Arizona has officially become the first state in the nation to make thinking illegal. At least when it comes to abortion. Governor Jan Brewer has signed a new law that will make abortion illegal if it's being done based on the sex or race of a fetus.
Whoo boy. Where to begin with this one Arizona? Let's face it. Pro-choice or anti-choice, we can agree that the concept of sex-based or race-based abortions is bad. The first swings awfully close to China with its one-child policy and its preference for baby boys. The latter is a disturbing form of racism: what kind of woman is comfortable having sex with a man of another race but won't go so far as carrying his child because of said race?
But there's something in America called freedom of speech. And with it comes freedom of thought. With this law, Arizona is ignoring both.
Speech and thought aren't always pretty. They're not always agreeable. It's disturbing to think your next door neighbor may be a racist or misogynist. But our Constitution holds that he can be, and there's nothing you can do about it. Because once he gives up the freedom, you would have to give up yours to disagree with him.
We must protect the disagreeable to protect the agreeable. And so it is in the case of abortion.
Our Constitution has also been determined by the Supreme Court in the case of Roe v. Wade to protect a woman's right to choose what happens to her own body. She has the right to an abortion -- for whatever reason she determines necessary. It can be an awful trauma like rape. A terrible predicament like a broken condom and the utter inability to afford a baby right now. Or it can be because she is a racist moron who slept with a black man and can't bear to think of presenting her mixed race baby to her parents.
As they say, her body, her choice. That's the whole argument behind legal abortion, but Arizona wants to have it both ways. They'll pretend it's her choice. But it's really the government's. By moving in on two of those choices, Arizona isn't rooting out misogyny and racism. It's sneaking into a woman's mind and telling her that she can't think her own thoughts. It's putting into question a woman's motives for her own body. It's a dangerous precipice.
Because what comes next? It wasn't really rape because somewhere in the back of her mind her pleasure centers erupted and she actually felt something good? Or she doesn't deserve an abortion because at one time she thought she'd have a baby by 28, and here she is, 29 and trying to get rid of a fetus?
As long as a woman can legally get an abortion, the government has no business marching into her brain and asking her why. It's a legal abortion. Period.
What do you think of this law?
Image via Brian Hillegas/Flickr