Thursday, July 08, 2004

A Response To My Abortion Post

from a friend in law school:

true - this idea is illustrated by, strangely enough, slavery and contract power. citizens of the united states have the power to contract and to own property. slaves, on the other hand, were not allowed to enter into contract and were not allowed to own property; they were the property of those who could (i.e. citizens). the power to contract is the ability to bind oneself to another - and by extension, this means that a citizen, effectively, owns himself: his body, his self, his entire being. thus, his body is his property.

i don't think i've seen this argument in very many places, and i don't even know where i got it. probably drifted into my psyche during constitutional law while i was half asleep. i think someone famous might have thought this up. i don't remember who it was if that is the case.

i think the idea of autonomy over your body is also somewhat illustrated in 4th amendment search and seizure cases. as a general rule, the police cannot forcibly excise evidence from someone's body, like making someone throw up or through surgery. i forget the other factors, but that came into mind. the police cannot search your house without a warrant, etc. it's like your body is somewhere the state cannot go, just like your property. yadda yadda. anyhow, this is a general illustration of the idea that one's body is private and the state can't go there.

of course there are the abortion line of cases, but i just wanted to point out other realms where this idea pokes its head out.

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