So over in the Men’s Rights subreddit, some of the regulars have declared war on the meme above, attempting to “rebut” it by pointing out the many ways in which men’s bodies are regulated by the state.
Trouble is, they don’t seem to quite grasp what it means to have one’s body regulated by the state.
Their examples of laws regulating men’s bodies include conscription (which does not actually exist in the United States), sodomy laws (which, where they still exist, are no longer enforced), men not having their condoms paid for by insurance, and assorted laws that apply to both men and women, including “every time a man is precluded from smoking marijuana, taking ecstasy, or injecting himself with anabolic steroids for bodybuilding purposes.”
My favorite example, cited by numerous commenters, is alimony.
How exactly is alimony a restriction on men’s bodies? Well, according to the Men’s Rightsers, it’s a restriction on
One commenter spelled out the, er, “logic” in more detail:
Never mind that alimony, which is rarely awarded, can also go to men. And never mind that by this logic, every single law that’s ever been passed, including laws against embezzlement and jaywalking, could be considered a restriction on someone’s body. Hell, by this standard, parking tickets are an assault on your body because you have to earn the money to pay them.
Then there’s one dude who contends that women’s
“reproductive rights…” have never been limited. They can fuck out an endless supply of babies without a single hindrance. Hell, men are obligated to pay for each and every one of them.
Huh. So women “fuck out babies” with no help from anyone else?
I’m thinking that this fellow might need a refresher course in basic human biology
Also, I’m pretty sure that women as well as men are obligated to shell out money to provide for their own children. I don’t see a lot of young mothers getting showered with free food and diapers when they go to the grocery store.
To their credit, the regulars in Men’s Rights didn’t reward this last fellow with any upvotes.
Interestingly, none of the commenters bothered to track down the source of the claim in the meme. It’s not hard to find. It came from a report by the Guttmacher Institute documenting the number of bills regulating “reproductive health and rights” that were introduced in state legislatures in the first quarter of 2013. That’s right: there were 694 — not 624 — bills introduced in the first quarter of 2013 alone; 93 of them passed.
By the end of the year, as the Guttmacher Institute noted in a later report:
39 states enacted 141 provisions related to reproductive health and rights. Half of these new provisions, 70 in 22 states, sought to restrict access to abortion services. …
This makes 2013 second only to 2011 in the number of new abortion restrictions enacted in a single year. To put recent trends in even sharper relief, 205 abortion restrictions were enacted over the past three years (2011–2013), but just 189 were enacted during the entire previous decade (2001–2010).
This legislative onslaught has dramatically changed the landscape for women needing abortion. … In 2000, 13 states had at least four types of major abortion restrictions and so were considered hostile to abortion rights … 27 states fell into this category by 2013. … The proportion of women living in restrictive states went from 31% to 56% … .
While the overwhelming majority of these new laws restricted reproductive health and rights, there were a few states that bucked the trends:
In sharp contrast to this barrage of abortion restrictions, a handful of states adopted measures designed to expand access to reproductive health services. Most notably, California enacted the first new state law in more than seven years designed to expand access to abortion, and five states adopted measures to expand access to comprehensive sex education, facilitate access to emergency contraception for women who have been sexually assaulted and enable patients’ partners to obtain STI treatment.
You can read the details here. Somehow I doubt that any Men’s Rights Redditors ever will.