“My Body, My Choice”: Pro-Choice & Anti-Vaccine Analogy




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In a clever bit of rhetoric, people opposed to COVID fighting mandates have been using pro-choice terminology. For example, a person opposed to getting the vaccine might assert “my body, my choice.” This phrase is, of course, a standard part of pro-choice language. While some people are no doubt engaged in bad faith rhetoric or trolling, the analogy between abortion rights and the right to refuse vaccination is worth considering. Those who read my previous essay can skip the discussion of the argument by analogy.
An argument by analogy will typically have two premises and a conclusion. The first premise establishes the analogy by showing that the things (X and Y) in question are similar in certain respects (properties P, Q, R, etc.).  The second premise establishes that X has an additional quality, Z. The conclusion asserts that Y has property or feature Z as well. The form of the argument looks like this:

Premise 1: X and Y have properties P, Q, R.
Premise 2: X has property Z.
Conclusion: Y has property Z.

X and Y are variables that stand for whatever is being compared, such as chimpanzees and humans or apples and oranges. P, Q, R, and are also variables, but they stand for properties or features that X and Y are known to possess, such as having a heart. Z is also a variable, and it stands for the property or feature that X is known to possess. The use of P, Q, and R is just for the sake of the illustration-the things being compared might have more properties in common.
One simplified way to present the anti-vaccine (or pro-vaccine choice) analogy is as follows:

Premise 1: The right to choose an abortion is analogous to the right to choose to not be vaccinated.
Premise 2: The right to choose an abortion is supported by the left.
Conclusion: The right to choose to not be vaccinated should also be supported by the left.

While this analogy seems appealing to many anti-mask mandate folks, a key issue is whether it is a strong argument. The. . .

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News source: A Philosopher’s Blog