[Ayn Rand on Abortion] “An embryo has no rights. Rights do not pertain to a potential, only to an actual being. A child cannot acquire any rights until it is born. The living take precedence over the not-yet-living (or the unborn).[Ayn Rand on Abortion] “Abortion is a moral right—which should be left to the sole discretion of the woman involved; morally, nothing other than her wish in the matter is to be considered. Who can conceivably have the right to dictate to her what disposition she is to make of the functions of her own body?”
from Rand’s book chap “Of Living Death” in bookThe Voice of Reason, 58–59
[Ayn Rand on Abortion] “Never mind the vicious nonsense of claiming that an embryo has a “right to life.” A piece of protoplasm has no rights—and no life in the human sense of the term. One may argue about the later stages of a pregnancy, but the essential issue concerns only the first three months. To equate a potential with an actual, is vicious; to advocate the sacrifice of the latter to the former, is unspeakable. . . . Observe that by ascribing rights to the unborn, i.e., the nonliving, the anti-abortionists obliterate the rights of the living: the right of young people to set the course of their own lives. The task of raising a child is a tremendous, lifelong responsibility, which no one should undertake unwittingly or unwillingly. Procreation is not a duty: human beings are not stock-farm animals. For conscientious persons, an unwanted pregnancy is a disaster; to oppose its termination is to advocate sacrifice, not for the sake of anyone’s benefit, but for the sake of misery qua misery, for the sake of forbidding happiness and fulfillment to living human beings.”
from Ayn Rand’s chap “A Last Survey” in The Ayn Rand Letter, IV, 2, 3
[Ayn Rand on Abortion] “If any among you are confused or taken in by the argument that the cells of an embryo are living human cells, remember that so are all the cells of your body, including the cells of your skin, your tonsils, or your ruptured appendix—and that cutting them is murder, according to the notions of that proposed law. Remember also that a potentiality is not the equivalent of an actuality—and that a human being’s life begins at birth.”
“The question of abortion involves much more than the termination of a pregnancy: it is a question of the entire life of the parents. As I have said before, parenthood is an enormous responsibility; it is an impossible responsibility for young people who are ambitious and struggling, but poor; particularly if they are intelligent and conscientious enough not to abandon their child on a doorstep nor to surrender it to adoption. For such young people, pregnancy is a death sentence: parenthood would force them to give up their future, and condemn them to a life of hopeless drudgery, of slavery to a child’s physical and financial needs. The situation of an unwed mother, abandoned by her lover, is even worse.
“I cannot quite imagine the state of mind of a person who would wish to condemn a fellow human being to such a horror. I cannot project the degree of hatred required to make those women run around in crusades against abortion. Hatred is what they certainly project, not love for the embryos, which is a piece of nonsense no one could experience, but hatred, a virulent hatred for an unnamed object. Judging by the degree of those women’s intensity, I would say that it is an issue of self-esteem and that their fear is metaphysical. Their hatred is directed against human beings as such, against the mind, against reason, against ambition, against success, against love, against any value that brings happiness to human life. In compliance with the dishonesty that dominates today’s intellectual field, they call themselves “pro-life.”
“By what right does anyone claim the power to dispose of the lives of others and to dictate their personal choices?”
from Ayn Rand, “The Age of Mediocrity”– The Objectivist Forum, June 1981, 3
[Ayn Rand on Abortion] “A proper, philosophically valid definition of man as “a rational animal,” would not permit anyone to ascribe the status of “person” to a few human cells.”
From Ayn Rand: “The Age of Mediocrity”…The Objectivist Forum, June 1981, 2
And this as background on Ryan and his embrace of things Randian: This from Huffpo: read more:
In a recent New Yorker profile, Ryan called her a key inspiration in his life. His coming-of-age moment featured Rand.
“I grew up on Ayn Rand,” Ryan told the Atlas Society, a group of Rand devotees, in a 2005 speech. “That’s what I tell people … you know, everybody does their soul-searching, and trying to find out who they are and what they believe, and you learn about yourself … I grew up reading Ayn Rand, and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are, and what my beliefs are.”
Ryan went on to say that Rand’s works are required reading for his staff. “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” he went on to say. “And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism.”
Rand’s works featured prominently in a 2009 Ryan video critique of President Barack Obama. The congressman said that he was not surprised that Rand’s novels have spiked in popularity since Obama took office. “It’s that kind of thinking, that kind of writing that is sorely needed right now,” Ryan said. “And I think a lot of people would observe that we are right now living in an Ayn Rand novel, metaphorically speaking.”
In April, Ryan attempted to distance himself from his prior infatuation with the novelist, telling the National Review in an interview, “If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas. Don’t give me Ayn Rand.” (A spokesman later suggested that Ryan was not repudiating Rand’s philosophy, but that Ryan did not make staffers read “Atlas Shrugged.”)
We have to wait and see how this seeming clang gets sorted, but knowing that many agree with Rand via her writings about abortion, also, as a Catholic, I know most Roman Catholics would never agree with Rand on this matter. Nor with Ryan, if he holds this mythic ideal of Rand close to his most basic ‘values’ as he has claimed aloud over the years, apparently, many times.
I wonder also, having read Rand in highschool and finding some/most of it more poetic than pragmatic, if Rep Ryan’s love of the intellectual life will be lost on many of the grassroots voters. I think of the ranchers where I live, the farmers where I come from… they no more know nor want to know Rand –or any high-fallutin’ anything– if it doesnt have the pragmatics of a branding iron or a frying pan, keepin’ the snowstorms out of the noses of the Charolais and bull breeders in winter, and running the fence lines so as to keep one’s investments invested.
We shall see.
Copyright 2012 The Moderate Voice