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Poetry and snark blogger who also has a creative side (who knew?)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Women Are People Too

The anti-choice zealots have reached a startling new low in their bid to outlaw abortion in the United States, and if you think that this issue doesn't affect you or anyone you may know, think again. Their new strategy is called "Personhood," and instead of going after abortion directly, it seeks to define "persons" in such a broad manner that every fertilized egg will be considered a person and thus be protected under U.S. laws.

According to their website, which may have been edited for grammatical correctness by an embryo,
"The Primary Mission of Personhood USA is to serve Jesus by being an Advocate for those who can not speak for themselves, the pre-born child. We serve by starting / coordinating efforts to establish legal "personhood" for pre-born children through peaceful activism, legislative efforts and ballot-access petition initiatives.
Personhood is the cultural and legal recognition of the equal and unalienable rights of human beings.

When the term “person” is applied to a particular class of human beings, it is an affirmation of their individual rights. In other words, to be a person is to be protected by a series of God-given rights and constitutional guarantees such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 
This terrifies the pro-abortion foes!
 They know that if we clearly define the preborn baby as a person, they will have the same right to life as all Americans do!

This then also begs the question, is every human being a person?

There is a very real sense in which the need to answer this second question is, in itself, an absurdity.

If you look up the word "person" in your average dictionary (we'll use Webster's), you'll find something like this: "Person n. A human being."
This would all be rather humorous if it weren't being seriously considered by the voters in numerous states. This November, voters in Mississippi will decide on a ballot measure that defines the term "person" in the State Constitution to include fertilized human eggs and would grant them all the rights and protections of other persons. This would not only outlaw abortion in the state, including rape and incest cases, but would also outlaw any form of contraception that prevents a fertilized egg from developing, such as IUDs and birth control pills.

Similarly, fertility clinics would be closed, and doctors could be prosecuted for providing medical care to a pregnant woman if it endangered the life of her unborn child. Indeed, it would be illegal to terminate a pregnancy to save a woman's life if the "Personhood" Initiative passes, as an unborn baby would have the same right to life as the woman carrying it.

If all of this seems too much like Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale for comfort, it's because it is. In that book of a dystopian future, women were hardly more than receptacles for growing babies, which were a valued resource in society. Women had no autonomy over their own reproductive decisions and were punished for interfering with their intended purpose of being baby incubators. Perhaps the women of Mississippi should read the book before they go out to vote in November, that is, if they aren't already ordered to be on bed rest to make sure they don't jeopardize any preborn persons they might be carrying.


  1. "When the term “person” is applied to a particular class of human beings, it is an affirmation of their individual rights. In other words, to be a person is to be protected by a series of God-given rights and constitutional guarantees such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

    Unless you're gay, in which case, amendments should be written into state and local constitutions in order to deny you your rights and pursuit of happiness. Go figure.

    "Pre-born" persons. Is that like a "pre-owned" Toyota? Can I ask for the Kidfax? I mean Carfax? Oh, I'm so confused.

    And "unalienable"? That's ingrammatical! :-P Maybe the simple act of having to type a-l-i-e-n made them go cold with terror at the thought of brown people pouring across the border with their pre-born persons squirreled away inside them, who would then expect "unalienable" rights and so forth, which we simply shouldn't give them!

    Gawd, now I have a headache, too!

  2. Without intending of being perversely crude in the strictest puritanistic sense of this view and to further extremes that these zealots will go to in their inimitable way and on a moral basis (the right wing tea party), male masturbation will be outlawed. On the basis of the potential seed of life being wasted for personal gratification (Reference "Labels: embryos and other people, idiots give me migraines, keep your laws off my body"

  3. Apparently you're only a 'person' until you discover you're gay.

  4. nene: Well, if the threat of blindness doesn't get those self-gratifiers to stop, then laws will just have to be put into place!

    Fireblossom, Eric "Bubba" : If the homosexuals would just go visit Michele Bachmann's husband, he could cure them of their affliction and then they could be "persons" too!

  5. When I heard about the ballot initiative a few days ago, I was wondering if you were going to rant about it. The proposal takes things to a frightening extreme, although not necessarily as far as you say. For instance, standard birth control pills prevent ovulation, meaning that fertilization doesn't occur so there is no "person" (see Also, the measure wouldn't ban IVF but it would make it potentially riskier, because all embryos would have to be transferred into the woman. IVF would also be much less effective, because doses of drugs would have to be reduced to ensure fewer embryos and consequently less risk. Also, PGD, the prevention of genetic diseases by inserting only the embryos that don't have the genes for the disease, would be illegal.

    All in all, it's frightening for the significant percentage of the population who can only have children through IVF.

  6. Truth Seeker: Depends on how far the "Personhood" folks want to take things on the birth control pills issue. Generally, if they work as they should and if they're taken as they should be, they prevent ovulation and/or fertilization. However, in theory they could also prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. There would be no way of telling whether there is a theoretical "person" or not. Do theoretical persons have rights? Theoretical rights? Ugh. Pass the Advil!

  7. I read a comment on a forum that I think is a fantastic protest: Every time a woman is late she should trot down to vital records to apply for a birth certificate. When she gets her period go back for a death certificate. I think they should take it a step further and try to claim a first trimester fetus as a dependent on an income tax form. We should be as ridiculous as they are being.


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