Re: SciFi&Eco: Back to the Future?

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Tue Jan 16 2001 - 12:12:26 MST

Charlie Stross wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 16, 2001 at 10:49:52AM -0500, you wrote:
> > > (I assume that you're not advocating banning abortion at this time. Are you?)
> > I'm not. My current position is that legally a fetus is not a citizen of
> > any nation, and thus has no rights. Until citizenship is conferred at
> > the time and place of conception, this position will remain the same.
> That's a rather interesting viewpoint; it's based on a narrow interpretation
> of US law, as I understand it -- is it?
> Unless I'm very much mistaken, most countries _do_ base your citizenship
> on who your parents are; if both your parents are citizens of (X), then
> you are also recognized as a citizen of (X), no matter where your parents
> happen to be when you're born. This simplifies the immigration picture
> -- third-trimester pregnant women don't have to worry if they feel like
> taking a day trip across the border! -- while adding other complications --
> I'm reminded of a FOAF, born of parents living in Italy, who suddenly got
> a call-up notice from the Finnish army, even though he'd never visited
> Finland and didn't speak the language. So all in all I don't think it's
> either a great improvement or a greatly inferior system.

Citizenship here can be based on who one's parents are, but they are
only your parents if you've been BORN. Birth is the defining moment,
whether you base it on where you are born or who you are born to. An
unborn child, at this point at least, is simply considered a tumor of
sorts, perpetrated by that virus known as sperm, which can be excised
based on the hosts subjective judgment of it being either benign or

Citizenship based on parentage can only be claimed via proof found in
Birth Certificates, as there is no place that issues Conception
Certificates, is there? You might make a claim on DNA evidence, but
you'd have to be born enough to make the claim yourself, wouldn't you?
When I see a court granting immigration to a foreign woman who is
pregnant with the child of an American based on the child's right to be
born in the US, then there will begin to be some case law supporting the
conception interpretation of rights. Until then, its an ideal that I
share, but that the world does not recognise.

> But I find your construction of the rights of human beings as contingent
> on citizenship recognized by a national government curiously, um, curious --
> it's not a very libertarian position, is it?

No its not, but our legal system is no longer oriented toward a
libertarian society, is it? My personal opinions of rights are based on
a libertarian construction. My interpretation of the current general
public interpretation of rights as they are currently recognised in our
'unfree world' is as I stated. Notice the delineation between the two.

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