elle4life: (bench)
Elle ([personal profile] elle4life) wrote2011-06-23 09:55 am

Things That Are Making Abortion Debates Like Merry-Go-Rounds, Part the Third

No, I haven't forgotten about this blog. However, real life intervened for a while and when I was able to come back, I felt like going back to a thread that was so old and likely dead would be a bit counterproductive, so I wanted to wait for something more current.

And thankfully, something did just happen on the same community (which is still really image-heavy) as the previous posts came from last night which touches exactly the next point that I want to make next in this little series.

1. The average abortion supporter either does not understand basic biology or does not understand its significance to the abortion debate.

2. The pro-choice strawmen have been held up for so long they are now simply assumed and no longer recognized as strawmen at all.

3. The average abortion supporter does not understand how basic rights work.

This one is semi-related to my post on "The Abortion Provider's Declaration of Rights." And the short version is, basic rights to not work the way abortion apologists think they do. I'm going to quote what I said in that entry about rights before going on, because it's about to be relevant.

There are two kinds of rights. Natural Rights, also called Basic Rights or Human Rights, and Legal Rights, or what I call Positive Rights since they are granted to you on top of your Natural Rights as a “plus.” Natural Rights are rights people have simply because they are people. We have them as soon as we start existing, as part of a “Welcome to Humanity. Here’s your starter kit!” kind of thing. Positive Rights are rights a government grants to its citizens. The government defines what these rights are and where they stop.

That being said, running into these quotes on a thread where someone said they thought Adam Baldwin was sexy for being conservative makes for a slightly more interesting debate.

"I loved him on Firefly, but not only is he a conservative, he actually got in a fight with a friend of mine over abortion rights on Twitter. What a complete jackass. So disappointing." - 13chapters

"Yeah, a guy who thinks women shouldn't have agency over their body..." - anon

In both cases, it is assumed that abortion is a right. That it is something that women ought to have access to simply because they are women. And the anon quote states why: so that women can control their own bodies. This is, in essence, the Bodily Autonomy Argument which is--to be frank--the only argument for abortion that is even somewhat cogent and logical. It runs roughly like this, "Every human being has the basic right to determine what happens to their own body. Therefore, no other human being may, for any reason whether deliberate or accidental, do anything to anyone's body without that person's consent." Here dwell sick violin players and baby seeds.

This argument has two strong points. One, you aren't going to find a lot of people who don't agree that bodily autonomy is generally a right, including me (hang on, because this will make sense in a moment). Two, it assumes that the unborn are people and are generally valuable. They're simply in a position where their rights are subordinate.

It also has two weak points. One, it assumes that bodily autonomy is absolute, which it is not. Two, it assumes the rights of the unborn are subordinate automatically.

Both of the strong and the weak points are addressed when you look at how to resolve a conflict of basic rights. Because, unsurprisingly, even rights that are not positive do occasionally come into conflict with each other. So what do you do when one right, a basic right that everyone has because they are intrinsically human, conflicts with another of the same sort of right? They are both essential rights that ought to be respected, so how do you choose? Fortunately, abortion is not the only situation where such a conflict comes up, so we are not given the difficult task of pioneering this particular moral morass. The answer is, the right that is more fundamental takes precedence, which is the right to life.

But wait! Wasn't that a leap? you say. You can't just arbitrarily declare which right is more fundamental, Elle! And you're right that I can't, but I haven't done so. Abortion is not the only situation where the right to live and the right to bodily autonomy come into conflict. They do so every day in airports across the globe.

For starters, the pat down will last anywhere from 2-4 minutes, much longer than a standard metal detector scan or traditional pat down. During these long, awkward minutes, the airline attendee may search any area where a bomb might be lurking: armpits, underneath bras, in the groin area, even underneath fat folds (you may want to hold off on the candied yams and extra eggnog this year). Also, if you set off the metal detector, you might be subjected to the pat down search even if you were not selected for the initial scan. Be aware that the search will likely occur in front of other passengers.

TSA’s justification for such an intimate experience is that they are not just looking for hand-held weapons, but for bombs and explosives, and so they need to be very thorough. TSA has enforced a few particulars in attempts to make the security search less harrowing. The search can only be conducted by an employee of the same gender as the passenger, and any touching must take place on the outside of the clothing. There are modified pat down procedures for children.

~ Jay Rivera on LawBlog

And that's just the US. Some places in the world are even more invasive. In general, when your use of your body presents a material and clear threat to the right of other people to live (not even, necessarily, an actual threat, since the reasonable suspicion of a potential one is sometimes enough to trigger a search) the right of bodily autonomy is considered subordinate to the right to live.

(This is a very brief objection to the major point of the argument. It does go further and I may later spend some time on it, but this will do for the moment. For more coverage on the subject, I recommend listening to LifeReport episodes 106 and 107, which cover this argument.)

It's important to point out that the right to life is arguably the most fundamental right a human being has, and any argument that asserts it has been waived or is set aside for any reason does so on the basis that this setting aside has been through voluntary action of the person being killed. Press-ganging aside, a soldier in a war isn't there by accident, for example. Killing in self-defense is morally justified because the attacker deliberately created the situation that required the defender to defend themselves. And even under those circumstances, such setting aside is never considered absolute. War crimes are defined situations where, even in a situation where death is everywhere, some actions that result in death or harm are still wrong. The use of lethal force in self-defense is not permissible in every single circumstance.

The unborn cannot do any action that would voluntarily create any analogous situation. It's literally impossible for them. Bodily Autonomy does not trump Life.
kribban: (Default)

[personal profile] kribban 2012-01-25 09:49 am (UTC)(link)
I've subscribed to this journal and I hope you write more. I really like your writing and find it interesting to see someone talk about the life issue from a fandom POV.