Question and Answer, part two

Like last time, this is one question, and the answer that I gave. The question came in an email; the asker has been having pro-choice conversations at their place of work, and has been trying to explain to people who are generic-christians* how and why they feel choice is important.

As always, this is merely my opinion. I'm no advice columnist, but when someone asks me something interesting, I would have no problem getting their permission to share the exchange.

 So I just had an interesting conversation and it made me think of something:  Am I a hypocrite because I feel that things like a women's right to choose is hers and cannot be taken away, but I am for things such as seat belt laws and helmet laws?  My argument is that a woman choosing does not cost me anything as they pay for it all, whereas an idiot biker who cracks his head open because he wasn't wearing a helmet raises the cost of my insurance, so he is affecting me with his decisions.

Are you a hypocrite? No, I don't think so. Simply put you believe that a woman has bodily autonomy, while there is more to the argument, or idea, this is the basic starting point. The definition of bodily autonomy and your support thereof, is agreeing that no one can force any woman to use her body in a way she is unable, or unwilling, to use it. It's been described many times like this:

Imagine you woke up attacked to a world famous violinist. The doctors tell you that he needs to borrow your kidneys for a year, and then afterwards they will detach you, and everyone will be fine. See, he's got a weird disease, and can't take care of himself, because his kidneys have suddenly failed. But after using yours, they will have had time to heal up, and he will be all better. It might be inconvenient for you, and could be dangerous, might even kill you, but it must be done-- even though you don't want to-- because he's a world famous musician! Do this for the world!! (I saw it some where that I can't remember, but here's a link with the argument)

This idea, while horrifying, and maybe a little funny sounding, is very much like the anti-choice arguments for continuing a pregnancy: it's helpless, the foetus can't live without you! Without your body it will die! As the author above said, it would be nice of you to carry the pregnancy, but you don't have to do so. It's a choice, not a mandate.

Conversely, helmet laws, and seatbelts, are mandates-- a fancy way of saying "you have to do this, it's the law". I compare them to the EPA, and the Food and Drug Administration, or even the DoT-- we can't drive any fool way we choose, after all, we have to follow the so-called rules of the road. They provide a framework that protects everyone, and prevents harm. This can make some people angry, and if you need an example, take a look at the "raw milk wars"! But they also protect, make sure we're not eating industrial sludge, or constantly dodging people driving the wrong way up the highway.

If someone were to argue that it's wrong, and anti-choice, to force persons over the age of majority to wear seatbelts, or pay a fine, then I challenge them to eat meat that isn't butchered properly-- it's their choice! I say, if they want to go all choice, all the time, then they ought to never live in houses. Houses are governed by laws to protect-- like fire codes! They can never contact the police or fire fighter-- telephones are governed by laws to regulate and protect. Of course, no electricity, they might have to be protected from electrocution by shoddy and not up to code electrical work. While extreme, these examples are just a few of the ways that mandates protect everyone-- usually in ways we don't think about at all.

Finally, and this is the biggest argument against hypocrisy and for choice: if I cannot force someone to get yearly check-ups, eat properly, take their vitamins and exercise; if I can't veto viagra; if I am unable to force people to take blood pressure medication, or cholesterol meds, or even stop eating so much red meat; if I don't have input into whether or not their breast augmentation is allowable, or their cyst removal, or their appendectomy, or root canal, then why in the world would anyone be able to veto my medical decisions?!

Abortion is a medical procedure-- not a mandated protection device like a helmet. To say you don't support it, makes as much sense as the JW's and their anti-blood transfusion beliefs. We don't force them to have transfusions, so why can someone step in and prevent a termination? It's ridiculous to conflate the idea of protection from harm and surgery.

If you, yourself, believe that medical care and health choices are a collective idea-- then yes, you are a hypocrite when you agree to wear your seatbelt under pain of fine. If that is the case, then be certain to bring up every medical decision you have to make to your colleagues and friends, to get their opinions; take a poll, and then go with the majority opinion.

Any argument against choice that brings up such silly things as helmet laws shows that the anti-choicer has no idea how HIPPA or privacy really works. I'd recommend you tell them to read the Constitution again, and I am available to translate it into idiot for 20 bucks an hour, with appoints open starting Monday at 10am.

Does that help?

*Generic-Christians: my term. These persons are also known as "cafeteria Catholics" or "pick and choosers", the sorts of christians who rail against LGBT rights because Paul said it was icky, but live with their partners, do not get married, have children together, eat pork and expect everyone else to live according to the literal interpretation of Levitical law-- even whilst they don't. I despise people like this.


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