POP culture

Premises Of Post-Objectivism


Copyright Thomas Gramstad 2001
This document is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

Stay Outta My Uterus!

The articles and documents compiled here argue the pro-freedom, pro-choice position from an individualist or autonomy perspective: the right to (one's own) life. (Isn't it strange that the term pro-life is usually associated with the other side of this debate?) Generally speaking they make a moral case for each woman's right to sovereignty or self-determination, and explore the meaning, scope and implementation of this fundamental position. The moral perspective is sadly lacking from much of the mainstream debate, which may explain why the pro-choice position is under siege. The articles here take different perspectives and make different arguments. Sometimes these perspectives and arguments are incompatible with each other or contradictory. So there is a variety of different pro-choice positions (for example, does pro-choice apply to the first, the first two, or all three trimesters until birth?). This variety of positions is to a large degree due to the fact that advocacy of freedom leads to an increased variety of perspectives and viewpoints, the more freedom, the more diversity. While force and its advocacy, on the other hand, leads to monotony (in how many ways can an act be forbidden or outlawed?). The resolution of the different pro-choice positions is left as an exercise for the reader...

Note that pro-choice does not mean that you cannot have strong opinions about what alternative other people should choose, or about the value of saving fetuses, nor does it mean that you cannot advocate and promote those opinions loudly and publicly. It means only that you respect another person's moral and legal right to be the one who makes the decision - her life, her body, her choices. For example, someone running a voluntary campaign to save fetuses, and to convince pregnant women to choose to give birth (instead of supporting forcing women to give birth), is a pro-choicer, not a "pro-lifer".

Choice is the Compromise

In the context of an abortion debate, the term pro-life is taken to refer to the position that zygotes, embryos and fetuses are persons with the exact same rights and legal protections that any citizen has. But this position always translates into giving the zygote, embryo or fetus more rights and legal protections than a woman has - it has to, because "fetal rights" would conflict with, and therefore curtail and abrogate a woman's rights. Thus, advocating "fetal rights" necessarily means advocating the use of force against women to take their freedom and sovereignty away, by making abortions illegal. This is why pro-force is a more accurate term to describe the pro-"fetal rights" or "make abortions illegal" position.

Individualists are people who respect everyone's freedom, autonomy or sovereignty. Individualists are against taking people's freedom away by force. Individualists are pro-choicers (on every issue). That is what this web site is about. Below you will find links to articles and web sites about this theme.

There is also a link to a major pro-force web site, where you will find many articles advocating the use of force to take away a woman's freedom and right to her body - an advocacy of force in the name of individualism and life.

If you know about any more documents or web sites that should be included here, please feel free to submit them.

Thomas Gramstad


Abortion Is Pro-life
(A web site with articles and resources presenting the moral case for abortion along Objectivist lines first developed by Ayn Rand)

Alstad, Diana & Kramer, Joel: Abortion as a Moral Act

Alstad, Diana: Abortion and the Morality Wars: Taking the Moral Offensive

Alstad, Diana: Teen Abortion: Requiring Parental Consent Makes No Sense

Anarchism and the Fight For Abortion Rights
(An anarchosocialist compilation of articles about women's right to choose)

Ayn Rand Institute: What was Ayn Rand's view on abortion?

Bissell, Roger: Thoughts on Abortion and Child-Support
(Self-described as a "craven middle-of-the-road" position avoiding the extreme ends of the spectrum! :-)

Dykes, Nicholas: Context, Responsibility and Law
A response to Will Thomas' Navigator article

Gramstad, Thomas: Another Look at Abortion
A response to Tibor Machan's Full Context article

Gramstad, Thomas: Can Cryopreservation Solve "The Abortion Problem"?

King, David: Abortion From chapter 6 of his webpublished book, A Guide to the Philosophy of Objectivism

Lawrence University Students of Objectivism: Does a Woman Have a Right to an Abortion?
(Compares the conservative approach vs. the liberal approach vs. the Objectivist approach)

McElroy, Wendy: Abortion
Self-ownership vs. mandatory motherhood

McElroy, Wendy: The Abortion Debate that Wasn't
Pro-choicers must not be afraid to make the moral case for abortion

The officers of The Association for Objective Law:
Abortion: An Absolute Right

O'Neill, Bill: Barricade: the Only Moral Common Ground for Abortion Rights
(Conception is neither the beginning of an individual nor of life, and there can be no common ground with those who seek authoritarianism and blind obedience.)

O'Neill, Bill: Modern Demons
(An impassioned delivery about the pro-life movement as promoting slavery, why offering adoption is evil, and about the Religious Right, the Catholic Church, and the UN as propagators of irrational ideas)

Peikoff, Leonard: Abortion Rights Are Pro-Life

The Rand & abortion mailing list:

Ray, Carolyn: Potentiality Arguments
(The first part of a series of caro thinks journal entries on abortion)

Stubblefield, Robert J.: Infants, Fetuses, and the Right to Life

Thomas, Will: Debate Topic: Abortion

Watkins III, Don: Abortion Is A Moral Right

Woiceshyn, Glenn: The "Partial-Birth" Smokescreen:
Anti-Abortionists Are Anti-Life and Want to Stop All Abortions


Libertarians For Life

The address of this document:

Address of author/editor:

Index to the Post-Objectivism web site: