Thursday, October 02, 2008

People Inside People

Like those Russian dolls. Colorado has a proposal to amend its state constitution with a little piece about how a human being is defined as one from the moment of fertilization. Including the human beings in the freezers of fertility clinics, I guess.

The obvious reason for doing this would be to allow the state later to ban all abortion should Roe be repealed on the national level. But the amendment could do all sorts of other fun stuff:

Q. How could this amendment jeopardize women's health?

A. If this amendment passes, the Colorado Constitution could be used to deny medical treatment to a pregnant woman for a disease or condition – like cancer -- if the treatment might harm the fetus.

This amendment also would lay a legal foundation to outlaw all abortions in Colorado, even in the earliest weeks of pregnancy, in cases of rape or incest, or when the life or health of the woman is at risk.

Colorado would have a constitutional provision that could ban several of the most effective forms of birth control – like the Pill, IUDs, the Patch and the Ring.

Q. How does this amendment allow government interference in our personal lives?

A. The wording of this amendment is unclear and open to interpretation by the courts and politicians. If passed, this amendment could establish a legal basis for the government to investigate a woman and her doctor for a miscarriage, medical care provided during high-risk pregnancies that fail, or for any action that may unintentionally harm a fetus.

The more I think about amendments of this sort the more I see a horrible world for fertile women. Because all fertile women would be possible houses of other human beings and anything that fertile women do might, conceivably, hurt the little homunculus inside. You'd have to always check if the house is empty before you could let it be used in some manner which might endanger a fetus. For instance, a woman couldn't just have a glass of wine; she'd have to present a recent negative pregnancy test first. After all, you don't give alcohol to minors. Or a woman wanting to engage in dangerous sports would have to first present a negative pregnancy certificate, to prove that she's all alone.

Any busybody could start demanding that a woman who has recently put on some weight should be tested for pregnancy, especially if she drinks or smokes and might be harming an innocent minor. Who knows? Better be sure. There might be invisible people inside her. Come to think about it, that weight gain bit is unnecessary. Any woman engaging in any risky behavior (running ten miles a day, say) should always be tested. Like daily.

I don't see how such an amendment could ever NOT infringe on the human rights of adult women. Once you accept the idea that there are people inside people and that the outermost person is not allowed to refuse that inside-person, however it got inside her (even if by rape), well, women could kiss their human rights goodbye.