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Ghate & Bayer: Roe vs Wade and the Right to Abortion

Philosophers Onkar Ghate and Ben Bayer have a timely discussion on Roe vs Wade and the right to abortion.

Topics covered include:

  • A brief history of abortion jurisprudence since Roe v. Wade;
  • Ayn Rand’s view of Roe and her support for abortion rights;
  • Why abortion rights are not grounded in a right to privacy;
  • Why activities don’t need to be concretely enumerated to be protected by fundamental rights;
  • Why we need abstract principles to state fundamental legal principles;
  • Why conservative sympathy for the reversal of Lochner v. New York implies a presumption in favor of government power;
  • Whether the potential to feel pain is the basis of rights;
  • How Roe v. Wade tries to balance competing interests, not to protect rights;
  • Why regarding life as sacred from conception is a baseless religious viewpoint;
  • Why it’s arbitrary to regard viability as the limit for justifiable abortion;
  • Whether religion or judicial philosophy motivates Justice Thomas;
  • Whether “individual responsibility” means a woman who chooses to have sex should carry a pregnancy to term;
  • The Supreme Court Justices’ unphilosophical approach.

Mentioned in the discussion are Leonard Peikoff’s essay “Abortion Rights Are Pro-Life,” Ben Bayer’s essays “Ayn Rand’s Radical Case for Abortion Rights” and “Science without Philosophy Can’t Resolve Abortion Debate,” and Tom Bowden’s “Justice Holmes and the Empty Constitution.”

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