Letter: Personal autonomy is not absolute
"I think most of us can agree that our society does not deem personal autonomy to be absolute," writes Andrew Alexis Varvel from Bismarck. "The question should be how abortion should be regulated in North Dakota in a manner that would best maintain our social fabric."
There is much that has been puzzling about the recent hue and cry from pro-choice activists in North Dakota.
It is puzzling that there has been no petition to repeal North Dakota Century Code 12.1-31-12 — trigger language which outlaws abortion in this state. The very fact that such an initiated measure has not been circulating will be perceived as a sign of weakness by pro-lifers.
Activists talk about personal autonomy. Fair enough. Once men turn eighteen, they must register for Selective Service, a prelude to a potential draft. Women do not presently suffer from this infringement upon their personal autonomy. Should there be some equivalent of Selective Service for women?
If personal autonomy were absolute, North Dakotans would have the right to use any drugs they want so long as it does not inflict harm upon others. If personal autonomy were absolute, plural marriage among consenting adults would be just as legal as any other marriage. If personal autonomy were absolute, temporary marriage would be legal in North Dakota.
If personal autonomy were absolute, sex work would be legal in North Dakota, with sex workers themselves responsible for regulating their own industry just as attorneys elect their own officials in a bar association to police themselves.
I think most of us can agree that our society does not deem personal autonomy to be absolute. The question should be how abortion should be regulated in North Dakota in a manner that would best maintain our social fabric.
Andrew Alexis Varvel is a resident of Bismarck.
This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.