Past Their Prime: 17 Laws That Are Overdue for a Ban

Aileen
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As society evolves and progresses, so do our laws. Laws are created to protect the well-being and rights of citizens, but sometimes, they can become outdated or even harmful as times change.

Some of these laws may seem absurd or unbelievable, but they still exist in some countries or states. It is essential to acknowledge and discuss these laws to understand the need for their ban and promote change towards a more equitable society:

Child Marriage

Past Their Prime: 17 Laws That Are Overdue for a Ban
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Child marriage is defined as a formal marriage or informal union where one or both parties are under the age of 18. Despite being illegal in most countries, it still persists as a prevalent practice in many parts of the world. According to UNICEF, around 12 million girls are married before the age of 18 every year.

Child marriage not only robs children of their childhood but also has serious consequences on their physical and mental health. It increases the risk of domestic violence in early pregnancy, leading to maternal mortality, and limits educational opportunities for young girls.

Conversion Therapy

Past Their Prime: 17 Laws That Are Overdue for a Ban
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Conversion therapy is a pseudoscientific practice aimed at changing an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It has been widely discredited by medical professionals and deemed harmful to the LGBTQ+ community. However, it remains legal in many countries, including the United States, where 20,000 LGBTQ+ youth are subjected to it every year.

Conversion therapy has been linked to increased rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide among its victims. The American Psychological Association states that “conversion therapy may pose serious health risks to lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.” Despite this evidence, conversion therapy remains legal in many places.

Blasphemy Laws

Past Their Prime: 17 Laws That Are Overdue for a Ban
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Blasphemy laws, which criminalize religious criticism or insults towards certain religions, still exist in many countries. These laws suppress freedom of speech and expression and have severe consequences for those accused.

According to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, blasphemy laws “are often used against religious minorities and can lead to imprisonment or even death.” In Pakistan, blasphemy carries a death sentence, and the majority of those accused are members of minority communities.

Marital R@pe Exemption

Past Their Prime: 17 Laws That Are Overdue for a Ban
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Many countries still have a legal exemption that allows for marital r@pe. This means a spouse cannot be charged with r@pe if the victim is their partner. This outdated law perpetuates the harmful belief that marriage implies consent to sexual activity at all times.

According to the World Health Organization, 10-14% of women in high-income countries report experiencing intimate partner violence, including rape. Marital rape exemption not only denies justice for these victims but also sends the message that spousal rape is acceptable.

Corporal Punishment in Schools

Past Their Prime: 17 Laws That Are Overdue for a Ban
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Corporal punishment, which includes physical discipline such as spanking or hitting students, is still allowed in many schools around the world. Despite evidence that it has negative impacts on a child’s mental health and academic performance, it remains legal in 70 countries.

According to UNICEF, “corporal punishment can lead to increased aggression, antisocial behavior and violence.” It also perpetuates the harmful belief that violence is an acceptable form of discipline. Yet, many countries have yet to ban this outdated and harmful practice.

“Gay Panic” Defense

Past Their Prime: 17 Laws That Are Overdue for a Ban
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The “gay panic” defense is a legal strategy used to defend perpetrators of violence against LGBTQ+ individuals. It claims that the perpetrator’s violent actions were justified due to the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

This defense has been used in numerous cases to reduce the charges or even acquit the accused of crimes such as assault and murder. Only 11 states in the U.S. have banned this defense tactic, leaving many LGBTQ+ individuals vulnerable to hate crimes.

Death Penalty for Same-Sex Relations

Past Their Prime: 17 Laws That Are Overdue for a Ban
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In several countries, same-sex relations are still punishable by death. These laws not only perpetuate discrimination towards the LGBTQ+ community but also violate their fundamental human rights.

According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), same-sex activity is punishable by death in 11 countries. This includes Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, and Somalia. These laws are not only outdated but also have dire consequences for those who identify as LGBTQ+.

“Stand Your Ground” Laws

Past Their Prime: 17 Laws That Are Overdue for a Ban
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“Stand Your Ground” laws, also known as “Castle Doctrine” or “Shoot First” laws, allow individuals to use deadly force without attempting to retreat in a situation where they feel threatened. These laws have been linked to increased rates of homicide and racial bias in the justice system.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, states with “Stand Your Ground” laws have a 24.4% increase in justifiable homicides compared to states without such laws. These laws have also been criticized for disproportionately targeting people of color.

Discriminatory Voter ID Laws

Past Their Prime: 17 Laws That Are Overdue for a Ban
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Voter ID laws require individuals to present identification before being allowed to vote. While this may seem like a reasonable measure to prevent voter fraud, it can also disproportionately affect marginalized communities who may face barriers in obtaining identification.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, an estimated 11% of eligible voters do not have government-issued photo ID. These laws have been criticized for targeting low-income individuals, people of color, and elderly populations, effectively suppressing their right to vote.

Anti-Abortion Laws

Past Their Prime: 17 Laws That Are Overdue for a Ban
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Anti-abortion laws, which restrict access to safe and legal abortion procedures, continue to be passed in many countries. These laws disproportionately affect women from marginalized communities who may not have the resources or capabilities to seek out alternative options.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a leading research and policy organization on sexual and reproductive health, 42% of all abortions worldwide occur in countries where abortion is highly restricted. These laws violate women’s right to bodily autonomy and can have severe implications for their physical and mental health.

“Broken Windows” Policing

Past Their Prime: 17 Laws That Are Overdue for a Ban
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“Broken Windows” policing is a law enforcement strategy that addresses minor offenses to prevent more serious crimes. This approach has been criticized for disproportionately targeting low-income communities and people of color, leading to increased rates of incarceration and perpetuating systemic racism.

According to a study published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Black individuals are more than twice as likely as white individuals to be arrested for disorderly conduct, one of the most common offenses targeted under “Broken Windows” policing. This approach has also shown little impact on reducing overall crime rates.

Loitering Laws

Past Their Prime: 17 Laws That Are Overdue for a Ban
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Loitering laws, which prohibit individuals from lingering or staying in a public space without an apparent reason, have been used by law enforcement to target marginalized communities such as homeless individuals and people of color. These laws can also lead to harassment and discrimination.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), loitering laws have been used by law enforcement to target individuals based on their appearance or perceived social status. This perpetuates systemic racism and violates the right to freedom of movement.

“Three Strikes” Laws

Past Their Prime: 17 Laws That Are Overdue for a Ban
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“Three strikes” laws, which impose harsher sentences on individuals who have committed multiple offenses, have been criticized for disproportionately affecting low-income communities and people of color. These laws also contribute to the mass incarceration crisis in many countries.

According to a study published by the United States Sentencing Commission, Black offenders are three times more likely than white offenders to receive life sentences under “three strikes” laws. This perpetuates systemic racism within the justice system and undermines efforts for rehabilitation and reintegration.

Solitary Confinement for Juveniles

Past Their Prime: 17 Laws That Are Overdue for a Ban
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Solitary confinement, also known as “segregation,” is the practice of isolating an inmate in a cell for 22-24 hours a day with limited human interaction. This has been shown to have severe psychological effects on adults, and its use on juveniles has been deemed cruel and unusual punishment by international human rights groups.

Despite this, many countries continue to use solitary confinement on juveniles, often for minor offenses. This can have long-lasting effects on their mental health and overall well-being.

School Zero-Tolerance Policies

Past Their Prime: 17 Laws That Are Overdue for a Ban
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School zero-tolerance policies require automatic punishments for certain behaviors, regardless of the individual student’s circumstances. This has been shown to disproportionately affect students of color and contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline.

According to a report by the American Psychological Association, Black students are three times more likely than white students to be suspended or expelled under zero-tolerance policies.

Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

Past Their Prime: 17 Laws That Are Overdue for a Ban
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Mandatory minimum sentencing requires judges to impose a predetermined sentence for certain offenses, regardless of the individual’s circumstances or criminal history. This has been shown to disproportionately affect people of color and contribute to overcrowding in prisons.

According to The Sentencing Project, a research and advocacy organization working to reduce incarceration rates and racial disparities in the justice system, Black individuals are more likely than white individuals to receive mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses.

Blue Laws

Past Their Prime: 17 Laws That Are Overdue for a Ban
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Blue laws are outdated regulations restricting certain activities, such as buying alcohol or shopping on Sundays. These laws have been criticized for their religious origins and restrictions on individual freedoms.

In addition, blue laws can hurt small businesses and the economy. For example, in states with strict alcohol sales restrictions on Sundays, bars and restaurants may lose potential revenue from sports events or brunch crowds.

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  • Aileen

    Aileen adds a melodic tone to the Frenz Hub writing team, with her background in agricultural economics and hobbies like singing, reading, swimming, and traveling, enriching her writing with diverse perspectives.

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