Post edited 5:56 pm – February 13, 2012 by darkknight4302
"My body My Choice" is an illogical argument because it presumes that the government has no authority or alternatively should have no authority to dictate to its citizens what they may or may not do with their bodies.
Obviously assuming that the government does not or should not have the authority to dictate to its citizens what they may do with their bodies is problematic at best. If the government cannot tell a citizen what to do with his or her body then it may not prohibit a citizen from using his or her body to deliberately kill another person. Nor may it prohibit a citizen from using his or her body to commit a rape or other assualt or battery.
The fact is the government tells us what we can and cannot do with our bodies every day. This is the essence of how our system of laws is intended to work and the very purpose for which we have laws.
A pro choice activist might respond by refining the "my body my choice" argument to assume only that the government may not dictate to us what we may do with our own bodies so long as it is not violative of some other person's rights. Ignoring for the moment any arguments regarding the rights of the fetus being aborted lets analyze the first part of the argument regarding a person's rights regarding his or her own body. Currently there are state and federal laws prohibiting people from trafficking in human organs, even if the organs being trafficked came from the trafficker's own body. Currently to the best of my knowlege laws banning human organ trafficking are constitutional.
Many states also have laws outlawing suicide and even if state law does not consider suicide a crime attempting suicide will almost certainly get you confined in a mental institution on the grounds that you are a danger to yourself. Again while there has been much litigation on the subject of the so-called right to die state laws allowing suicidal persons to be confined to mental hospitals have never been held unconstitutional.
Yet another example of laws which restrict the use of one's own body independant of activities that infringe on the rights of others are vice crimes. Prostitution has been illegal for centuries. By definition a law banning prostitution restricts citizens from using their bodies in a way which is not violative of the rights of others. Prostitution merely involves selling ones body for sexual purposes. Provided there is no slavery aspect involved it is not violative of anyones rights other than those of the prostitute and the john.
Laws banning drug abuse are yet another example. When one abuses any substance he or she is merely engaging in self injurious behavior. Any predicate crimes that result from drug abuse could be seperately punished without the necessity of banning the act of substance abuse.
Vice crimes and laws banning drug abuse act for the primary purpose of protecting individuals from self harm and to a lesser extent for the purpose of preventing other predicate harms that can arise from the primary self abusive act. Again the courts have upheld the constitutionality of vice crimes and drug abuse prevention laws.
Moreover the majority of America accepts that laws banning human organ trafficking, suicide, drug abuse and prostitution are valid exercises of state and federal authority. All of these laws directly control how we may use our bodies.
In order to have an effective legal system, both criminal and civil, the government must have the authority to restrict what its citizens do with their bodies. otherwise any law could be challeged as unconstitutional since by definition a law that restricts or requires any behavior is one which dictates what the citizen may do with his or her body.
Even if we were to adopt a constitutional rule barring the criminalization or civil restriction of behavior that does not directly interefere with someone else's rights such a legal rule would undoubtedly prove problemantic since it would severely impede government's ability to deal with persons who are mentally incompitent and a threat to themselves.
Moreover such a policy would also make outlawing negligent behavior which has not yet caused harm a problem. Thus laws such as speed limits could be overturned under a constitutional law requiring a showing of a direct interference with someone else's rights. Courts have traditionally held that negligence only interferes with the rights of others when it causes measurable harm to others. (See any legal treatise on Torts law.) Thus a speeding law could be invalidated on the grounds that speeding itself does not interfere with the rights of persons other than the driver.
While it is certainly arguable as to whether or not laws designed to protect adults from self injurious behavior are a valid use of the criminal law there is and should be no constitutional restriction on the passage of such laws. The line between behavior that is purely self injurious and behavior which is primarily self injurious but could endanger others is too blurry for a bright line rule such as that advocated by "my body my choice".
Yet somehow many people blindly accept the "my body my choice" argument in favor of abortion. This argument is a falicy when one stops to really study American laws. Our legal system has a long history of restricting what we may do with our bodies even when a given behavior is largely self injurious. I am not arguing as to whether or not laws preventing self injurious behavior make good policy but I am arguing that it is falacious to state as a basic premise that the government may not dictate to a citizen what he or she may or may not do with his or her body. In fact the government does so all the time. Thus the pro choice lobby should really come up with a better argument than "my body my choice".