Posted on | November 7, 2011 | 25 Comments
There is a movement called Personhood USA. It is a “movement” to designate that life begins at the moment of fertilization.
I bring this up for a few very important reasons… first and foremost because no matter what your position is on abortion, this movement is ridiculous. And I do not use that word lightly. For the most part, I’m not sure how to characterize my position on abortion so I’m not going to get into that. So let’s put aside the abortion debate for now and just focus on what it means to have the classification of “person.”
Based on our Constitution, certain rights have been extended to all individuals who are considered “persons.” These rights include, among others, the right to bear arms, the right to enjoy privacy in your own home, the right not to be killed or abused, and the right to practice your religion. Now, clearly the “right of personhood” that this movement focuses on is the right not to be killed or abused and okay, I get that. But by identifying the moment of conception as the moment when ALL rights of personhood are bestowed upon a fetus?
That’s just crazy talk.
Let’s forget about the right not to be abused or killed. Let’s move right past that into all the other rights that are bestowed upon persons, like the right to privacy. Privacy? So by saying a fetus has all the rights of personhood, does that mean that they have the right to privacy? No more ultrasounds or blood tests? No more “Is it a boy or a girl?” No more printed out photographs without written consent?
Doesn’t make sense right?
How about the fact that this would be a “person” who is solely and uniquely indebted to one single, solitary other person for its very existence. And not in the way that a severely handicapped individual requires constant aid, but in the way that, forgive the parallel, a leech latches on to another life form to become stronger and bigger and more able to function. By giving the fetus the full rights of “personhood” you put that fetus at odds with the full “person” who is providing its every need.
Let’s move away from the fetus/mother aspect and place this in a different context. Let’s say that a leg is deemed to be a life form all by itself. Let’s say that someone, somewhere says that legs deserve the rights of personhood because they are legs, and therefore part and parcel of human life. Then let’s say that you’re walking down the street one day and you step on a nail. It hurts, but you don’t pay it much attention… until the gangrene sets in. By the time you finally reach the doctor, they tell you that the only option you have is to amputate the leg or lose your life. But, of course, they can’t amputate the leg because it’s a person and they can’t just go around, willy nilly, killing people.
So even though the leg is fully dependent on the rest of you and even though the leg is slowly dying all on its own, you will have to die because the leg has the right to live out its last days… even if it means taking you with it.
Seems silly, right?
It is silly. By giving full rights of personhood to a fetus, doctors will be unable to make decisions that would save an actual full person’s life. If a pregnant woman is in a car accident and she is, lets say, hemorrhaging uncontrollably and the doctors know that the best way to save her life is to remove the fetus and place the mother in a medically induced coma… they can’t do that. Their hands are tied. They can’t do anything to save the mother that might, in any way, injure the unborn child. Regardless if the egg is barely implanted. Regardless if the fetus will die anyway. Just regardless.
So let’s just call this “movement” what it really is… a movement to halt the tide of women’s rights in this country. This “movement” is a thinly veiled attempt to “remind” women that we are not worth nearly as much as our bodies. Don’t believe me? Look around. Check out the billboards and advertisements. Look at the fact that women are insuring their breasts and asses. Look at the fact that INSURANCE COMPANIES are insuring pieces of women.
We’re worth more than our parts, ladies. We’re worth more than our legs and breasts and asses and even more than our wombs. These types of “movements” aren’t about preventing abortion, they’re about exercising control. Because let’s face it… for centuries women have been finding ways to end unwanted pregnancies. Putting a law out there that calls it murder isn’t going to change anything except the consequence.
There are better ways to stem the alleged tide of rampant abortions that are apparently making people crazy. There are ways to educate women AND MEN on better ideas of birth control. These types of laws don’t go to the root of the problem, they just punish without knowing the facts, without giving room for negotiation, without giving room to understand human nature.
There will always be circumstances when abortion is the right call. There will always, unfortunately, be little girls who are raped and women whose bodies can not tolerate the rigors of pregnancy. There will always be situations when it is the right call to terminate the growing fetus for the good of the woman growing it.
These laws don’t allow for exceptions.
Before you latch on to the idea that “personhood” is a good idea for a newly fertilized egg, do your research, think about your daughters… think about what you want for them and for their lives. And understand that this “movement” is nothing more than a way to exercise control over women… something men have been trying to do for far too long.