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by Alan Shlemon
The slogan made a compelling point: “No part of a man’s body is regulated by politicians. Equality cannot exist until the same is true of a woman’s body.” They’re right in a sense. The government doesn’t regulate a man’s body. It can’t force him to tattoo his back, ingest a certain food, or amputate his arm. Why should the government regulate a woman’s body, specifically her reproductive organs, and demand her to continue a pregnancy against her will?
Though this reasoning seems correct, there are three missteps in thinking that radically alter the conclusion.
1. The government shouldn’t regulate your body, but it should regulate what you do with your body. I agree that politicians should stay out of the private affairs of law-abiding citizens. The government has no business forcing people to do—or not do—things to their body. What the government can do, though, is regulate what people do with their bodies. For example, we have laws against using your body to assault another person. The government, in this case, is regulating a part of your body—your fists. We also have laws preventing you from killing another innocent person, thereby regulating your body another way. In both of these examples, you’ll notice we find it reasonable for the government to regulate what you do with your body in a particular instance: whenever you use it to harm another person. That brings us to the next point…
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