Walter Block’s correspondent S writes:
In particular, I find persuasive Stephan Kinsella’s argument that one voluntarily assumes positive obligations if one puts another in a dangerous situation.
If so, hasn’t some combination of the mother and the medical staff placed the evicted fetus in a dangerous situation? Must some or all of them be obliged to care for the fetus?
Well, there are only two general places where the fetus could be: inside the womb and outside it. It may be true that being inside is safer than being outside. But the fetus does not have the right to be inside. If the mother evicts him, as she presumably has the right to do, then he must end up outside.
Since coming to be “in a dangerous situation” is entirely unavoidable and happens not because of the mother’s negligence or ill will but as a matter of logical necessity or essence or meaning of “eviction,” the mother cannot be faulted for it and because of that fact incurs no positive obligations.
Thus, if there were 100 different places the fetus could end up at upon being evicted, some of which were more or less dangerous than others, then it might be incumbent upon the mother to pick the safest place.
In fact, it is an explicit aspect of Blockian evictionism that if a foster guardian were to come forward with an announcement of his intention to adopt and care for the fetus, the mother would be duty-bound to deliver the fetus to him. In such a case, there would indeed be multiple choices of post-eviction locations.
But in general there is only 1 place, the “outside.”
S’s argument then is:
1. The mother ought not to endanger the fetus.
2. But eviction entails endangerment.
3. Therefore, evictions are unlawful.
But I’d counter with:
1. Eviction is lawful (to be defended perhaps with other arguments).
2. Admittedly, eviction entails endangerment.
3. Therefore, endangerment is lawful, as well.