July 13, 2015

Walter Block, Specific Performance Contracts, and Abortion

By In Bionic Mosquito, Blogs

I agree with the vast majority of Walter Block’s positions on the application of the non-aggression principle to the various concerns of the humans that inhabit this planet.  One topic on which we disagree is abortion, with Block advocating evictionism – the unborn child can be evicted but not murdered.  It’s a headscratcher for me, as the “eviction” of any unborn child prior to the last (X) months will likely result in death, but such is the intricacy and nuance of Block’s argument (remember, I am a simpleton).

I suggest that the unborn child has the right to the use of the womb for the term of the pregnancy.  The mother owns the womb (obviously), but the child is a tenant, if you will; a tenant who in no way breached the lease agreement.  My view is based on several aspects of contract and real estate law – all types of contracts upon which I rely I deem as perfectly compatible with the non-aggression principle.

With that as background, I refer to Block’s blog post at LRC regarding specific performance contracts – outlining the right of the counter-party to demand specific performance if the first party has a change of heart.  To make a long story short, he disagrees with those in the libertarian community who suggest that such contracts are invalid within the framework of the NAP.  He believes that enforcement of the terms of a specific performance contract is perfectly legitimate within libertarian theory.

I fully agree – and Block even offered a cite to one of my posts on this topic!

What does this have to do with abortion?  One of the types of contracts upon which I make my case regarding the unborn child’s rights to occupy the womb for the term of the pregnancy – and against the possibility of eviction – is a specific performance contract.  I offer a brief passage from my above-referenced post regarding abortion:

If the mother changes her mind – as Rothbard suggests she has every right to do – it will cause irreparable harm to the unborn child.  Money damages will most certainly not be sufficient for the benefit of the now-dead unborn child.  The counter-party (the unborn child) would be entitled to equitable relief, including specific performance, and such relief shall not be opposed.  What specific performance would the unborn child demand?  It is not difficult to imagine the answer.

Similar language is included in many contracts today, and one would expect in this most one-sided contract between mother and unborn child – where the party that set the terms of the contract could then break the contract and realize a gain while the counter-party suffers death – it seems reasonable that the expectation would be not less than what is standard in every-day commercial agreements – for exchanges much less significant than life and death.

Block has yet to reply to my arguments on this topic – he has agreed to do so if I get the post published in a refereed journal.  I have decided that attempting to do so is a complete waste of my time.

Perhaps one day I will learn why a specific performance contract does not apply to the case of the unborn child (and no, it is most certainly NOT because the unborn child cannot be contracted with; see section XI of the subject post).

But for today, I am glad Block agrees with this much.  One day, he will agree with the rest!

Written by Bionic Mosquito

Some talking head on CNBC, when referring to Ron Paul, called him a “mosquito.” My reaction – if he is a “mosquito”, he is a pretty powerful one. Hence the name…. More about me, with contact information, here: http://bionicmosquito.blogspot.com/p/about.html