From yesterday’s post:
The right to have an active sex life unencumbered by unintended pregnancy is a healthcare issue, but it is so much more than that…
…I see it as a human rights issue, a civil rights issue. I mean it is the most fundamental human and civil right that exists….
What Is Wrong With This Argument?
So many things.
Let me choose just one, or I’ll be here for hours.
All rights are “human rights” (unless we’re talking about animal rights). But what does it mean to have the right to something?
We all have the right to freedom – to do whatever we want. The problem is, so does everyone else, and choices have consequences. So if we’re going to live together as a society, we have to prioritize. That’s really what “rights” means – rights mean priorities.
We prioritize certain things – like “life” (as in “the right to life”) because we don’t want to live in a world where someone could come along and kill us for no reason, and we recognize that in order to have that protection ourselves, we have to grant it to others – reciprocity is essential here, because rules like this have an all-or-nothing nature; if it’s not a universal rule, then it’s not really a rule at all. A rule that isn’t really a rule can be described with the phrase “might makes right” (emphasis mine):
“Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.”
— Thucydides, the Melian Dialogue
“I am stronger than you, therefore, I make all the rules.”
This very simple aphorism can be used by a character of virtually any level of intelligence. Usually they’re explicitly evil, usually. Bear in mind that anyone who espouses this belief will almost invariably be wrong- but usually the hero beats them by actually somehow being stronger than they are so, well, the Aesop is kind of broken.
Remember that physical strength is not necessarily the determinant here. Monetary wealth, political power, and just about any form of bullying can take the place of this.
Truth in Television for the vast majority of human history, including today. Fortunately for those of us living in Real Life, people who espouse this philosophy are not always explicitly evil; in fact, the whole idea of Knights In Shining Armor, True Warriors and \”Comes Great Responsibility\” is to espouse and encourage the virtuous use of power….[snip]…It’s also the least constructive of just about any of humanity’s problem-solving tools, which is why people are generally encouraged to settle conflicts with something other than their fists….
…When someone claims that XYZ is a “right”, they are saying that we have made an error in our prioritization, that the thing being claimed really deserves/ought to be acknowledged as a higher priority than it is – for instance, a black man’s right to do XYZ should be viewed as equally important to a white man’s right to do XYZ, because it is illogical to prioritize a white man’s freedom to keep a black man from doing XYZ. There’s no reason why the white man and the black man should not be equal under the law.
When someone says there is such a thing as the right to have sex without pregnancy, this is so nonsensical on its face (a right to engage in behaviors without experiencing the consequences is obviously not possible) that we know they are saying something else – in this case, that they have a right to do whatever it takes to avoid or end unwanted pregnancy, because sex is a “right” and not getting pregnant is a “right”.
Since nobody is disputing anyone’s right to access birth control, this must mean the abortion debate. But if that’s the case, the argument is either unnecessary or just plain wrong.
The reality of the abortion debate is that either the fetus is entitled to equality under the law or it is not. If the child is entitled to equality under the law, then the right to life must be prioritized over any right – real or fictitious – to not suffer the consequences of one’s own freely chosen actions.
Of course, if the child is not entitled to equality under the law, then the argument is irrelevant: you don’t need to explain or justify killing the fetus, because it has no rights.
Either way, the question of whether that fetus has rights or not can only logically be based on whether the child has rights. Under existing law, the child has no rights. This law is threatened by growing evidence suggesting that there really is no significant difference between a baby inside the womb and a baby outside the womb – thus it is arbitrary and unfair to deprive the child of equality before the law. If this viewpoint prevails, then arguing for some right to have sex without pregnancy is not going to ‘save’ the right to abortion, because even if we granted that there is such a right, it is not a more compelling, more fundamental, more urgent, or more just plain important priority than the right to life.
Rights are hierarchical
Notice my claim that “the right to life must be prioritized over…”
Rights are inherently hierarchical. If the right to not have an interruption in your postal service were equal to the right to life, we would not be able to answer the question of whether postal carriers ought to attempt delivery during life-threatening weather conditions (blizzards and so on).
The right to life is more important than the right to freedom
The right to freedom is more important than the right to not experience the consequences of the choices made in freedom
With rights come responsibilities.
There is and can be no right to have a right without the associated costs, obligations, or consequences.
…a lot of the underlying opposition to contraception comes from a worldview about sex, which says that it’s only for procreative purposes or primarily for procreative purposes….
…If you don’t have the security of your own body and ability to decide for yourself whether and when you’re going to be a parent you really don’t have the ability to determine anything else about your future.
If you don’t have the security of your own body – that is, the knowledge that you’re not going to be killed because someone else finds you inconvenient – you really don’t have a future.
Because it turns out that it’s biology, not man, that decreed sex = procreative.