In the movie Lincoln, the audience gets to view a historically accurate drama depicting how President Lincoln and the Radical Republicans passed the 13th Amendment in the House of Representatives and on its way to its eventual ratification by all the states. Republicans controlled a super-majority in the Senate, so passing the Amendment was a piece of cake. But they did not own a super-majority in the House, so they had to use some less than legal methods to get Democratic votes. Though these tactics gained them votes, they needed to make sure not to scare the Democrats away by appearing too radical. Because of this, during the debates, Lincon himself encouraged radical Republican Thaddeus Stevens to appear more moderate in order to appeal to the Democrats.
Earlier this month, Alabama and Georgia both passed controversial anti-abortion legislation. The “heartbeat laws”, which outlaw abortion once the fetus has a heartbeat. In the wake of such, pro-choice women have been lighting up social media. Notably, false reports that the Alabama heartbeat law would prosecute women for miscarriages made the rounds on the news cycle. The bill would only pull a woman into an investigation if there was suspicion someone else had performed an abortion on her. This bit of misinformation contributes to media fear mongering, and somewhat humorously, some Twitter users calling for a “Sex Strike.”
Recently, several states have furthered bills that restrict abortions. Most notably, the Alabama law has garnered significant attention; 25 white male Republicans who voted for the bill have seen severe backlash from millions of Americans who believe men should not legislate women’s bodies, that women should have bodily autonomy. For what it’s worth, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, who signed the bill into law, is a woman. But that shouldn’t be worth very much.
Without a doubt, this law is a disappointing step backward in the quest for bodily autonomy. However, I fear that many who make the argument for bodily autonomy do not truly believe in the ideal. Violations of it permeate our society to its very core, but in most cases, they receive little to no attention.
Missouri’s Republican state Senate passed a bill banning abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy. This includes cases of rape or incest, similar to the recently-passed Georgia abortion ban. The bill is not yet law, still requiring approval from the House and Governor. It is likely the bill will pass, as the House and Governorship are controlled by Republicans. This would make Missouri the eighth state to pass a comprehensive bill on abortion in the past few weeks.
Warren Albrecht | United States
I believe a good discussion may start in negative and positive rights. A negative right does not enforce the duty on someone else. Duty is usually thought of as an entitlement. A positive right has an entitlement owed. Everybody has a negative right to engage in commerce or trade. But everyone does not have the positive right to impose a duty or force someone else to engage in commerce with you and trade with you.
This is where most libertarians discuss the benefit of free trade. It must be consensual. People in free trade have a contract. I give you three apples and you give me a rope. To have a positive right, someone must have a duty to fulfill for you. The example most widely discussed is the public defender. If you do not have an attorney, one will be provided for you. This means it imposes a duty on someone else to provide and pay for that attorney. The universal agreement is required for a positive right.