Tyler Colford: Individual rights of the baby ought to be upheld
I have been racking my brain trying to write this for a while now. The problem I've been having, besides the topic being very controversial, is that my personal beliefs contradict my political beliefs. Me being a Christian, albeit one who frequently finds themselves in sin, finds the act of abortion morally wrong. However, as a libertarian, I want the government out of everyone's lives as much as conceivably possible. How can I protect the natural rights of an innocent, practically defenseless life while staying true to my libertarian ideals?
I will start by addressing the issues I have with H.57 and then try to present suggestions that will stem the rate of abortions without betraying my libertarian ideals.
The biggest problem I have with H.57 is that it denies the individual rights of the unborn child
"(c) A fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus shall not have independent rights under Vermont law."
Update: while writing this it has come to my attention that this language has been struck from the bill, however, upholding the "right" to terminate the child up to the point of birth denies the independent right of the child without directly saying so.
Ludwig Von Mises and Murray N. Rothbard do not consider an unborn or even an infant a conscious human being, they still accepted that, while not "conscious," infants still have natural rights. Below I will try to show that not only do infants have natural rights but so does the fetus.
When the sperm fertilizes the egg it creates a barrier to protect from outside sperm trespassing on the newly fertilized egg as well as protection from the mother's immune system. After a three-day trip through fallopian tubes the fertilized egg embeds itself into the uterus and develops the placenta (shelter) and an umbilical cord (food supply). These characteristics align with the Lockean labour theory of property. The newly formed life is actively creating a shelter, food source and protecting itself from possible threats. This is happening within the female's body yet distinctly separate from her body's control, or there would be no need for the new life to protect itself from the female's immune system.
Another issue I have with H.57 is that it looks like a bill that celebrates the death of an unborn child. If this bill actually upheld a women's right to choose how to proceed regarding her pregnancy it wouldn't say "(2) interfere with or restrict, in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information, the choice of a consenting individual to terminate the individual's pregnancy."
It would mention protection from restricting information and services of alternatives to abortions as well.
Passing a law making it illegal for a female to terminate her pregnancy wouldn't address the demand of abortions. The acts would still be happening on the black market. Instead of passing laws to ban abortions we need to focus on the cause of the demand.
According to the Guttmucher Institute there are usually multiple factors that cause a female to seek an abortion. Out of 1,209 females, post abortion, that were asked; 74% mentioned having a kid would interfere in their employment or schooling, 73% mentioned economic or financial hardship and 48% said that they didn't want to be a single parent or had relationship problems.
Vermont is struggling to provide childcare services because the government is overburdening home and center based providers with hundreds of pages of regulations. Instead of trying to subsidize the problem away in the childcare industry. We need to recognize that it is the regulations, that were mainly recommended by the more super marginal (the bigger more profitable) childcare centers, that are causing the mass closures of their submarginal "competition." A decrease in regulations, certification and licensure will increase the supply of childcare, giving parents more options. More options causes an increase in variety and quality as well as a decrease in cost.
Providing more childcare at lower costs would help to alleviate part of the burden for some of the 74% of females who mentioned "having a kid would interfere with their employment or schooling."
Besides limiting the Federal Reserve's ability to manipulate the money supply or interest rate which can cause boom bust cycles and rampant inflation, there are certain areas where we can spur economic growth and stability. Like getting rid of occupational licensing requirements for many professions. Doing so will allow individuals to enter into occupations that are currently inaccessible to them. "The preponderance of the evidence suggests that occupational licensing does little to protect public health and safety. It drives up prices . . . and my research shows there's almost no effect on the overall quality of service," says Dr. Morris Kleiner of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
In 1960, 9% of American children lived in a single parent household; by 2018 that rate has increased to 26.6%. What changed? Charles Murray's book "Loosing Ground" argues that the social programs of the 1960s and 70s actually made life worse for those the programs were designed to help. These programs had unforeseen incentives for individuals to stay unemployed and parents separated. Reducing or eliminating many of these social programs will get rid of a lot of incentives that harm those who are most financially unstable.
So far I have laid out areas that we can decrease the government's intervention that will help address the reasons females, who have had an abortion, have for their choice to terminate their pregnancy. This decrease of government action will also have an impact on government spending, allowing for a possible decrease in tax burdens which will also have a positive effect on financial stability of the general public.
In closing, mentioning the viability of the life of the baby and how artificial wombs might help to push the viability of life to earlier stages of the pregnancy, I believe that if the life of a baby is viable outside of the female's womb then the individual rights of the baby ought to be upheld. This is why my main issue with H.57 is the denial of recognition of the baby's independent natural rights. Which the bill still does deny the unborn child's life without overtly saying so.
Colford, a 2018 candidate for State Senate, writes from Jacksonville. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.
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