While grilling Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh about whether he'd vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, Sen. Kamala Harris (D–Calif.) posed a question she thought was so clever that she decided to highlight the exchange on Twitter:
Can you think of any laws that give the government the power to make decisions about the male body?pic.twitter.com/lDcXPZ56hX
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) September 6, 2018
Some tweeters immediately shot back with "conscription." It's a good point—federal law requires men to register with Selective Service and face the possibility of being drafted to fight in wars—but it doesn't go far enough. Harris' wording inadvertently reminds us that virtually all laws give the government the power to make decisions about bodies, both male and female. The drug war, for example, is all about controlling what people put into their bodies.
Harris is a former prosecutor, and she was California's attorney general before getting elected to the Senate. In those roles, she was not just a willing participant but a loud advocate of the war on sex work. As a prosecutor she went after the men behind Backpage.com, aiming to hold them responsible for the existence of online sex trafficking.
Surely laws against sex work give the government the power to make decisions about male and female bodies. If you are a woman (or man, but really we only talk about the women) who wants to offer up your body for sexual pleasure in exchange for money, Harris is here to use government force to try to stop you. Harris is no supporter of women's right to decide what they do with their body in areas outside of abortion, and it's cynical and grotesque (but sadly predictable) that she'd use Kavanaugh's hearing to present herself as such.
The ultimate irony is the reason why Harris has taken her anti-sex-trafficking role: She argues that it harms innocent children who are forced into the sex trade. In reality, the vast majority of "sex trafficking" busts involve behavior between consenting adults, but set that aside. According to Harris, women cannot decide for themselves what to do with their bodies because the results will harm innocent children. That's the exact same argument used by those who would ban abortion!
Bonus links: Elizabeth Nolan Brown on Harris' phony feminism. And at least one woman on Twitter responded to Harris asking her why she's trying to stop women from participating in sex work if she holds such a position. Don't hold your breath waiting for a response.