Why the “bodily autonomy” argument works against vaccine mandates but not for abortion

Years ago, then-Charles Clymer faced a mountain of allegations of aggressively hostile, tormenting, misogynistic, and even predatory conduct towards women. He was banished from one feminist blog for his conduct, and seemed to be on a collision course with the burgeoning #MeToo movement that he had, ironically enough, played a part in starting.

Suddenly, the leftist political operative announced he was transitioning to become a woman himself, thus escaping any sexism accusation by escaping to a new sex. And now? Now Charlotte Clymer is a writer and online activist for left-wing political causes, churning out pellets of wisdom like this:

In case you're curious, no, I don't believe it even dawns on Clymer that he's indicting himself for the very same offense with his tweet. The point of Clymer's post is to criticize the Supreme Court's decision to halt Joe Biden's federally mandated vaccine-or-testing rule for large employers. Meaning, he wanted the government to "control another person's body and health care choices."

Meanwhile, though as a biological male Clymer cannot bear children, he nevertheless feels passionately about the "my body, my choice" mantra of the abortion-on-demand movement. To a self-aware, critical thinker, this would be what the kids consider a "self-own."

But when dealing with issues like bodily autonomy, healthcare, government intrusion, and matters of life and death, this might be worth digging into a little deeper than just that.

From all indications, Clymer seems like an intelligent individual, which means he should be capable of thinking through the shortcomings of his own assessment. What undergirds the "conservative" belief that the act of abortion should be illegal is not, fundamentally, the perspective that government has a right to control the personal health decisions of an individual. If it was, Clymer's indictment of the Court's conservatives would be defensible.

But with as much as conservatism respects both the principles of individual autonomy and limited government, it also acknowledges that the proper role of government is to prevent human activity that represents an imminent threat to another person's life, liberty, or property.

So while it may be true that there is a temporary tension felt by conservative acquiescence to government "interfering with the medical decisions made by a woman and her doctor," it is quickly placated when the decision in question would intentionally deprive another separate, distinct human being of their right to live.

There's a second human involved, and it is the protection of that more vulnerable human that conservatives feel justifies government involvement, not some secret fetish for fascist authoritarianism. Obviously, in the case of government compelling a person to get a vaccine, the consequences of that decision affect the life of the one making the decision, not a third party. That's the distinction.

Clymer, and anyone for that matter, is free to disagree. To do so would rely on positing one of two equally troubling views, however.

  1. That it doesn't matter there is a distinctly separate human being about to be killed, government cannot interfere with any private medical decision, even if those decisions result in the death of a 3rd party.
  2. That a distinctly separate human being is not involved in the case of abortion decisions.

Perhaps Clymer could articulate which of those two positions he would like to defend. Until he does, and until he can offer some morally reasonable justification for it, maybe it's time to stop feigning such ironic outrage at Supreme Court rulings?

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Not the Bee or any of its affiliates.

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