Thursday, September 14, 2017

My Body, My Choice, Why the Principle of Bodily Autonomy Can Unite the Left

The Nation (September 13, 2017): My Body, My Choice, Why the Principle of Bodily Autonomy Can Unite the Left, by David M. Perry:

An advocate for disability argues that the right to bodily autonomy can unite groups on the "left." In particular, he suggests that the struggle to defend body autonomy can bring reproductive rights and disability rights activists together.

Reproductive rights and disability rights are often seen as being in tension, but they don’t have to be. As recently argued by attorney and autistic activist Shain Neumeier, history shows us that allowing the government to exercise control over reproduction always goes badly for disabled people. This is most famous visible in the history of eugenic sterilization of disabled men and women in the United States, but continues in more subtle battles about whether disabled people should be allowed to have sex at all. Disability rights and reproductive rights find common ground over resisting governmental intrusion into individual reproductive decisions. The abstract principle of bodily autonomy unites rather than fragments.

Perry argues that body autonomy is a principle that resonates with other seemingly disparate movements as well and creates a place to "unite our struggles without erasing our differences."

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