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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Libertarianism and Abortion: The Problem With Walter Block's "Evictionism"

Skyler Collins asked for my thoughts on this article about "evictionism" -which concedes the pro-life position that a fetus is entitled to rights (i.e. we must not kill them), but also concedes the pro-choice argument that women have a right to their own bodies.

The evictionist compromise then, is that a woman cannot kill her fetus, but she can evict it if the doctor does so in a "gentle manner" that is simply intended to remove the fetus rather than to kill it. A central component of this theory is that fetal viability occurs earlier and earlier as technology advances, allowing us to respect the woman's right to choose while simultaneously respecting the baby's right to life.

Here is a video in which the theory's foremost proponent Walter Block, explains and defends eviction:

Criticisms of Evictionism

Here's what I told Skyler:

I think subjecting a child to the danger inherent in something like "gentle eviction" is tantamount to child abuse. A fetus requires the nourishing environment of a womb to grow and develop- it's part of its nature. Removing it necessarily endangers it and subjects it to unnecessary and life-threatening risks. If they found a parent subjecting her six year old to physical danger (for example, leaving her in a car for hours on a sweltering summer day), the parent would be liable for criminal charges of child endangerment. I don't see how this is any different.

No compromise.


  1. thanks to Roe v Wade, abortions will become less as medicine progresses.

    Roe v Wade states that abortions can not take place after the baby becomes viable...

    as medicine improves abortions will become fewer.

    ironic, isn't it? the big win for woman's rights will slowly reduce their ability to get abortions.

    roe v wade may be unconstitutional, but after reading it, I believe it was a 'fair decision'

  2. After reading it, I thought it was classic "legislating from the bench."

  3. One great big fault with his proposition: who is going to pay to take care of the child? I suppose his response would be, "Whoever wants to." To that I would say his belief will NEVER be pro-life because there will always be MANY MANY more deaths from "eviction" than there will be lives because there simply will not be enough people willing to take on the burden of paying for and caring for the child. Thus, his "third option" is no different than the pro-choice option, except in name. Anyone today could likely convince someone to carry a child full term were they to give them enough money, but that doesn't happen because of limited funds. (maybe that's a good idea for the pro-lifers: stand outside of abortion clinics and instead of holding signs and blowing people up, give the entering pregnant women money if they sign a contract stating they will not intentionally end the pregnancy)

    Does anyone know if Walter Block sees no difference in people depending on age or any other "capability" determiner? Does he feel this way in a legal sense only or a moral sense as well?

  4. You make an important point!

    Also- most pro-lifers DO stand outside of abortion clinics with offers of financial aid, medical care, counseling, adoption services, and any other help they can provide to women who want to make a choice to keep their baby.

    You are correct that this is the best strategy- not only because it's the most effective, but because it's the most loving! It's the right thing to do.