AIDS, Gays, and State Coercion
Mohr, Richard D.
Bioethics. 1987 Jan; 1(1): 35-50.
Mohr argues that coercive government policies in response to the AIDS crisis are unjustified and pose a serious threat to the rights of homosexuals. AIDS presently can be transmitted only to those whose actions place them at risk. Paternalistic state coercion is warranted only when a person has diminished capacity or when necessary to prevent someone from ceasing to be an independent agent. Furthermore, an individual may regard sex as a central value. Finally, using public health as a rationale for closing bathhouses or otherwise regulating sexual behavior is a step toward totalitarianism, because coercion is unwarranted when protection from a disease can be achieved by individual action and because the public good served by reducing the size of the pool of AIDS-exposed people is outweighed by the unjust discrimination involved in using coercive measures that affect only certain individuals. (KIE abstract)