Why Would You Want to Force Someone to Have a Kid? the Sane Person Asks

Why Would You Want to Force Someone to Have a Kid? the Sane Person Asks

Protests on July 13th, 2013, in Texas against anti-choice legislation. Photo By: Eric Imhof
Protests on July 13th, 2013, in Texas against anti-choice legislation. Photo By: Eric Imhof

“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others,” Thomas Jefferson wrote in his Notes on the State of Virginia, adding, “But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

Now, while it certainly does one no harm for her neighbor to simply assert this viewpoint or that, it does both pick her pocket and break her leg–or worse–when her neighbor’s views are dangerous delusions that are then enshrined in law.

Jefferson was indeed wrong; it does us all injury for our neighbors to claim any kind of moral authority because of an otherworldly being and his/hers/its direct and personal messages. The problem with such a thing is that one can’t challenge a claim that by definition is without falsifiable evidence, and therefore any act can be justified.

In the case of the recently passed anti-abortion legislation in Texas, we see firsthand the real goal of the devoutly religious: to not just be content with their apocryphal worldview, which is really a hatred of all living things including themselves, but to never rest until their hallucinations are made compulsory for everybody else–an especially pernicious and Puritanical way to both pick our pockets and break our legs (consider the average cost of raising a kid in America plus the mortality/infection rate of childbirth, just as two immediate examples).

When looking at the demands of either side (orange = anti-bill and blue = pro-bill, according to the colors of shirts worn by both groups protesting/gathering at the capitol over the past few weeks), it’s clear that one side wants to legislate their morality and the other side simply wants to prevent that. Do the orange people want the blue people to change their views on the morality of abortion? Do they want them to be forced to get an abortion against their will? No. (The fact that some orange people are also anti-abortion or at least want to limit abortions should prove the point.)

One side wants to coerce people into harmful, dangerous, and expensive situations (“injurious” enough?) because of claims that by definition cannot be substantiated. The other side wants to prevent that.

The issue is therefore not ideological but functional: Should a secular government have the power to enforce someone’s faith on someone else? If you answer yes, then you desire a theocracy. If you answer no, then you desire smaller government. The two options are not simultaneously possible.

 

Video from the protests at the Texas State Capitol last Saturday, July 13th, 2013 -- the night of the vote to pass or oppose proposed anti-choice legistlation.

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Follow Eric Imhof on his blog at Coming Soon: A Vast Desert or on his flickr site: here.