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“'My Body, My Choice': Legal Truth or Legal Fallacy!

Ramesh C. Reddy

Editors Note: The legal scenarios in the article are vignettes while the applicable law of Alabama is factual.

Imagine a courtroom looking to have you as an objective juror in a case where you hear all the evidence and have to decide on the merits of the case. You are not to let your rousing emotions cloud your judgment regardless of your political views. If you want to be that objective juror, this case is for you.

The case before us is ‘My Body, My Choice' vs 'Sanctity of Life!'

The issue before us is ‘Whether or not the popular slogan ‘My Body, My Choice’ is a legal truth or a legal fallacy?

If it is a legal truth, then ‘My Body, My Choice’ wins. If it is a legal fallacy, then ‘My Body, My Choice’ loses.

My job is to prove that ‘My Body, My Choice’ is a legal fallacy. The social media has already been trying to prove that ‘My Body, My Choice’ is a legal truth.

Your job is to hear the evidence and rule on the merits of the case if you plan to be objective.

If the evidence presented moves you in the direction of the slogan being a fallacy, you should rule for the sanctity of life stating, ‘We the jurors find the defendant ‘My Body, My Choice’ guilty on all counts ruling that ‘My Body, My Choice’ is a legal fallacy.

The defense wants you to believe since a woman’s body is hers, she should have a choice in deciding what happens to her body. They will further tell you that if a state interferes, her privacy rights are being infringed on. In essence, they want you to believe that a state has no right to decide what happens to a woman’s body or inside of it.

Ladies and gentleman of the jury, if you are honest, you will realize that emotionally this makes perfect sense: ‘My Body, My Choice’ but legally, it is utter nonsense!

Imagine looking at an Exhibit A video in the courtroom:

A pregnant woman is seen in a Closed-Circuit (CC) camera trying to kill herself and her baby with a knife thinking, ‘My Body, My Choice’.

However, she is stopped in the nick of time by an Alabama state trooper who grabs her knife and takes her to a hospital. It was revealed that this was not the first time she attempted suicide. The trooper later files for involuntary commitment of the woman.

Ladies and gentleman of the jury, you need to ask yourself, ‘Why did an officer of the state take her to the hospital and file for an involuntary commitment of the woman?

The officer was following judicial procedure that was met for the involuntary commitment of the woman:

Evidence that a person has actually been dangerous in the recent past and that such danger was manifested by an overt act, attempt or threat to do substantial harm to himself/[herself] or another; and

Treatment is available for the person's mental illness or confinement is necessary to prevent the person from causing substantial harm to himself/[herself] or to others;

According to 2006 Alabama Code – Section 22-52.10.8,

(a) If at the final hearing on a petition seeking to involuntarily commit a respondent, the probate judge finds, based on clear and convincing evidence, that the respondent meets the criteria for involuntary commitment, an order shall be entered for:

(1) Outpatient treatment; or (2) Inpatient treatment.

The least restrictive alternative necessary and available for the treatment of the respondent's mental illness shall be ordered.

The woman in the scenario would have been involuntarily committed based on Alabama law once the officer could have shown that she was a danger to herself and her baby.

Ladies and gentleman of the jury, it would not matter to the state no matter how much the woman or protestors in support of the woman protested outside the probate judge’s courthouse ‘My Body, My Choice’.

The state of Alabama had a vested interest in the sanctity of life to not only protect the woman but the baby inside the woman.

So, don’t ever let the defense make you believe ‘My Body, My Choice’ is a legal truth.

The body can belong to the person but the legal choice is not always for the person to make.

Ladies and gentleman of the jury, let us move on to Exhibit B:

Imagine looking at an Exhibit B video in the courtroom:

A pregnant woman is seen on a CC camera driving erratically and killing her unborn baby in an accident.

It is later revealed that her blood alcohol content was above the legal limit to drive. The state of Alabama charged the woman with 'Driving Under the Influence (DUI)' and negligent homicide.

The woman’s argument of it is ‘My Body, My Choice’ so I can drink and drive was thrown out the window by the judge who convicted her of a DUI but more than that she was also convicted of negligent homicide. 

Alabama prohibits anyone from driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more, or while under the influence of drugs, alcohol or any impairing substance—or combination thereof—to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving a vehicle.

A motorist can be convicted of negligent homicide for causing the death of another person while driving in a criminally negligent manner. A person acts with criminal negligence by unknowingly doing or failing to do something that creates a substantial and unjustifiable risk to others. The risk must be of such nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would use in like circumstances.

Ala. Code § 13A-6-1 (2006) defines "person," for the purpose of criminal homicide or assaults, to include an unborn child in utero at any stage of development, regardless of viability and specifies that nothing in the act shall make it a crime to perform or obtain an abortion that is otherwise legal.

Ladies and gentleman of the jury, based on Exhibit B, it has been proven to show, ‘My Body, My Choice’ is a fallacy. The woman has a choice with her body but it does not mean she can do whatever she wants without consequences.

The body was the woman’s but the legal choice was not hers to do with it what she wanted. In this scenario, to drive under the influence and unknowingly kill her unborn had serious repercussions for violating Alabama law.

Ladies and gentleman of the jury, let us move to Exhibit C now.

Imagine looking at an Exhibit C video in the courtroom:

A pregnant woman is arrested in Alabama for prostitution.

The pregnant woman argues ‘My Body, My Choice’ so the state of Alabama has no right to arrest her. She even has protestors holding signs in support of her. The judge convicts her based on Alabama law:

(a) No person shall commit an act of prostitution as defined in Section 13A-12-120 .

Not only that but child custody proceedings take place for the unborn child.

Alabama criteria for unfit parent: A parent may be deemed unfit if they have been abusive, neglected, or failed to provide proper care for the child. Evidence of parental unfitness toward one child may be grounds for terminating the parental rights to other children even though the parent never abused or neglected those children.

Ladies and gentleman of the jury, based on Exhibit C, it has been proven to show, ‘My Body, My Choice’ is a legal fallacy no matter how much women and men want to believe it emotionally.

Ladies and gentleman of the jury, let us move to Exhibit D now.

A pregnant minor in Alabama decides to harm herself and her baby thinking, ‘My Body, My Choice’ but her parents are held responsible.

The minor’s argument that it is ‘My Body, My Choice’ had no merit in front of the judge and caused not only criminal proceedings against her parents because they had a duty to care but also child custody proceedings.

The Code of Alabama section 6-5-380 can be used to hold a parent, legal guardian, or other person liable for certain acts taken by a minor (a “minor” being a person who is under 18 years of age) when:

  • the person has “care or control” of the minor

  • the minor is living with the person, and

  • the person has custody of the minor.

Ladies and gentleman of the jury, it has been shown to you in 4 exhibits that ‘My Body, My Choice’ can sound emotionally correct but when it comes to the states interest to protect another human being, it is a legal fallacy.

We have looked at an attempted suicide of a pregnant woman, a pregnant woman engaging in a DUI, a pregnant woman arrested for prostitution, and a pregnant minor’s actions causing her parents trouble.

In all these instances, the defense of ‘My Body, My Choice’ by the women became a legal fallacy because the state of Alabama had a vested interest in using it’s laws to protect it’s citizens instead of leaving it to the woman to do what they want with their bodies.

No matter how emotionally, you are invested in this issue of ‘My Body, My Choice’, you have to vote for it’s fallacy from a legal perspective.

When you vote for it’s fallacy, you will be reminding woman around the world that ‘My Body, My Choice’ does not give any woman the right to take life or do whatever they want with their body. The state has a vested interest in protecting it’s citizens. Yes, every woman in these scenarios made a choice with their bodies but those choices had consequences for themselves and even others.

Ladies and gentleman of the jury, I ask you to ask yourself again whether or not ‘My Body, My Choice’ is a legal truth or a legal fallacy?

The defense wants you to go by emotion and rule that ‘My Body, My Choice’ is a legal truth. But, please do not rule that way.

Imagine you were the state of Alabama trying to protect the suicidal pregnant woman, charging the pregnant woman of a DUI and negligent homicide, arresting the woman for prostitution taking her parental rights away, and holding the parents responsible for the minor who tried to harm her unborn child.

You did it because you believe it is their body but it was not their choice to act upon without consequences.

So, you can only come out with one verdict: We the jury find ‘My Body, My Choice’ to be a legal fallacy. Your ruling will ensure that the pro-choice movement and pro-abortion movement do not have a leg to stand on.

It is so easy to say, 'My Body, My Choice'. It can even be acted upon because we do have a choice what we do with our body but choices have consequences. A life inside the woman's body should not suffer because the woman decides to make the wrong choice.

You the readers are the jurors in this case. Whether you are a Pro-life juror or pro-choice juror, please don’t rule based on your emotions but based on the law with only one ruling: ‘My Body, My Choice’ is a legal fallacy.

"Reddy's Right Rhetoric takes you into the world of law asking you to decide whether 'My Body, My Choice' is a legal Truth or legal fallacy!"

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