Oklahoma Senator Tries Out Reductio Curse

Constance Johnson is a member of the Oklahoma Senate, where there is currently debate over a personhood bill, and she is also a Wizard. You can imagine what the personhood bill is all about. The Senate bill 1433 would legally define a person as a single egg cell fertilized by a sperm, and of course, the two cells that divides into would also be a person. And the four cells that divides into as well, and so on and so forth. You can see the flaw, of course; What happens when the dividing cells become twins? Does that make the twins one person? Can they split their tax liability evenly down the middle? Can they marry separate individuals later in life or not? Have they even thought of these things?



Anyway, Constance Johnson understands this bill better than the people who introduced it, and applying the fierce logic of reductio ad absurdum (which is a spell learned in Wizard school) to add the amendment to the bill depicted in the photograph provided here.

It inserts the phrase “provided, however, any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child.”

Obviously this is a first draft of the amendment because it is impossible for a man to deposit one sperm at a time. The amendment must be rewritten to read: “provided, however, any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against a whole bunch of unborn children.”

This is not the first time we’ve seen the Reductio Curse used against a Republican bill (something similar happened recently in Indiana with a Creationist bill). And I hope it is not the last.

Senator Johnson writes up her experience here.

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7 Responses to Oklahoma Senator Tries Out Reductio Curse

  1. Physicalist says:

    Even better than identical twins are fused fraternal twins that result in a single chimera like Jane. It seems that the OK folks are going to have to say that Jane is two distinct people (after all, neither of the twins died).

  2. F says:

    Suitable for framing.

  3. robb says:

    holy shit. male teenagers that experience nocturnal emissions are going to go to jail!

  4. operkins says:

    And any failure to act by a woman such that an egg remains unfertilized is murder of a possible child.

  5. chrisdevries says:

    Singalong everybody!!

    Every sperm is sacred!
    Every sperm is great!

    Not sure the line “every sperm is half a person” appears in the song though.

  6. sc_42032cef73176c9867e45905c22e998c says:

    It’s more interesting than that. The reductio should be read as a modal claim: it is an act against the rights of possible children. This then raises the question of to what extent possible children have rights that supersede or overrule the rights of actual adults. In ordinary thinking, the actual trumps the possible, but it seems to me that all arguments against abortion on the grounds of the rights of the unborn are about possible person’s rights trumping actual person’s rights.

  7. Greg Laden says:

    And you know what they say about two gorillas that look at each other for more than five seconds!

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