It reads like an ethical dilemma from a philosophy textbook: A New York judge orders a heroin-addicted prostitute to stop reproducing, and ordered that she be provided with birth control.
Late last year, Judge Patricia Gallaher ordered the Rochester woman, called Brandy F. in court documents, to avoid having more children.
Obviously, from a non-partisan perspective there’s probably an uncomfortable feeling related to each element of the case.
For the pro-lifers, the government cannot dictate a woman’s reproduction.
For feminists, the government cannot dictate a woman’s reproduction.
From a constitutional perspective, there is a strong argument that the judge’s order violates the woman’s right to privacy, in largely the same line of thinking as proponents of Roe v. Wade.
But from a mere common sense perspective, a heroin-addict should not reproduce because the effect of drugs on pregnancy is simply catastrophic, especially seeing as she already has four developmentally challenged children.
It’s probable that, for the first time in history, the pro-life community, feminists, originalists and good old common-sense conservatives can agree on something.
Needless to say, like most real-life issues outside the security of the classroom, this is an exceptionally messy situation.
First off, Brandy F. should not be a prostitute, and sex should not be her source of income.
Secondly, she shouldn’t be a drug addict, which is probably why she is a prostitute in the first place.
Thirdly, she shouldn’t have kids while she is both a prostitute and a drug addict.
However, a judge simply cannot take away a woman’s free will and impose restrictions on what is her indisputable bodily autonomy.
In this case, three wrongs don’t make a right.
So then the question becomes: What are prudent, ethical people supposed to do in this situation?
The judge must be obedient to the constitution and protect Brandy F.’s right to privacy, so the order should be shot down in the court of appeals, as is likely to happen.
But we can easily reason that Brandy F. shouldn’t have kids. And, legally, she shouldn’t be a prostitute or a drug addict.
However, the laws restricting prostitution and drug use weren’t effective measures in preventing her actions. The judge’s order is likely to have the same effect.
All of this leads to one point: Brandy F. is the only one who can change Brandy F. As the saying goes, “God helps those who help themselves.”
The U.S. needs to return to its classical liberal roots and take ownership of its own condition, which is an individual action, not a national action.
U.S. culture, and Gallaher, need to release their dependency on the government at all levels.
Ironically, for a nation founded on “freedom,” citizens eagerly enslave themselves to the moral and intellectual shackles of government bureaucracy.
Americans, of both the right and left, are obsessed with politics and expect all levels of government to take responsibility for their problems.
If you hit a pothole: “Thanks, Obama.”
If there’s an issue overseas: “Why isn’t the government doing anything?”
If there’s an elementary school in an academic crisis: “Why isn’t the government giving them more money?”
The “thanks, Obama” culture has to stop if people like Brandy F. are to have opportunities to take any individual ownership of their lives.
That necessitates free will, which Gallagher just ordered her to forfeit.
However, Brandy F. lost her free will the moment she became a prostitute and drug addict as a result of a culture in which moral and religious individuals fail to be prudent, ethical leaders.
I often hear a startling joke, particularly aimed at Catholics, about social conservatives from the less-religious: “if a conservative found a condom full of cocaine, he’d be more offended by the condom.”
To put it mildly, social conservatives have an image problem.
If Christians are more offended by a judge ordering a woman to use birth control than a woman driven to prostitution to feed four kids, then I question how pro-life the pro-life community really is.