"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."The commenter felt that since even Ayn Rand seems a little bit less than certain abortion in the later stages of pregnancy, perhaps I was overstepping my supposed mandate in affirming the right to abortion up until birth.
“A Last Survey,” The Ayn Rand Letter.
I do not agree. I cannot say what Rand's arguments concerning late-term abortion were because she does not flesh them out. Rand certainly lays out the essential point that sacrificing a woman's life to a fetus is vicious (a principle which she also affirmed elsewhere in her writing), but that is the extent of her argument. It would be absolutely improper to allow oneself to become paralyzed by a vague aside and quite frankly, that's not how Objectivism works.
Ayn Rand's contribution to the cause of mankind was the development of a rational philosophy for thinking and acting, not a group of texts for her admirers to slavishly follow like it was the revealed gospel of some lord. As a deeply powerful thinker, Ayn Rand offers volumes of astute observations about the world and its nature. That doesn't absolve those of us who admire her ideas to see the world as it is with our own eyes. I hold that Rand's philosophic system is essential in that identification, but even the merits of Objectivism have to be validated by a person using it for it to be a truly useful tool. There is just no getting around the need to think independently and rationally about the questions of life.
So every now and again, I do come across something that Ayn Rand wrote or said that I don't exactly see eye-to-eye with. These points have been minor and trivial at best, which I think is a powerful statement of Rand's unprecedented accuracy as a thinker. Yet there has never been anything substantive that I have been able to show that was wrong with her philosophic system; quite the contrary, I see a sturdy and stout tool for perceiving reality as it is and acting accordingly. And that's why I choose to use it as such a tool in order to answer my own questions about life and respect her for it. I take Ayn Rand and Objectivism but my loyalty to Ayn Rand and Objectivism is not slavish; it is rational, and there is a world of difference between the two.