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The Autonomy Argument


An opinion piece  authored by Alexis Drutchas, M.D., entitled, "In America, Is Bodily Autonomy a Human Right?," she explores this issue from the framework of today's modern medical practice. This appeared in the online CNN Opinion on June 3rd.  In her article she links bodily autonomy "rights"  together with abortion, assisted suicide and gender change. Her argument is that we must do away with the "Paternalistic Medicine" of the past and subscribe to not  having moral judgements  interfere with certain decisions about bodily freedoms- like aid in dying, transgender health and reproductive rights. Laws that limit these rights are deemed oppressive and are influenced by politicians driven by "religious fundamentalist leaders." (in other words any one with those outdated orthodox Christian morality views) 

First of all what exactly does human autonomy mean? Autonomy is a compound Greek word consisting of two parts, auto which means self and nomy meaning law or rule. So human autonomy means being a law unto oneself. How does this work out in society today? " I feel the need for speed," as Tom Cruise put it in "Top Gun." How does that argument work out for you when a State Trooper pulls you over for going 120 mph on the turnpike? You will get a ticket, a fine and points on your driver's license. Go ahead, appeal that in traffic court and I'm sure the judge won't buy your argument either. It's quite obvious that society places restraints on autonomy, as well it should. We cannot all be a law unto ourselves or we would be living in chaos. As we become a more secularized society the moral restraints of the Christian World View  have been marginalized , kicked to the wayside and it is considered ignorance. That's why we are able to murder children in the womb at any time, will ourselves to be the opposite sex, redefine marriage to be whatever we want it to be, and take our own lives or others in the name of quality of life decisions. However, one thing we cannot change is another Greek word Ontology (reality). We cannot will our xx and xy chromosomes to change. We cannot change reality. Ontology trumps Autonomy, that is truth, period. The Christian Word View stems from the very first four words of Scripture, "In the beginning God.." It does not say, in the beginning man, I, we, they... this is reality that we cannot deny, God is  Sovereign, to do so is moral chaos. If we do, to quote another movie line by Tom Hanks, "Houston, we have a problem."

Dr. Drutchas is an attending Physician at The Massachusetts General Hospital in the palliative care division and a Public Voices Fellow of the OpEd Project. She has previously worked at Fenway Health, a nationally recognized LGBTQ+ health center in Boston and co-founded the Rhode Island Trans Health Conference. Her work has appeared in the Boston Globe, Boston Globe Magazine and Media. Click Here for Article 



Posted by Art Flickinger