by Oleg Panczenko                (9/4/1989)

          [Brant Gaede's (07656GAED) contributions 
          appear on floors 22 and 20 of this tower.

 1.  Mr Gaede argues that a  fetus is  human but not  a person and
     hence killing it  is not murder.   (Clearly a fetus  is not a
     person in  the Kantian  sense: a  person is  an agent;  he is
     autonomous;  he   has  will   and  reason;   he  has  rights,
     obligations, and duties).  Scruton (Scruton 1981) gives three
     common  objections  to  the  `not  a  person'  argument:  the
     question of the  fetus's personhood is  undecided; rights may
     be  possessed  by  things other  than  persons;  we  may have
     non-contractual,  non-voluntary obligations  which  extend to
     all  human  life.   We  can   make  the  killing  of  certain
     non-persons unlawful, just as  we make cruelty to non-persons
     (animals)  unlawful.   Lastly, infants,  the  senile  and the
     comatose are  also not  Kantian persons,  yet we  consider it
     impermissible to kill them.

 2.  One reason why  Mr Gaede  is  ``pro-choice'' is  because some
     arguments against  abortion are  based on  religious precepts
     (e.g.  ``God's  will'') and  he  is an  atheist.   Because an
     argument is  framed in terms  of ``God's will''  is no reason
     that it cannot  be framed in  terms which do  not presume the
     existence of God.   An assertion is  not necessarily false if
     the line of reasoning leading to  it as a conclusion is shown
     false.   For   example,  Maxwell's   equations  were  derived
     assuming the existence of a  luminiferous aether.  It is also
     ``God's will'' that (putting  aside the question of abortion)
     one not kill, that one not steal, and that one not bear false
     witness  against  one's neighbor.   Should  atheists  then be
     allowed to murder, steal and perjure?  Every system of morals
     needs a `God says so' in  one guise or another, for there are
     no philosophical truths (even if  we use as loose a criterion
     of  `truth'   as  that   of  agreement   by  a   majority  of
     philosophers).   Those  who  object  to  `God  says  so'  say
     `Natural Rights  says so'  or `Kant's  axiom of nonaggression
     says so', or `Ayn Rand says so'.

     [On the  point of  philosophical truths:  someone will smugly
     say that `A is A' (Aristotle's Law of Identity) is an example
     of a truth.  An easy  objection: Suppose A changes with time:
     at time t1, A is A, at time t2, A is no longer A.  Neither is
     such a  formulation useful:  ``The `is'  of identity  and the
     `is'  of  predication  are logically  distinct.  ...  Now the
     distinction  between  subject  and   predicate  is  basic  to
     thought.  A creature  who could not  understand it, who spoke
     only of identities, would know nothing of his world; he would
     know  only the  arbitrary  determinations of  his  own usage,
     whereby  he is  able to  substitute  one name  for another.''
     (Scruton 1981, p. 249)]

 3.  I view abortion  as a  manifestation of  the left's  `will to
     death'.  (See Igor Shafarevich, The Socialist Phenomenon (NY:
     Harper and Row,  1980) on the question  of a left death-wish.
     The application of his ideas to abortion is my own.)

     I also fear that the  left is working to  take the horror out
     of death: fatal  soporifics replace beatings,  poison gas and
     bullets.  This  coupled with an  assault on the  will to live
     (and the will to procreate is  a fundamental part of the will
     to live) is a grave danger  to mankind. (Note that not all on
     the `left'  believe that abortion  is permissible  nor do all
     those on the `right' think abortion is impermissible.)

 4.  I can make no sense Mr. Gaede's assertion  that ``[t]he fetus
     has no social context, only a biological one''.  One does not
     posses a context, one exists within  a context or one is part
     of  a  context.   The  fetus  exists  in  both  a  social and
     biological context.

 5.  In Rhetoric, a  `Kiss-of-Death' is the  demonstration that an
     opponent's  views  are  also held  by  someone  reviled.  For
     example, `child-pornographers  and the ACLU  favor freedom of
     speech'. Planned Parenthood, in a series of advertisements in
     Time  magazine, tried  to  link opposition  to  abortion with
     `fundamentalist  zealotry'.   Kiss-of-Death  is  no  counter-
     argument.  Adolph  Hitler was very  fond of dogs  (he had and
     Alsatian named  `Blondie') and  once proposed  that strays be
     kenneled  at  government expense.   Are  dog-lovers  Nazis at

 6.  We  are responsible  for the  forseeable consequences  of our
     actions.  One  of the  forseeable consequences  of an  act of
     sexual intercourse in  the creation of a  being which, by its
     nature, is in a state of  dependency.  Hence we have the duty
     to  support   this  dependent  creature   until  is  achieves
     self-sufficiency.   (This  is  a  precis  of  Doris  Gordon's
     argument.  See Appendix A.)

 7.  The problem of abortion will not go away with the creation of
     an  artificial womb.   It will  always  be more  expensive to
     remove the fetus  and keep it alive  (the cost of maintaining
     it in the chamber) rather than removing it and discarding it.
     What if the mother can't pay? What if she won't pay?  Suppose
     she prefers to have an abortion.

 8.  I do not  know the  teaching of  the Catholic  Church on  the
     question of artificial wombs and  neither does  Mr Gaede.  He
     has not  mentioned any  Roman Catholic  teachings which would
     indicate that the  Church would forbid  the use of artificial
     wombs  by  Catholics.  Prefacing  unfounded  speculation with
     ``probably'' does not free one of the obligation not to speak
     when one does not know.

 9.  Mr. Gaede suspects most anti-abortionists of  having a hidden
     agenda but does not tell us what it is.

 10. A concern for  the unborn does  not imply a  conjoint concern
     for the born,  just as a concern  that robberies be prevented
     does  not  obligate  one  to   also  be  concerned  with  how
     ex-robbers are to make their livings.

 11. Mothers  who  do  not  want children  may  give  them  up for
     adoption or, perhaps, be allowed to sell them.  For arguments
     for the allowing the sale  of children see Richard A. Posner,
     Economic Analysis of Law, 3rd  ed. (Boston: Little, Brown and
     Company, 1986), pp. 139-143.

 12. Mr.Gaede laments the future of little children of Central and
     South America.  How can he be so certain of their future that
     he  can  say  that  they  have  ``no  or  little  chance  for
     happiness.''  If  life is  so unbearably  unhappy then people
     have the  choice of self-killing.   That a  person has little
     chance for happiness is hardly  rationale for another to kill
     him.  One notes that there was little chance for happiness in
     the Nazi  concentration camps yet  only a  few chose suicide.
     (Conditions in  Central and  South America  are not  as bad.)
     Yes, the people  in Central and South  America are poor.  But
     they go on with their lives, they do raise their families and
     they do  find a few  happinesses. They suffer  not because of
     large families but because of socialist economies.


 A. For non-religious arguments against abortion write to

    Libertarians for Life
    13424 Hathaway Drive, #22
    Wheaton, MD  20906
    (301) 460-4141

    Include $3.00 for a packet of printed matter.
    The founder  of LFL,  Doris Gordon,  is an  atheist and  was a
    follower of Ayn Rand.

 B. For  two  good  complementary overviews  of  philosophy  I can

       Marias,  Julian.  1967, History  of  Philosophy.  New York:

       Scruton,  Roger. 1981,  From  Descartes to  Wittgenstein: A
       Short  History of  Modern  Philosophy. London:  Routledge &
       Kegan Paul.

    Intellectual sloppiness and errors  in reasoning are common in
    the  debate  on  abortion.   One  familiar  with philosophical
    analysis will be able to identify the most egregiously foolish
    `arguments'.   Bear in  mind that  disagreeable does  not mean
    fallacious.  A college text  on philosophical analysis written
    by a libertarian is

       Hospers,  John.  1988,  An  Introduction  to  Philosophical
       Analysis,   Third    Edition.    Englewood    Cliffs,   NJ:

    A most  useful  work which  has  brief essays  on  `abortion',
    `rights',  `right  to  life',  `person',  and  other  concepts
    important to the question of abortion is:

       Scruton,  Roger. A  Dictionary  of Political  Thought.  New
       York: Hill and Wang, 1982.

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