Rebloggable by Request.
The bodily autonomy argument was what convinced me to go from extremely pro-life to pro-choice in a matter of days. You’d have to find a way to convince me that it’s OK to use someone’s body parts without their consent to convince me to be pro-life again.
I can’t find it right now, but there’s a court case establishing that a father does not have an obligation to donate—I think it was bone marrow—to save his child’s life.
And yet we’re supposed to put up with what amounts to forcible donation of our uteruses? Something’s not right there.
I’ve been pro-choice pretty much my whole life, but it wasn’t until maybe five years ago that I heard this particular argument; since then I’ve felt a lot more confident in my stance and have even used this argument against pro-life people who have tried to convince me.
I’m not going to argue with you about your stance on abortion, but I’m going to point out that if you agree with the OP’s belief that an unwanted pregnancy constitutes an attack on the bodily autonomy of the mother by the child you are (perhaps unintentionally) implying two things.
1) That the punishment of someone who infringes on another’s bodily integrity should be decided without consideration of the offender’s intent or ability to understand what he did.
2) That the death penalty is an acceptable punishment for infringement upon bodily integrity.
I thought about not responding because I dislike controversy but this bothers me a lot so here I am
I don’t mind controversy, so I’ll address this no problem. You’re trying to frame this in the context of punishment, which is a straw-man argument. This isn’t about punishment.
What we’re saying is that human beings have a right to decide what happens to their own bodies, even if that decision results in the death of someone or something else. For example, by law, you cannot be forced to donate one of your kidneys or part of your liver to someone who needs it. You cannot be forced to give blood. Even if you are the only person with a certain blood type and your refusal will mean the death of someone else - maybe a family member, maybe your child - if you refuse, that is your right as a human being and no court can prosecute you for murder. You, and only you, are the final arbiter of what happens to your body, and if you decide the risks are too great, the right to refuse to help is absolute.
What you are implying is that bodily autonomy ought to be less important than saving someone’s life; that a fetus, or a human being, should be given the opportunity to live at the expense of other people’s bodily autonomy.
So put it into context. You have a kidney that’s a perfect match to someone in the hospital - let’s call him Fred - who will die in the next week if he doesn’t get it. For your own personal reasons, you do not wish to have your kidney removed. Your reasons aren’t material to this particular argument, but they can range anywhere from your phobia of hospitals to your allergy to most kinds of anesthesia, to a history of kidney disease in your family that may mean you will need that extra kidney one day or to the simple fact that you do not wish to give this kidney at this time. The point is: you do not consent.
If life is considered more important than bodily autonomy, then the law can force you to be taken to the hospital against your will, be sedated against your will, cut open against your will, and have your organ removed against your will. You may be tied down to the bed; you may be locked in a room and not allowed to leave until you agree to the operation. You may be shown tapes of Fred and his family over and over and over again. But however it happens, it happens without your continuous consent. This isn’t Fred’s fault - he doesn’t even know you exist, he has no idea that this is happening, and maybe he would be horrified if he knew and would ask them to stop. But it’s happening because life, in this universe, is more important than bodily autonomy. Namely, Fred’s life is more important than your bodily autonomy.
Now put yourself back in the world we live in - you still have that kidney that’s perfect for good ol’ Fred in the hospital who needs it within a week, otherwise he’ll die. If you refuse, for whatever reason, the result is that Fred does, in fact, die. But Fred has not been punished, Fred wasn’t given a death sentence. The decision you made had nothing to do with punishing Fred; it was about your health, your body, your life. Certainly people might be angry that you didn’t give Fred the kidney that he needed, but just because he needed it to survive did not mean he had a right to it that trumped yours. No matter what reason you had, your bodily autonomy was more important than his need.
Now, if you think that the world where life should be more important than bodily autonomy is the one we ought to live in, then we’re going to have to just agree to disagree, because I find that a fucking Orwellian nightmare of the highest order.
If, however, you agree that it’s better that we live in a world where someone else doesn’t get to make the decision about what happens to you based on the need of some third person, then I’d like to welcome you to the pro-choice movement, because congratulations - you’re pro-choice.
Good words. Important words.