Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Meanwhile, in Colorado

The elections will have a question about the personhood rights of American embryos:

Next week, people in Colorado will be voting on Amendment 62, a ballot measure sponsored by PersonhoodUSA. This organization seeks to establish the "pre-born," including eggs, embryos and fetuses as separate "legal persons with protection under the law."

This organization claims that its goal is to end the "injustice of abortion." In fact they are promoting a Fetal Separatist movement, one that is trying to legally separate pregnant women and the fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses inside of them. Their efforts are dangerous to all pregnant women including those who go to term, those who expect confidential medical care, and those who want to preserve their right to life and liberty.
And why are these attempts dangerous should Roe v. Wade be overturned in the future?

As the author of the linked piece states, treating embryos and fetuses as legal persons will immediately reduce the personhood of pregnant women, and perhaps also the personhood of all women capable of pregnancy. Treating the "pre-born" as "legal persons with protection under the law" logically and unavoidably means that all fertile women are turned into possible residences for these "pre-born."

It is hard to see how amendments like this one could ever be applied selectively to abortion and not to all the other ways women (the residences) might endanger potential legal persons by engaging in some activity known to be harmful to fetuses. A woman getting drunk in a bar! What if there is a legal person inside her (then her drinking would be child abuse)? How can we tell? Better have all fertile women tested every month.

I used to preface comments like the above one with some gentle note about "in extreme cases" or "taken to the logical extreme" but I can't do that any longer, because granting a fertilized egg the same legal rights as a pregnant woman (AND juxtaposing those sets of rights) IS extreme and DOES have dystopian consequences.

The more immediate of those dystopian consequences are the ones the linked article discusses: Women's reproductive rights would be diminished not only in terms of abortion but also in terms of rights during pregnancy and childbirth.