Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Adventure is worthwhile - Aesop

Little People II
by Lee

The other day I wrote a post about a woman who tried to get out of a ticket by claiming that her unborn fetus counted as a person.  I pointed out the possible downside to the concept of proclaiming legal personhood status for an unborn baby.  Many people dismissed my concern, stating that nobody was actually attempting this tactic.  In this article on the upcoming 33rd anniversary of the Roe decision, I found this intriguing little tidbit.

In Michigan, a group of pastors and ministry leaders used the anniversary Sunday to launch a new anti-abortion organization, Michigan Chooses Life. One goal is to support efforts to get a measure on the 2006 ballot that would change the state constitution to legally define a person as existing at the moment of conception. The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan has said that even if the measure did succeed, it would be challenged in court. [Emphasis mine]

Now, if an unborn fetus is legally defined as a person from the moment of conception, it isn’t a big stretch to imagine all kinds of abuses of this new definition.

Posted by Lee on 01/23/06 at 12:30 AM (Discuss this in the forums)

Comments


Posted by on 01/23/06 at 03:55 AM from Canada

You can’t make law based on how you think people might abuse it.  Your legal system is replete with laws that have been abused.  Take, for example, medical malpractice.  What is “personhood” and can you prove that a human fetus is not a person?  Personally I think the debate on “personhood” is irrelevant.  A fetus is human by every scientific definition, it has 23 pairs of chromosomes, and will die with virtually the same DNA it started with as a Zygote.  A fetus is just a phase of life, and there is not reason to not give it protected status.  If a woman does not wish to get pregnant she should use one or more of the many extremely effective and safe methods of birth control.

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 08:09 AM from United States

SnowDawg:
You’re missing the point.

Here are some abuses:
-Right to use the carpool lane
-Double charging for going to the movie/flying/etc
-False imprisonment accusation if you arrest a pregnant mother, since the child hasn’t done anything, and can’t be removed.

There will be all kinds of stupid “exceptions” that will have to be made if this law goes into effect.  I think abortion is morally wrong, but it’s not a person.  It’s not just a clump of cells either, but it’s not a person.

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 08:26 AM from United States

Hell, there are ambulatory humans walking around who I don’t think are ‘people’; in fact, I think they’re actually over-evolved artichokes…

--TR

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 08:38 AM from United States

Actually, if the unborn are given personhood status, there might be a short period when people try to use it to, for example, use the carpool lane, or make other tricksy legal arguments.

However, I don’t think that’s a substantial objection to the idea.  The carpool lane?  it really wouldn’t take much to put an age restriction in the statute.

False imprisonment?  I don’t think that would fly.  From the fetus’s point of view, its only option to remain in the womb, and no one has removed it from there.

Double charging for movies?  I think the market would take care of that...as it does with young children who are often charged nothing or significantly less than adults.  I mean a theater could charge pregnant women more, but would they really want to?

I am not in favor of extending personhood to the fetus.  But these objections to it are rather trivial, and would work out rather easily, I think.

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 08:49 AM from United States

If a woman does not wish to get pregnant she should use one or more of the many extremely effective and safe methods of birth control.

Which all have some sort of statistical failure rate, however small, except for complete abstinence.  And what about cases of rape?  See, it just isn’t as cut-and-dried as we would all like for it to be, unfortunately. 

(PS--I also noticed you didn’t mention the man’s responsibility for contraception at all...don’t forget that the burden is equally his, especially if you believe that he has equal say over whether the pregnancy is to be terminated or not.  Equal rights=Equal responsibility).

Posted by Drumwaster on 01/23/06 at 09:36 AM from United States

Equal rights=Equal responsibility

Not true. Equal AUTHORITY = Equal Responsibility.

When - and ONLY when - the man has an equal say as to whether to continue the pregnancy (or has the chance to opt out of parental responsibilities, such as child support, in exchange for giving up any parental rights over the child), does the responsibility for birth control come into play.

He has no say, he has no responsibility.

Which all have some sort of statistical failure rate, however small, except for complete abstinence.

Careful, you’re preaching about the benefits of abstinence. They’ll pull your LibtardCard.

But you forgot one: abstinence also offers 100% protection against sexually-transmitted diseases. Lord knows you’ll never hear THAT in public schools, though, not when they have all those loverly condoms to pass out to fifth-graders!

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 09:40 AM from United States

Here are some abuses:
-Right to use the carpool lane
-Double charging for going to the movie/flying/etc
-False imprisonment accusation if you arrest a pregnant mother, since the child hasn’t done anything, and can’t be removed.

If the fetus were legally defined as a person, these wouldn’t be abuses, they’d simply be consequences of the legal definition. If they seem to be abuses, that’s a sign that there’s something absurd about the definition.

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 09:46 AM from United States

PS. However, since various exemptions are already made for small children, it’s hard to see how they wouldn’t also be made for fetuses. The general point, though, is that if what you are really interested in is providing legal leverage for preventing certain kinds of harm to fetuses, and you decide to do that by legally defining them as persons, it’s inconsistent not to accept all the legal consequences of that definition. If you don’t like those consequences, granting personhood is probably too blunt an instrument.

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 10:00 AM from United States

OT:  Something to gag on this morning.

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 10:12 AM from United States

Maybe I am being obtuse, but there don’t actually seem to me to be very many consequences that necessarily flow.

The consequences listed here are either wrongly cited as a consequence (false imprisonment) or too trivial to be of any real concern (car pool lanes).

it seems that the intended consequence wouls be protection from harm of the fetus.  But are there any serious real negative consequences here?

Okay, I’ll answer my own question.  Trivial car pool lane type consequences aside, the real problem seems to me that an abortion as a result of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother, or because of a serious birth defect would become much more problematic.

That could be a real problem.  But really, I can’t think of any other truly serious consequences.

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 10:30 AM from United States

"Now, if an unborn fetus is legally defined as a person from the moment of conception, it isn’t a big stretch to imagine all kinds of abuses of this new definition.”

As opposed to the abuses in the other direction.
Let the states do this, and the electorate will soon learn the downside. Federalism, like the market, allows us to learn from our mistakes. You cannot be free without it.

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 10:38 AM from United States

"Pandora’s Box”, meet “Can of Worms”

Once we opened the Roe/Wade abortion box, closing it is nearly impossible.  Tbhe same goes for drugs, IMO.  May be OK to use them in the eyes of a Libertarian or similar, but WHAT a box of worms......

Posted by Drumwaster on 01/23/06 at 10:46 AM from United States

Once we opened the Roe/Wade abortion box, closing it is nearly impossible.

I am against Roe v. Wade for reasons having nothing to do with the morality of abortion. I think it’s just a shitty ruling that SCOTUS had no authority to make in the first place, since abortion is a State issue, not a Federal one.

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 10:47 AM from United States

Not true. Equal AUTHORITY = Equal Responsibility.

Did you even read what I wrote?  Or do you just automatically go into your “DivaMommy Hate-Mode” whenever you see my name?  Let me spell it out for you....

IF you believe that the man should have equal rights in termination decisions, THEN he should have equal responsibilities in terms of contraception decisions.  Equal say on the back end (no pun intended) means equal responsibility on the front end.  Capiche?

Your bit about fathers opting out of child support, etc. was just anti-family...careful, or they’ll pull your NutCon card. :-)

PS--We weren’t discussing STD prevention, but you are correct in stating that complete abstinence is the only method of staying 100% STD-free.  But, tell me how well that’s gonna play to hormone-ravaged teenagers?  I’d much rather them know how to use a condom correctly than to cross my fingers and hope that they abstain 100%.

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 10:47 AM from United States

"When - and ONLY when - the man has an equal say as to whether to continue the pregnancy (or has the chance to opt out of parental responsibilities, such as child support, in exchange for giving up any parental rights over the child), does the responsibility for birth control come into play. He has no say, he has no responsibility.”

So, in your opinion, all the onus for using birth control falls onto a woman if she is in a romantic situation with a man?  What if both of them are minors?

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 10:57 AM from Japan

On the feotus with rights, if a woman had a miscarriage after going out on a blinder, couldn’t she be charged with manslaughter? What if she got pregnant while traveling in Burma? Reckless endangerment? What if she didn’t even know she was pregnant yet?

And what if it wasn’t anything she did? An act of God? Would we arrest God?

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 11:00 AM from United States

And what if it wasn’t anything she did? An act of God? Would we arrest God?

Thanks for my AM laugh, stogy!  I can’t get the image of God getting arrested out of my head now...good one.

Posted by Drumwaster on 01/23/06 at 11:09 AM from United States

IF you believe that the man should have equal rights in termination decisions, THEN he should have equal responsibilities in terms of contraception decisions.

Since he doesn’t, he doesn’t. Your “if” fails miserably, so there is no “then”. Geddit?

Your bit about fathers opting out of child support, etc. was just anti-family…

Not at all. Pro-family, with both parents acting as equal partners. I’m also pro-Father’s Rights.

But, tell me how well that’s gonna play to hormone-ravaged teenagers?

Yeah, by all means, hand them a gun and say “only one of the chambers is loaded, so I’m going to give you this child’s balloon that will make sure you have a reasonable chance of not getting into any kind of trouble when you point the gun at one of your friends and pull the trigger”. Raise them right and the question never comes up until THEY are ready, and know that it will have been an adult decision, knowing the potential consequences.

You’re STILL expecting the government to do the jobs of parents.

“DivaMommy Hate-Mode”

Hate? LOL Don’t flatter yourself. You barely rise to the level of “mild disgust”, right down there with discovering a fresh dog turd laid by some dog whose owner isn’t polite enough to actually clean up afterwards.

So, in your opinion, all the onus for using birth control falls onto a woman if she is in a romantic situation with a man?

She is the one that gets to decide whether she gets the abortion (perhaps against his wishes - maybe he WANTS to be a father?) or whether she keeps the kid, (forcing him to pay for 18 years for a relationship that was nothing more than a quick fling with some floozy he met at a rave, whether he wants to or not).

He gets no say, therefore he has no authority, thus no responsibility.

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 11:25 AM from United States

IF you believe that the man should have equal rights in termination decisions, THEN he should have equal responsibilities in terms of contraception decisions.

Since he doesn’t, he doesn’t. Your “if” fails miserably, so there is no “then”. Geddit?

Do you even understand the meaning of the word “if?” It’s a condition, a supposition.  This is rudimentary stuff, really. 

Raise them right and the question never comes up until THEY are ready, and know that it will have been an adult decision, knowing the potential consequences.

Yep, I’ve got some swampland in FL to sell you if you believe THIS one!  How many children of parents who thought they “raised them right” have ended up with unintended consequences of sexual intercourse?  Far more than I care to count.  Enjoy your nice middle-America fantasy there…

For those who are in the real world, did you tell your parents before you had sex?  Did you voluntarily ask them for all the facts?  I would imagine 90% of Americans who are in their 30s, 40s, and 50s would say “hell, no.” Which goes to prove my point that if you wait for your children to ask you about sex, you’ve waited too late.

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 11:26 AM from United States

He gets no say, therefore he has no authority, thus no responsibility.

Not under current American law.  Only in NutCon LaLa Land is this true.  :-)

Posted by Drumwaster on 01/23/06 at 11:41 AM from United States

Do you even understand the meaning of the word “if?” It’s a condition, a supposition.

But when your “if” turns out to test as “False”, there is no “then”.

If men had equal say in the end condition, then they would have equal responsibility for reaching that condition. Since they don’t, they don’t.

This is rudimentary stuff, really.

I know. Which is why I wonder why I have to keep explaining these things to you…

Not under current American law.

EXACTLY! So you agree that it should be changed to be equal on both sides.

Yep, I’ve got some swampland in FL to sell you if you believe THIS one!

I have no doubt that the government would do better than YOU as a parent, but not all of us have your shortcomings.

Which goes to prove my point that if you wait for your children to ask you about sex, you’ve waited too late.

EXACTLY! Although you probably meant something else as your conclusion. It also helps when you actually talk with your kids, rather than just saying “Hell, no!” as you seem to be admitting that you have done.

So, that would make you a grandmother at 30, eh? Good for you, ditza… (I mean, since you just ignore your kids’ sex lives until they show up with your grandchild and all...)

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 11:45 AM from United States

And what if it wasn’t anything she did? An act of God? Would we arrest God?

Could God build a jail that even he can’t escape from?

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 11:52 AM from United States

EXACTLY! Although you probably meant something else as your conclusion. It also helps when you actually talk with your kids, rather than just saying “Hell, no!” as you seem to be admitting that you have done.

Again, do you even read what I write, or does your knee simply JERK uncontrollably?

I was referring in general to the information (or lack thereof) that most of us received about sex from OUR parents.  IF you would simply read my post, THEN you perhaps could understand what I am saying (since you don’t, you don’t :-)

I have talked with my kids (in an age-appropriate way) about sex and sexuality issues since they were small.  More importantly, I have tried to promote good communication, in general.  But my experience is not the point...the point is that not everyone is doing this.  So, until every kid gets good information and good support in making these important decisions, the reality is that 100% abstinence will continue to be an unreasonable goal.

In the meantime, here’s a great program that addresses all of these issues in a knowledgeable and respectful way (respect, what a concept, eh, DW?).

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 11:59 AM from Japan

Could God build a jail that even he can’t escape from?

Yeah, of course. God can do anything!

Er...hang on…

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 01:18 PM from Canada

Which all have some sort of statistical failure rate, however small, except for complete abstinence.  And what about cases of rape?  See, it just isn’t as cut-and-dried as we would all like for it to be, unfortunately.

There is a also probability that the plane you are in will crash and that you will be hit by a car when you go out but they are risks you accepted when you walked out the door.  As adults we accept RESPONSIBILITY for our actions including taking the tiny risk that you could get pregnant on birth control.  The pill is up to 99.3% effective and condoms are 98% effective (considering the average couple having sex regularly for one year). “statistically” speaking you are more likely to be killed in a car accident than have both of these methods fail at the same time. 
Why do libtards always bring up rape?  The vast majority of abortions are not due to rape, and no one is saying that abortion in this case is should be illegal.  Anyway the morning after pill is very effective in these cases.

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 01:49 PM from United States

Drumwaster,

So, in your opinion, all the onus for using birth control falls onto a woman if she is in a romantic situation with a man?

She is the one that gets to decide whether she gets the abortion (perhaps against his wishes - maybe he WANTS to be a father?) or whether she keeps the kid, (forcing him to pay for 18 years for a relationship that was nothing more than a quick fling with some floozy he met at a rave, whether he wants to or not).

Point taken, but as far as your “rave” example, if a man is willing to sleep with a woman who he believes to be or knows is Promiscuous, or someone he doesn’t know, wouldn’t it behoove him to take steps to PREVENT a situation like the one you describe by USING his own birth control?  By your logic, men can have sex and impregnate as many women as they like and not have to deal with the repercussions..even if they are repercussions they could have prevented.

Posted by InsipiD on 01/23/06 at 01:51 PM from United States

I can’t get the image of God getting arrested out of my head now...good one.

I don’t think that people should try to prove the existence of God anymore.  The libs would try to have Him jailed.  The list of hate-crimes alone would be staggering...libs love to pick on pro-life judgemental homophobes right now.

As for the suggestion of this law, we’re already dangerously close to charging people who smoke inside with their children (or in the car) with child abuse.  It’s a sticky wicket, but I’m not sure that I’d be against charging moms whose babies are born addicted to crack/meth/alcohol.  There is an argument that it costs society a measurable amount to care for such children, who are affected for the rest of their lives (Bodle cock anyone?).

Posted by InsipiD on 01/23/06 at 01:52 PM from United States

libs love to pick on pro-life judgemental homophobes right now.

Oops, I forgot patriarchal and prejudiced.

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 01:55 PM from United States

If a woman does not wish to get pregnant she should use one or more of the many extremely effective and safe methods of birth control.

Snowdawg, my response was to your statement above, which is false.  A woman can still get pregnant even if she uses all methods of BC at once.  So, the only way to make 100% sure a woman does NOT get pregnant is to abstain.  BC is simply not as reliable nor effective as you seem to think (I’ve known too many babies born to women who were on the Pill and using it correctly).

Conversely, I agree with you about the morning-after pill.  This should be available to all women OTC...a good solution for an imperfect world.

Posted by Drumwaster on 01/23/06 at 02:10 PM from United States

if a man is willing to sleep with a woman who he believes to be or knows is Promiscuous

Turn that around and see if still sounds fair. (The genders are supposed to be equal, remember?)

If a woman is willing to sleep with a man who she believes to be or knows is Promiscuous, she should be protected from the consequences of that decision?

By your logic, women can have sex and get impregnated as many times as they like and not have to deal with the repercussions.

However, by MY logic, that man will never get to know his kids (if the woman chooses to keep them) and will never be able to assert any kind of authority over them, now and forever.

So, the only way to make 100% sure a woman does NOT get pregnant is to abstain.

But we can’t POSSIBLY have THIS happen… It would show that people accept responsibility for their actions, and that would cause the Sun to explode!

{/sarcasm, since some people seem to be incapable of recognizing it}

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 02:26 PM from Canada

Snowdawg, my response was to your statement above, which is false.  A woman can still get pregnant even if she uses all methods of BC at once.  So, the only way to make 100% sure a woman does NOT get pregnant is to abstain.  BC is simply not as reliable nor effective as you seem to think (I’ve known too many babies born to women who were on the Pill and using it correctly).

I put it in large type and you still don’t get it.  RESPONSIBILITY.  IF you can’t accept the risk of 6:100000 chance, that by using the pill and condoms that you might get pregnant, then you should not have sex.
Your friends are clearly missing some days on the pill, but as they are liberals the RESPONSIBILITY of taking the pill was too restrictive for them.  For that I would suggest depo injections of Medroxyprogesterone, and an understanding of the risks of getting pregnant.  My statement was not false I never said there was no chance of getting pregnat you should not read any thing into what I wrote.

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 02:43 PM from United States

Your friends are clearly missing some days on the pill

No, they didn’t.  And you saying so doesn’t make it true.  Thanks for playing! :-)

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 03:00 PM from Canada

No, they didn’t.  And you saying so doesn’t make it true.  Thanks for playing! :-)

How would you know, and would they tell you?  The pill is 99.7% effective do you know the chances of knowing even two people who got pregnant while using the pill?  What is more likely they you know several of these people or that your friends can’t follow simple instructions and then can’t take RESPONSIBILITY (there is that word that you liberals have so much trouble with again) for it when they don’t?  Thanks for playing NA NA NA NA POO POO!

PS My Dad is bigger than your Dad (if you even know who he is)

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 03:53 PM from United States

"By your logic, women can have sex and get impregnated as many times as they like and not have to deal with the repercussions.”

Well....maybe you are right.  If a women takes that course of action, the repercussions are still there for her to deal with, and I don’t think they should be allowed to shirk them.  However, the ways to deal with them are different between men and women (in this respect, the sexes are most certainly NOT equal) Men can wear a condom, or have a vasectomy...women can get an abortion, use the Morning after pill, or get a hyserectomy.  Both can use birth control.
Are you saying that since in our society one sex (women) tends to have more control over offspring, both in the courts and in socities perception, that the other sex (men) is allowed to not proactice personal responsibility?

Posted by Drumwaster on 01/23/06 at 05:31 PM from United States

Are you saying that since in our society one sex (women) tends to have more control over offspring, both in the courts and in socities perception, that the other sex (men) is allowed to not practice personal responsibility?

Not allowed? No. Not required. Under current laws, they have no say, but are required to take financial responsibility and (until DNA testing) had no way of knowing whether such children were actually theirs.

And just to piss off ditza: RESPONSIBILITY.

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 06:05 PM from United States

There are problems with declaring personhood for a fetus and claiming that life begins at conception.  Actually, I personally think it does, but the problems that declaring that legally still exist.

In the case of rape/incest/defect, we would still be talking about a person and abortion of an incest victim or trisomy 18 baby would be murder.  The emotional cost of bringing these babies to term is extremely high for someone that bears no “responsibility” for the situation.  Most Americans find that to be unfair.

If one day America becomes a place where abortion is difficult to obtain unless one is very wealthy, fathers will be forced by mothers and DNA testing to take responsibility.  Perhaps men will also have to learn to park their dicks at home after they jerk off when they they go clubbing.  Floozy indeed.

Posted by Drumwaster on 01/23/06 at 06:28 PM from United States

Most Americans find that to be unfair.

I’m not talking about abortion being completely eliminated. I’m talking about getting rid of the overwhelming majority of those that are performed “for the convenience of the mother” (I’ve seen numbers ranging from 75-90%, and even higher).

Medical necessity ("life of the mother") accounts for an extremely small slice of the total - less than 1% by most accounts.

Rape and incest abortions should have a police report attached (since those are crimes, in and of themselves), with prosecution and trial for the perp, as the opportunity arises.

That would force the woman to pay a little closer attention to the potential of going out and picking up a random stranger, and thinking that a 3% failure rate on condoms should be enough, and if it isn’t, she can always kill it off…

If men can jerk off before they go clubbing, then women can stuff themselves with a zucchini or something and get the same result. It’s still about personal responsibility, and why liberals don’t believe in it.

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 07:11 PM from United States

If men can jerk off before they go clubbing, then women can stuff themselves with a zucchini or something and get the same result.

I have no problem with that.  One nighters aren’t a good idea for any gender, and are usually indicative of a problem unrelated to sexual frustration.

I don’t know anyone, liberal or conservative, that believes that a woman using abortion as birth control is a good thing.  After one, smart people self-correct their behavior.  Part of the problem is that we are not honest, and I mean really honest, with our kids.  Hear me out.

We tell kids that pot kills people.  Well, it doesn’t and they find that out real quick and we lose our credibility as parents.  They then move on to the other stuff that really is dangerous.  We tell kids that having sex one time will make you pregnant.  Well, not exactly.  When these behaviors are carried out with no consequence, they don’t believe us until the inevitable happens.  Oops.

I went through this while going through infertility treatments.  The human reproductive system is an imperfect system and all kinds of things go wrong even with normally fertile people.  A woman is only fertile for at most five days during her monthly cycle.  A 16 year old girl has maybe a one in four chance of conceiving a child if she has unprotected sex during that period of time.  As she gets older that number gets to around 1 in 15 during her mid-30’s.  A young girl that has sporadic sexual encounters may go years without getting pregnant before the inevitable happens.  It’ a numbers game.

In short, the chances of a girl having sex once and getting pregnant are not that big.  Telling her so sets her up for thinking that she won’t get pregnant when it doesn’t happen right away.  I am sure Planned Parenthood is filled with girls on a daily basis that say “I thought I couldn’t get pregnant”.

I have a son.  I will make sure he knows how to tell when a woman is in her fertile time.  Hint to the clubbers: it’s when she is all nice and slimy.  It’s not your magnificent performance, it’s her fertile time ....

Posted by Drumwaster on 01/23/06 at 07:21 PM from United States

I don’t know anyone, liberal or conservative, that believes that a woman using abortion as birth control is a good thing.

Let me introduce you to a group called NARAL, who apparently believes that it is a woman’s protected Constitutional right to have casual sex with total strangers, and suffer no consequences.

Posted by on 01/23/06 at 07:34 PM from United States

Well, obviously I don’t know those people.  It may be an artifact of living in the Bible Belt, but you just don’t hear people, even liberals, talk up abortion like it’s an afternoon trip to the Art Musuem.  I’ve known people that have had them and they agonize over the decision, especially if they are over 35 and unmarried and want kids.  I don’t know for sure, but I bet they regret the decision as soon as they leave the building.  Most of them would probably tell you that there are consequences either way.

I’ll say this, though.  It is getting less and less justifiable to choose abortion.  The adoption of our son is open.  We talk to his birthmother about once a month and she got to see him last summer while we were in CA.  It does not have to be scary to bring your pregnancy to term and allow an infertile couple to adopt it.  The couple can kick in some expenses in most states.  It CAN be a win-win-win situation.

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