“My body, my choice” is a dominating phrase in the battle over Texas’s controversial abortion law (and its potential challenge to Roe v. Wade) as well as the fight over COVID vaccine mandates and requirements.
Advocates of abortion rights (i.e. “pro choice” folks) have long used the “my body, my choice” phrase to press their rights to privacy and personal health decisions.
Those resistant to government and employer mandates for the coronavirus vaccine are also employing “my body,my choice” in their arguments against being compelled to get shots and to wear masks.
The dynamic creates some strange political bedfellows.
Both abortion foes and vaccine mandate advocates counter that their positions are about saving lives — whether it be the unborn or those vulnerable to COVID.
The ironic crossover use of the same phrase also shows how complicated both abortion rights and vaccine mandates are if we peel back the onion some despite our collective penchant to see both issues in stark contrasts from our collective corners.
We should be distrustful of dictums from the government (or others) that impact our personal choices and individual liberties regardless of how important a cause may be. Who do we really want in our personal, family and medical business should always be weighed against “the greater good.”
For “pro-life” folks, there should also be a focus on the compassion and love for women facing very tough life decisions.We have to acknowledge the societal, economic and cultural pressures we put on women on whether and when to have children. Those pressures come from all corners and are very systematic.
All the judgment and politics (from both sides) around abortion since the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade has contributed to the political and social divisions. We have to acknowledge the partisan politics and perpetual fundraising that have been born out of the abortion debate. Those should also give us pause.
Some of the same dynamics are at play in the vaccine mandate debate.
There is far too much shaming and chastising — including from the media and social media — when it comes to vaccines and the unvaccinated.
There are plenty of people who cannot get vaccines because of medical conditions. Others have religious and spiritual beliefs that impact their medical decisions. Not all of those who are unvaccinated are conservative Trump supporters.
Partisans and advocates on both sides point to the hypocrisies of employing “my body, my choice” for one issue but not the other. A friendly reminder that hypocrisy is a universal human affliction that applies to us all.
Let’s also remember that and remember to have compassion, mercy and love for our neighbors — even those who we disagree with politically and culturally. In the end, those may help us all value lives (all lives) and each other’s health and well-being more than our divisive politics and social shaming.