Have You Actually Read North Carolina’s Controversial Bathroom Law? Before You Get Mad, You Should

I’ve never heard so much talk about transgendered people in all my life. Although people say that we don’t know the actual number of transgendered people in American, generally the number is estimated at 700,000, or 0.3% of the US population. Like most Americans, I have met very few transgendered people in my life.

Lately everyone is talking about them because of bathrooms. Or, more to the point, which bathroom someone who has body parts of one sex should use if they identify as a member of the opposite sex. Things seem to have come to a head with North Carolina’s HB2 law. This law has caused businesses to pull out of the state. A few musicians are cancelling their concerts there. At least one movie won’t be released in North Carolina. And now presidential candidates are taking sides.

Depending on who you ask, the law is one of two things: It’s either a simple bill that prevents people born of one gender from being able to use the bathroom of another gender, or its a nefarious plot to stop all anti discrimination laws in the state and foster an environment of discrimination for LGBT people. There are lots of article on both sides. The right sees NC as a champion of conservative values. The left sees the law as a direct attack on LGBT people. There are a lot of opinions floating around out there.

But not a lot of people have actually read the law. Here’s a link to the text of the law. It’s 5 pages. If you’re concerned, you should read it.

Here’s the break down:

Title: Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act
Preamble: Says they have the authority and responsibility to enact laws like this.
Part 1: Describes in detail who can and cannot go into bathrooms and locker rooms.
Part 2: Some pork that doesn’t have much to do with the subject. Basically, the state government says they regulate labor in the state, and their rules supersede any local ones.
Part 3: I think this is the one that gives opponents the most concern. NC says that the state level discrimination laws supercede any and all laws at the local level. Ordinances and laws imposed in a city cannot be in conflict with NC state law. Goes on to reiterate ideas in Part 1 and lays out who will deal with complaints.
Part 4 & 5: Severability and date of enforcement.

That’s it.

So, some history. Charlotte’s city council had voted to approve a transgender bathroom ordinance. The state government quickly adopted HB2 to stop that ordinance from going into effect, and say that the state government has authority over these laws.

No hidden agenda. Just making it impossible for Charlotte or any NC city to pass laws allowing people who are biologically one sex into bathrooms or locker rooms for the opposite sex. And saying that this sort of decision is one that should be made at the state level.

The left says it’s discriminating against transgendered people. The right says it’s protecting people from those who would abuse the system. The left says that’s crazy, what’s the chances of that actually happening?

There’s actually a better even chance that the man in my daughter’s bathroom is a sex offender, not transgendered.

Remember, there are 700,000 transgendered people in America. As of 2015, there were over 843,000 registered sex offenders in the US. Just like LGBT people, there are many sex offenders we don’t know about. (No, I’m not equating being gay with being a sex offender, just acknowledging that there are people who belong to both groups but are not represented in these numbers.) From what we do know, there are more sex offenders than transgendered people. It’s actually more likely that the man in the women’s bathroom is a criminal than a man identifying as a woman. Because the number both groups is so small, it’s also not very likely anyone in my family will ever see someone of the opposite sex in their bathroom.

Which brings us to Part 3. The state government supersedes all local authority on this issue.

I know, right? How dare the state government believe it has authority over cities inside the state? And that laws it passes should take precedence over local ordinances?

I remember a few months ago something similar, on a federal level. An event where a federal branch of government enacted a law that superseded all state level laws. And now same sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. Of course the difference here is that the NC legislature is actually tasked with writing laws, while the US Supreme Court is not.

But fret not, members of the Left. There are avenues you can travel toward righting what you consider a terrible wrong. Unlike the “law” created by the Supreme Court regarding marriage, the people of North Carolina have a recourse to change HB2, if they wish to. They can vote out their officials and vote in people who will repeal it. If the people of NC want anti discrimination laws related to sexual identity and behavior, they can elect people who will pass those laws at the state level.

That’s how representative government works.

Pro Life Review of 5 Common Abortion Arguments

This is a series on some of the arguments for legalized abortion from a pro life view point:

Abortion Argument 1: If abortions are illegal, we will have women dying from back alley abortions.

Abortion Argument 2: If you are so Pro Life, why don’t you care about the kids who are born into families who don’t want them?

Abortion Argument 3: It’s my body, my choice! The life of the mother is more important than the potential life of a fetus.

Abortion Argument 4: It’s not really a child. It’s not human yet, just a bunch of cells/tissue.

Abortion Argument 5: If you defund/close down Planned Parenthood, where will women get health services?

The 5th one is not specifically about abortion, but it is an issue that has been in the news lately. If you believe that human life has intrinsic value, and it begins at conception, then all of these arguments fall flat when examined from a pro life viewpoint.

A Pro Life Look at Arguments for Abortion 4

I’m doing a few posts about some of the arguments for legalized abortion from a pro life view point. I want to really look at them, and try to explain why they are not persuasive for someone who supports making abortion illegal.

Other posts in this series:

Abortion Argument 1: If abortions are illegal, we will have women dying from back alley abortions.

Abortion Argument 2: If you are so Pro Life, why don’t you care about the kids who are born into families who don’t want them?

Abortion Argument 3: It’s my body, my choice! The life of the mother is more important than the potential life of a fetus.

Abortion Argument 4: It’s not really a child. It’s not a human being yet, just a bunch of cells/tissue. It’s not a person.

Frankly, this is the weakest argument for abortion, in my opinion. It is tied to the 3rd argument in this series in that it seeks to strengthen the notion that a woman has control over her body, and anything inside it.

Pro choice advocates will sometimes admit the fetus is “human” but not a human being. The unborn child is human like any part of a body is human, but it isn’t a person yet. They point to historical views of pregnancy, which might not consider a fetus as  person before “quickening”, where the baby moves. Of course, with modern medicine, we know much more about the development of the fetus in pregnancy.

They may say that since the child is inside the mother it can’t be defined as a different person from the mother. An article from the Pro Choice Action Network website states (among other things):

Besides the capacity to experience emotions, we generally think of personhood as possessing the qualities of intelligence, self-awareness, and moral responsibility.

Fetuses do not share these characteristics. On a more practical level however, the term “person” is really a legal and social construction. Persons enjoy legal rights and constitutional freedoms, such as the right to assemble, travel, protest, speak, and believe as they wish. Persons have birth certificates and social security numbers. Persons earn income, pay taxes, and vote, or they are registered dependents of those that do. Under this definition, it is an indisputable fact that fetuses are not persons. They are literally incapable of exercising legal personhood in any meaningful way. Although you could call a fetus a “potential person,” a potential person cannot have personhood rights either, in the same way that a 6-year old cannot obtain a driver’s license just because he’s a potential 16-year old. Potential persons have only potential rights, not actual rights.

When I read that the word “poppycock” comes to mind. In this article, the author asserts that pro life (anti-choice) people “beg the question” when they say that it is a scientific fact that the unborn fetus is a human being. But the author makes the exact same mistake here, when arguing that the legal status of an unborn child is defined by the inability to exercise the rights legally given to a person. If you can’t do the things that legal personhood allows you to do, then you can’t be legally a person.

Pro life people know that a fetus is not legally considered a person. We want that law changed. We know that fetuses can’t currently exercise the rights mentioned above. But does that alone mean they are not entitled to them?

If I choose to not write this article and exercise my 1st amendment rights, does that mean my right to do so does not exist? If I am illiterate, do I forfeit my 1st amendment right to write whatever I want simple because I cannot yet write? I have the potential to learn to read and write. Do I still have those legal rights?

Let’s reverse this, and look at end of life care. An poor, elderly man with alzheimer’s. He is on life support.  He’s not self aware or capable of moral responsibility. He can’t speak or assemble, or travel. He doesn’t contribute to society, he doesn’t pay taxes, earn income or vote. He can’t do any of the things this author says are necessary to be legally considered a person.

If I walk into the hospital room and inject deadly poison into his arm, ending his life, did I murder a person or not? If so, why? If a person is only legally a person because they can do certain things, not because they have the potential to do them, this this old guy is not a person. According to this argument, the fetus isn’t a person because of its current state. This old man’s current state would mean he is not a person either, under this definition.

The fundamental question is this: What makes a person a person?

Does something happen that changes the fetus to a baby in the process of birth? A child that is one minute old is the exact same as it was right before birth. The baby didn’t change.

From conception that little child has 23 different chromosomes and different DNA, it’s a different being. Sometimes the baby even has a different blood type. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that the unborn child is a part of the mother.

Often the argument of viability comes up… where people say that if a baby cannot live outside the womb it should not be considered murder to kill it. Premature babies are often born without being developed enough to survive outside the womb. Parents put them on machines and hospitals work miracles to keep them alive.

What is the moral difference between a 23 week fetus that is aborted and a 23 week preemie that doctors labor to save? Is it simply that one is wanted and the other isn’t? There is no developmental difference. But one is legally a person and one isn’t. And we should note, the preemie that everyone is trying so hard to keep alive can’t do any of the things on that list any more than the elderly man in the example above.

If someone murders a pregnant women the criminal is sometimes charged with a double homicide. Again, is the only difference whether the child is wanted or not? Is that what makes it a human being?

If you believe that the baby in the womb has the same level of being a newborn infant does, then the argument of viability goes out the window. Whether the child is wanted or not does not impact the fact that the unborn child is a human being. Pro life people will not be persuaded by this argument.

Next up: Abortion Argument 5: If you close down Planned Parenthood/women’s health clinics who do abortion, where will women get health services?