|Psychology and Mental Health Forum|
|Author:||HesDeltanCaptain [ Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:06 pm ]|
|Blog Subject:||Making More Connections|
Guess writing about this the other day has my mind in this sort of setup to make connections from seemingly unrelated things. Below is a copied forum post I was gonna make, but it's more a personal blog entry than on-topic sorta thing.
Following learning that NYC is going to make sales of tobacco products in the city restricted to age 21+ (when the federal age to use such products remains 18) I decided to take a look at age of consent laws in the US (since I live here, though curious I'm less-so about other places except for comparative purposes.) But since posting here I'm mainly going to speak on the sexual age of consent laws.
I've long been curious how these laws came about, having a more general interest in the origns of things as with etymology (the origin of words.) But usually having other things on my mind I realize I've never actually looked into it. Until today:
The first age-related sex law on record appears in an English statute from 1275, which made it punishable by two years' imprisonment and a fine "at the King's pleasure" to "ravish" a "maiden within age," regardless of her consent. "Within age" meant younger than 12, the accepted age at which a woman could marry, as determined by the fact that most girls passed their menarche, or first period, at about that time.
The 1275 statute and comparable laws from that era were not predicated on the desire to protect female children per se. Rather, their chastity was at issue, since defiled women were not considered fit to marry. That this social code motivated the first age-of-consent laws is made clear by the fact that girls "known" to be promiscuous were exempt from protection—once ruined, fair game.
Since that time, age-based consent regulations have been established around the world for a number of reasons: to protect the virginity of women from predatory men, to keep predatory women from entrapping older men, to limit sex before marriage, to disrupt colonial subjects' traditionally young marriage practices (e.g. the British in India), and, more recently in the [b]U.S., to combat teenage pregnancy.[California's Penal Code makes specific mention of this in their legal statutes - "The Statutory Rape Vertical Prosecution Unit of the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office is an integral part of a concerted effort on the part of our citizens to reduce teen pregnancy."] (Source: http://www.ageofconsent.com/california.htm)[/b] Unsurprisingly, America's consent tradition began as a take on the British model, setting the initial age at 10. Individual states set the bar from 10 to 12 until the turn of the 20th century, when moral-reform movements successfully lobbied state legislatures to increase the age to 16 or higher.
Currently, ages of consent in the U.S. range from 14 to 18, while internationally the spread is slightly larger, from 12 to 18. Most Western nations set the bar at around 16, but Spain is a notable exception, at 13. In some countries—especially those controlled by religious orders—legal ages of consent matter less than cultural norms, such as a strict ban on sex outside of marriage.
Since one of the major reasons for these laws is combatting teen pregnancy we should ask who stands to benefit politically (since nothing politicians do is out of the goodness of their hearts, there's always a political angle.) Republicans in the US are the party against abortion for the most part. And they like to portray themselves as the moral/religious party as well. So they often are the lawmakers pushing restrictions on sex type laws as with ages of consent.
If Republicans succeed and make abortion illegal again, the birthrate will go up. And since abortions are often seen in lower income women who aren't likely Republican, by controlling the teen birthrate and reducing or eliminating it in this demographic they're controlling how many non-Republicans there are. And then by restricting age of consent to have sex in the first place, they mitigate this fact by reducing the number of sexually active non-Republican teens who may opt for an abortion in the first place.
This isn't then an innocent, well-meaning attempt to protect children so much as it's an attemp (with voter ID laws) to reduce the number of non-Republicans in general. By redefining who can vote, where/for whom they vote redesignating voting districts, limiting abortion, who can have sex, Republicans are in fact implementing a larger strategy of reducing the numbers of non-Republicans.
If this seems unrelated to the site's purpose I heartily agree. But then so are blog entries about suicide bombers like at least one prolithic poster has made (who shall remain nameless.)
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