“Personhood” Acts Don’t Really Grant Personhood

Parent PartyIf the groaning during the latest Republican debate in response to a question about birth control was an indication that people are tired of the topic (and not that they were opposing birth control itself with their “BOOOOH!”s), this blog entry may induce some sighs, because the only topic that’s been just as prevalent in the news lately is abortion.

In response to a recent article I wrote for DINKlife about the negative impact the war on women’s reproductive rights will have on all Americans, a reader posted this comment on the site’s Facebook page regarding the difference between birth control and abortion:

The difference is that one kills babies and one prevents them.

But do pro-lifers really believe abortion kills babies?

And aren’t the personhood bills more than a little disingenuous in their quest to grant constitutional rights and individual personhood to fertilized eggs?

In February of 2011, Sylvia Dominguez was sentenced to 15 years to life and Gabriel Peralta was sentenced to 12 years in state prison for the death of a 3-year-old.

Also in February of 2011, Alexandra Tobias received a sentence of 50 years in prison after killing her 3-month-old son for crying and interrupting her Farmville game.

In February of this year (what is it with February?), Logan Klotz was sentenced to 120 months in prison for receiving child pornography. He didn’t even touch a child.

Pro-life activists claim life begins at conception, yet Section D of Virginia’s personhood bill reads,

Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as creating a cause of action against a woman for directly or indirectly harming her unborn child.

And the Personhood Act that recently passed in Oklahoma reads,

C. The laws of this state shall be interpreted and construed to acknowledge on behalf of the unborn child at every stage of development all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of this state.

E. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as creating a cause of action against a woman for indirectly harming her unborn child by failing to properly care for herself or by failing to follow any particular program of prenatal care.

No punishment for mothers who willfully neglect their unborn children by not following prenatal care programs?

But Leslie Boggs, arrested January 30 of this year for rolling over onto, and accidentally killing, her child in 2010 while in a drugged up, drunken stupor has been confined to her home while awaiting sentencing.

And Kristina Phillips was sentenced to 36 months for neglect after she failed to stop or report the person who was molesting her child. Her neglect didn’t result in the death of her child, and she was still put in jail.

If there are no legal ramifications for the neglect or murder of a fertilized egg person, how is it being granted individual constitutional rights and “personhood”? If an embryo is a person with full constitutional rights, shouldn’t a woman who directly harms her “unborn child” be tried and sentenced accordingly?

You can’t say an embryo is a baby on one hand, and then not insist on appropriate punishment for the “murder” of an embryo on the other…unless you think an embryo is somehow a “lesser” person. And isn’t that age discrimination? “Yeah, I mean, it’s a person, but you can kill people up to the age of X without worrying about the law gettin’ you.”

A fertilized egg is a person, or it isn’t.

Life begins at conception, or it doesn’t.

If pro-lifers truly believed abortions killed actual babies, there would be a much louder outcry than there currently is over every single aborted fertilized egg, and there would be investigations following every miscarriage.

If, one by one, states legalized the murder of children ages Day 1 – 10 years old, there would be absolute chaos. The kind of chaos that doesn’t currently surround the abortion issue, because even pro-lifers know embryos aren’t children.

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