Mississippi is at it again with another drive toward personhood. A few years ago, the initiative failed, but now, they think they have the wording that will sway opinions and push a new bill through assuming they can get the 100k+ signatures needed to appear on the 2015 ballot. I don’t live in Mississippi. I’m biologically incapable of producing more children. It’s a year away assuming it makes the ballot.
So, why do I care about this?
Because it’s bad. It’s bad on multiple levels. It’s bad for prochoice women. It’s bad for right to life women as well. It’s potentially bad for pregnant women and it could be a massive game changer for women trying to conceive that need a little help. Potentially, it could be disastrous for doctors. It could rip families apart in a irreparable manner. Plus, I don’t understand how anyone using a shred of logic cannot see this proposed bill for what it is – forcing religious beliefs on everyone – believers and non-believers of this particular flavor of faith alike.
If you don’t know what personhood is, or the exact definition of it confuses you, get in line. In some cases, personhood states you become a person once a pregnancy test is positive. That is a rarely used definition these days because it is seen as antiquated 1950’s stuff. More often, it defines life as beginning at fertilization. In more extreme cases, it defines life as beginning at ovulation. Some go a step further and define life as beginning 1-2 weeks prior to a menstrual cycle beginning. That would mean an egg that is not even in play yet already has the rights of a human being.
Think about that.
That’s what this is really all about – when is a human a human? Usually, I’d get hot and heavy on this., but I want everyone to step back…. take a breath… Have a cup of coffee maybe. Let’s just consider, what a world in which personhood, which defined as a human is a human as soon as an egg is present (fertilized or not), would be like.
A couple has failed to have a child after years of trying. They decide to go the IVF route. But wait, they can’t. Why? The egg is a human with full rights of a human under the 14th amendment. Nothing that may endanger it’s “life” can be done to it. That includes freezing it. It could include harvesting eggs as well as there are scattered minimal instances in which n egg is damaged. Assuming you could go through the procedure in a manner that met personhood laws, the odds of success are significantly diminished. Without freezing, eggs are implanted to a traumatized uterus. If it fails to survive, is that murder?
It’s a serious question. The possibility of it being considered a murder would drive insurance rates for fertility specialists through the roof and make the few that would chance offering a service for only the richest. It’s a massive chance they would be taking.
Now, let’s look at this another way – a simpler. A woman has an ectopic pregnancy. It’s not that rare – about 2% of all pregnancies are ectopic. Working of the latest stats which peg pregnancies, worldwide, at 208 million, there are about 4.16 million ectopic pregnancies annually. Here’s where it gets even scarier, because this is an implantation problem and not something the right vitamins or a fat ban account cures – pregnant women have no rights regarding how to handle an ectopic pregnancy.
Ectopic pregnancies are life threatening. It’s basically a hemorrhage and if untreated it is too often fatal. About half resolve on their own, but that means half don’t as well. Under personhood laws, the fetus has done nothing willfully wrong, even if it’s existence may kill the host mother, therefore, back to the 14th amendment, it cannot be removed. Even if the fetus has a 0% chance of survival, it has the rights a human has and as an ‘Innocent” it’s rights actually trump those of the mother.
Now, let’s say you are pregnant and you have a glass of wine once every few weeks. Even if your doctor tells you, as so many do, that an occasional glass of wine is okay, under personhood, it isn’t. Why? Well, one reason is because there is a minuscule chance it could harm the fetus. On the side of what we’d assume is ridiculous, but not so much in light of recent news and this possible legislation, almost anything you do could be said to harm your fetus. Refuse pre-natal vitamins? That could be harm. Jogging? Someone could argue that is harm. Work long hours? … Harm… Don’t sleep 7-8 hours each night? Harm. Indulge in spicy food too often? Harm. Standing on a chair to dust cupboards? Harm. You might fall!
It’s so ridiculous, that about all you can do is sit still and act as incubator. But then again, not exercising at all could be deemed harmful. See how this could easily spiral out of control? Consider that woman who didn’t even know she was pregnant – and skied and fell – found out in the hospital she was 6 weeks along – and was charged with child endangerment. She didn’t even KNOW yet! It was only 6 weeks along….
One last look at this. No matter what the circumstances are – under personhood, you can NEVER abort the fetus. Or endanger an egg. EVER! No matter if the mother will die. No matter if the child will die upon delivery or even in-utero. No matter if mother and fetus will die. No abortions ever, for any reason. Period. Dr. Clifton W. Story who is a personhood advocate stated he believes it is more important to save the fetuses than the mothers that would die without legal, safe access to abortions. Of course, he bases that on his religious beliefs as do most personhood activists.
Here’s my question. If it takes a man and a woman to fertilize an egg – where’s all the laws that are restricting the reproductive rights of men? Where are they? Just as an egg is nothing without sperm, a sperm is nothing without an egg. Yet for some reason, we focus on the eggs. We focus on the mother. Yes, she does carry the fertilized egg to term – no argument there, but the sperm donor is 50% responsible for there being something to carry.
So if we want to be fair and equal, no masturbation for men. Every time they masturbate, they are abandoning potential children. The sperm become non-viable and die. Male masturbation is murder! Let’s start legislating that. Let’s start saying that since men are half of fertilizing an egg, why aren’t they charged with child endangerment when they drink alcohol? Or smoke pot? Or wear underwear that is too tight or do ANYTHING that can decrease their sperm count or potentially make them non-viable or damaged? And if they want to do all those things —- snip snip bitch! Get snipped and do whatever you want. And to go a step further, since men are responsible for fertilizing a woman’s egg, and if the fertilized egg is a person, if the woman is charged with ANYTHING that potentially endangers that child, the father faces the same charge. A good father looks after the humans he helps create so there ya go! He should have been paying attention to what his baby momma was doing!
Does that seem fair? If it doesn’t, why not? Because we’re used to a world where the woman carries the child and the man can walk away whenever? Creating a child is a 50-50 proposition and good or bad, EVERYTHING should be split 50-50. If you can legislate a woman’s reproductive rights, so too should we be able to do to men.