you subsidize and less of what you tax. We subsidize the irresponsible single mother of three, and tax the responsible nuclear family with two working parents. Economics 101.

But that is only the beginning of the problem where the state is concerned.

Even in the current climate of statist obstruction to any advances in reproductive science, we already have a number of contraceptive alternatives. The pill, condoms, diaphragms, spermicide, the shot, the patch, implants, and even "natural" contraception. And all this is in a climate where the government, under the influence of the religionists, heavily regulates and discourages advancements in reproductive science.

In a free market, there is no way to predict the number of possible methods of contraception which would be available to both women and men. Certainly men are as interested in preventing unwanted pregnancies as women. Perhaps, at least in some cases, more so. An unwanted pregnancy can be a devastating financial burden to a young man. Contraception which was easy to use, long lasting, available to both men and women, and easily reversible would be in high demand, and certainly that demand, if unencumbered by state regulation, would drive a marketplace of ideas which is completely unavailable to us now.

And what about other free market ideas regarding unwanted pregnancies? In order to grow, a fetus needs nutrients, heat, and a compatible environment. Why hasn't science come up with a suitable substitute for the womb? Why can't we remove a freshly impregnated egg and grow it outside the mother, and then offer that child up for adoption to parents who do want a child. We know such parents exist because there is a high demand for healthy babies. Why haven't we found a solution for this yet?

And what about allowing mothers to sell their guardianship to willing parents? I know that to some, this will smack of human trafficking, but remember, in a free society, parents would not own children. They would merely possess to some degree the right to care for those children. That right should be transferrable. Certainly we would prefer a win-win-win situation where a mother gets a hundred thousand dollars, a barren couple gets a child, and a child gets to live, over one impoverished woman, one childless couple, and one dead child? Wouldn't we?

So the free market and scientific advances would eliminate most, if not all, of the "convenience" abortions. But what about those which result from the brutalities of rape or out of medical necessity?

Firstly, the elimination of the state will end all vice related crime, as well as creating real incentives to eliminate most of the other crime which occurs in society. By discouraging, in real appreciable ways, violent crime while simultaneously creating positive opportunities for people a free society would reduce brutal crimes to a rarity.

Secondly, the same advances in science which would bring about alternative forms of contraception would also systematically eliminate the medical necessity of abortion. We will find solutions to all but the most tragic medical problems once health care is freed from the chains of the state.

Under these conditions, instances of abortion could be reduced to a statistical null.

But there is something more insidious in people who claim to be pro-life. I believe that for many of them, pro-life is actually a psychological "code" for anti-sex. And I believe it is a reflection of self loathing.

For many people, especially but not only fundamental religionists, sex is dirty. It is evil. It is of the devil. It is vile. It is wrong. It is fallen. And it is difficult for a person to accept that anything good can come out of something so viciously corrupt. So after spending a lifetime reviling sexual behavior, they have come to revile themselves as well. This rots them at their core, and while they claim to be "pro-life," they express hatred towards one of the purest and most joyful expressions of life itself.

But perhaps worst is the irrational belief that one can be both pro-life and pro-state at the same time.

The state is not life. The state is violence and predation. It is theft. It is brutal and dehumanizing. It is hatred and oppression and corruption. The state feeds on the lives of the young. It ships them overseas to kill the young of other lands. It steals their futures through inflation and taxation. It takes from them the fruits of their labors to buy the votes of the old.

The state is death.

And so support of the state is support of death, not life. It is support for the very thing which prevents science and the free market from finding solutions to unwanted pregnancies and alternatives to abortions. It is support for the very thing which incentivizes irresponsible behavior. It is support for the system which is the cause of most of the violence, even between individuals, which people so fear.

A person cannot be simultaneously pro-life and pro-death. And so when someone makes the claim that they are pro-life, there can really only be two possibilities.

Either they are anti-state, or they really don't give a damn about dead babies.

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