The Overton Window Can Serve Progressives?

Well, yes.

I’ve told this story before, but I was involved in the planning, chant-writing, and sign-painting for a protest I did not actually get to attend. The protest involved a bill proposed by conservative jerkwad Kevin Mannix, one of many who have served in Oregon’s state legislature. The bill proposed that unmarried women who wished to receive artificial insemination in the state of Oregon be required to ask permission of the government before being able to legally proceed. Mannix was quite explicit in his rationale for the bill. State law made a married man equally responsible for the economic support and general well-being of a child of artificial insemination as it would a child via penis-in-vagina sex between that husband and that wife.

This was necessary because in divorce proceedings a child’s welfare needed no less attention merely because of being conceived through medically-assisted fertilization. The law solved a problem that had popped up in other jurisdictions in the early days of artificial insemination where a divorcing husband would claim that he never wanted the child and shouldn’t be held responsible. There was a trade off, however. If this law were to be applied fairly, then it would make sense that, as unlikely as abuse of the provision might be, the law ensured that the insemination was performed with the approval of the husband. So it was required that a doctor intending to perform such an insemination acquire and keep record of such a husband’s approval.

Mannix took an unusual lesson from these understandable legal facts: while married women have to ask their husbands’ permission to receive artificial insemination, single women don’t have to ask anyone.*1 That’s right, he gave an actual interview to an actual reporter in which he actually presented his argument as, “Well, women shouldn’t be able to do important things without asking permission.” If I had full access to the Oregonian archive, I’m sure I could even find the thing.

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