Rachel over at Our Bodies, Our Blog reports on this evil initiative to have fertilized eggs declared legal people with full constitutional rights.
Oh, I hear half of you groaning already–it’s not evil. It’s not evil.
Let’s think about what it means if a fertilized egg is a legal person with full constitutional rights.
1. Half of all fertilized eggs are never implanted in a woman’s uterus. Instead, they are just shed in the woman’s next menstrual cycle. If those are legal people, there must be some accounting for them. A woman wouldn’t be allowed to give birth to a number of dead babies and just put their bodies in the garbage. So, if those fertilized eggs are people, will we each have to turn our used tampons and pads over to the Colorado government to make sure that the ones that need to be disposed of according to the laws governing the disposal of human remains are disposed of so?
2. Every miscarriage will have to be investigated. If your child dies under uncertain circumstances while in your care, no one sends you home to grieve. They call the cops. If you have multiple children die while in your care, we really demand the cops get involved. So, pity the poor family going through multiple miscarriges. Their personal tragedies now become police business.
3. As Rachel points out, no exception seems to be made for where the fertilized egg is located. So, a fertilized egg that attaches in a woman’s fallopian tube instead of in her uterus has, legally, as much a right to life as a fertilized egg in a uterus. It seems that a woman would not be allowed to end that pregnancy until her life was in danger, since, until that moment, the fetus has a right to life that trumps her convenience, even though there’s no way for an ectopic pregnancy to carry to term. In other words, a woman would be legally required to carry an ectopic pregnancy as far along as possible, even at the risk of her reproductive health. After all, even if I’m sure you might kill me some day, I can’t shoot you today to prevent it. I have to wait until my life is in emminent danger.
4. Thus ends many fertility treatments in Colorado. What company is going to want the headache of working around these rules? Many fertility treatments now involve making many more embryos than ever are expected to become actual babies. More embryos than needed are put into the uterus in hopes that one or more take and, in many cases, when four or five take, the doctors selectively reduce their numbers in order to give the most viable fetuses the best chance. All that would have to stop. You couldn’t say “Well, we’re going to put twelve children in this room, even though we know that most, if not all of them will die” and not be charged with murder.
5. Women will have to carry their rapists’ babies to term.
6. Any form of birth control that prevents a fertilized egg from being attached to the uterus will be illegal. But, more importantly than that, any form of birth control that can be used to prevent a fertilized egg from being attached to the uterus would be illegal as well. So long Pill.
7. Since the Pill would be illegal in Colorado, the women of Colorado who take medicine that causes birth defects will either have to stop taking that medicine or stop having sex. I’m sure men all over Colorado will love that.
I think it’s obvious that, in order to enforce the legal personhood of fertilized eggs, women would have to be subjected to intense and often cruel scrutiny.
But let’s think of the human cost at a step back from that as well. We all know how tough being a first-responder can be on a person. Being the EMT or the firefighter or the police officer or even the tow-truck driver who has to arrive at an accident and deal with overwhelming tragedy is a grueling drain on a person’s soul.
Imagine you were on the “miscarriage investigtion team.” It’s your job to show up at every reported miscarriage and, at one of the worst moments of a person’s life, investigate her tragedy as a crime. Most miscarriages just happen for reasons no one understands.
What kind of emotional toll does it take on you to have to butt in at a moment when 99% of the time, the person has done nothing to bring this on?
And what if you do find evidence of some kind of negligence on her part? What if she drank like a fish before she found out she was pregnant?
Those are cases we want our prosecutors to take up? We’re going to put women who wanted to be mothers in jail just because they weren’t careful enough?
It’s ridiculous and cruel. The whole thing.
And here’s what I don’t understand. I really can understand folks who are anti-abortion and who wish that women didn’t choose to have abortions. But many anti-abortion folks are married or in committed sexually active relationships and many of them have probably lost pregnancies they wanted very much.
You have to know, or at least be able to imagine, how much that sucks.
Why on earth would you craft or support legislation, or even a position, that puts women who very much want babies and but can’t carry that pregnancy to term square in the middle of your battle against abortion?