Thursday, July 17, 2008

Roe v. Wade Is No Longer the Battleground

If you pay any attention to these things, you knew the fundamentalist right wasn't going to to give up on making abortion illegal. Overturning Roe v. Wade seems less likely as Bush's presidency winds down and there is a good chance Obama, a pro-choice Democrat, might be the next president.

So, what do they do now? The make the zygote a "person," with full rights under the law, and they make contraception equivalent to abortion. Hmmm . . . how do they propose to pay for all the new babies running around who were never wanted or intended?

Anyway, according to the Washington Post, Colorado is doing their part by defining a person as "any human being from the moment of fertilization."
If voters agreed, legal experts say, it would give fertilized eggs the same legal rights and protections to which people are entitled.

The ballot initiative is funded by Colorado for Equal Rights, a grass-roots antiabortion organization. Its purpose, initiative sponsor Kristi Burton said, is to lay a legal and legislative basis for protecting the unborn. Its passage would also open the door to modifying other laws for the same purpose, she said.

As to what laws could then be modified, Burton would not elaborate. "We try not to focus on some of the issues that will be taken care of later on," she said, repeatedly saying that the amendment is not aimed at outlawing abortion.

Oh yeah? If passed, the simple egg and sperm joined into zygote would be a "person," the killing of which would be considered murder.
"If we give fertilized eggs legal rights, abortion could be considered murder and a woman could be sent to jail for making the difficult life decision to terminate a pregnancy," said Crystal Clinkenbeard, spokeswoman for Protect Families, Protect Choice, a coalition of medical professionals, community groups and religious leaders who oppose the amendment.

The measure also could expand the reach of the law into other arenas, legal experts say. For instance, if a woman miscarries, she could be held responsible if it were found she caused it, even unintentionally. If she smoked or drank while pregnant, her behavior might be considered negligence. Damaged eggs might be eligible for monetary damages. The use of fertilized eggs at fertility clinics or in medical research labs would come into question because the disposal of unused eggs could be considered homicide.

"Because this amendment would define a person in a given way and expand the universe of who persons are, it expands the reach of laws that deal with persons," said Bill Araiza, a law professor at Loyola University in Los Angeles.

The amendment also calls into question pregnant women's medical access, said Scott Moss, a professor at the University of Colorado Law School. "If a pregnant woman is really two people with exactly equal rights, then it is not clear the pregnant woman can undergo any medical treatment that jeopardizes a fertilized egg," he said, adding that the amendment would generate a flood of litigation.

Am I the only one who thinks this is insane? And that this is the future battleground for anti-choice factions?

The Bush administration is taking another approach -- it seeks to make some forms of birth control equivalent to abortion.

As reported in the New York Times:

In the proposal, obtained by The New York Times, the administration says it could cut off federal aid to individuals or entities that discriminate against people who object to abortion on the basis of “religious beliefs or moral convictions.”

The proposal defines abortion as follows: “any of the various procedures — including the prescription, dispensing and administration of any drug or the performance of any procedure or any other action — that results in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation.”

Mary Jane Gallagher, president of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, which represents providers, said, “The proposed definition of abortion is so broad that it would cover many types of birth control, including oral contraceptives and emergency contraception.”

“We worry that under the proposal, contraceptive services would become less available to low-income and uninsured women,” Ms. Gallagher said.

Indeed, among other things the proposal expresses concern about state laws that require hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims who request it.

By this definition, the birth control pill is defined as a type of abortion. If the government can make this definition a part of how it dispenses funding, it sets the precedent for expanding this definition into other areas of law.

Oh wait, maybe this is more insane. Is that possible?

All of these angles are based on religious beliefs, as are all anti-choice arguments, and therefore should be disallowed under the Separation Clause. It's that simple.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Bill,

All arguments against abortion are not religious. Many are, to be sure. But for many people, including myself, the strongest argument that what grows in a pregnant mama's belly is a person is ultrasound imagery, especially those three-dimensional, as well as the simple hearing of the heart beat or (in our case) beats.

take care,