HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019 August 2019 September 2019


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Friday, January 10, 2014

 
The legal march to personhood (and de-personhood)

by digby

I got some blowback from anti-abortion types for this piece I wrote about the Munoz case in Texas and,  in particular, using the term "birthing vessels" which was seen as a provocative and radical term that was contributing to our lack of civility. (I know, this from people who routinely display gory pictures of dismembered body parts in public ...)

Anyway, the story is what it is and I stand by my harshly satirical take on the issue.  But if you want to read a more comprehensive look at this phenomenon, this one by Ilyse Hoague is excellent.  I'll just highlight this small piece:


I'm reminded of the case of Bei Bei Shuai, who faces prosecution in Indiana for feticide after she attempted suicide in 2011 when she was pregnant. She survived the attempt, but her fetus died in the process. So the state has chosen to criminalize her pregnancy, declaring her a murderer for attempting to take her own life. Or Alicia Beltran, a pregnant Wisconsin woman who disclosed to her doctor that she had previously been addicted to pills. Although she proudly stated that she had been clean for a year, and confirmed it with a subsequent urine test, her doctor insisted that she go on anti-addiction medication. When she refused, she was arrested and taken to court, where she did not have a lawyer. However, one was appointed to represent her fetus.
Individually, the cases of Shuai, Beltran, and Munoz are troubling. Together, they add up to a clear picture of how many politicians think it's not only acceptable, but preferable, for women to lose rights once they become pregnant. And increasingly, state laws reflect that outdated paradigm.

That's my emphasis. Keep in mind that the laws were never so designed before. It may have been true that women did not have the same rights as men. But this new approach is making them have fewer rights than a fetus that cannot survive outside the woman herself. That is just bizarre. And this movement is growing.

Lynn Paltrow at National Advocates for Pregnant Women has been tracking these laws for years and advocating for women to be full citizens in the eyes of the law. In 2010, she wrote a piece for The Huffington Post exposing the move towards "personhood" as part of this sinister agenda. She points out that recognizing the humanity of others has never before come at a cost to an entire class of people. When women were recognized as equal citizens under the constitution, this did not come at a cost to men. She states that "efforts to legally disconnect fetuses and to grant them entirely independent constitutional status would not merely add a new group to the constitutional population: it would effectively denaturalize pregnant women, removing from them their status as constitutional persons."

And you can easily see that at some point these laws would logically have to apply to women who might be pregnant as well --- all women of childbearing age. After all, women engage in all kinds of behavior that might endanger a fetus and they don't always know if they are pregnant. I suppose we could come up with a daily mandatory government test to ensure that a woman isn't impregnated but that dystopian solution will hardly be necessary. What's more likely is that this grows into cultural acceptance backed up by "examples" like the one's listed above in which the government steps in to enforce the social norm. In this formulation, a women's primary value is her childbearing potential. After all, her body could be, might be, the "home" of another person who must be protected from her by the state.

It's hard to imagine that anything like this could happen. But a few years ago I would have thought it absurd that anyone would keep a woman's body alive against her own and her family's wishes to serve as an incubator. I certainly wouldn't have thought there could be specific laws governing such bizarre, science fiction worthy scenarios on the books. I wouldn't have thought that the state would represent the interests of a fetus against the woman outside of whose body it cannot survive, either, or that any woman could be charged with child murder for trying to take her own life. In other words, I would never have believed that the state would define women as a class as the enemies of fetuses, enemies who must be controlled lest they do something to harm them. But it has. And it seems to me that once you have codified a concept so unnatural and so grotesque, you really can't be sure where it will lead.

Update: BTW, it turns out that women very rarely choose not to have an abortion once they see an ultrasound. Apparently, they already knew they were pregnant and what that meant before they made the decision to have an abortion.  Imagine that.

But then the people who instituted these ridiculous laws probably knew that too.  The idea is to punish these women and make them feel guilty. Ultrasounds don't seem to be getting the job done. What's next? Tasers?
.