Essay:Personhood in Colorado

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In the November 2008 election, when our Country will ask itself “Do we really want more of the same?”, and when we will look at where were have been and where we want to go, Colorado residents will be asked to vote on a preposterous idea which states that by law a fertilized egg is now a fully realized person with rights equal to that of the woman in which it resides.

Please contemplate that for a moment. A fertilized egg that has a 70-90% chance of being passed out of the body before it even implants, and a 40-60% chance of being naturally aborted in the first month after implantation, and a 25% chance of being naturally aborted at some point during pregnancy will now have the same rights as a woman who has lived at least 13 years on this Earth and who has managed to survive at least the most basic of life’s trials.

A fertilized egg that cannot think, or feel, or wonder, or wish, or hope, or dream, or contemplate, or learn, or rationalize will be given equal footing with a woman who has hopes, and dreams, and thoughts and ideas, and wishes and opinions about this world, her place in this world, and what footprints she wants to leave on this world.

It is already enough that a woman who finds herself pregnant, in any of the myriad of situations that might exist, must decide for herself if she is willing to undergo the extreme changes to her body and her life due to pregnancy, and must decide for herself if she is willing to face the many risks to her health and her life associated with even the safest of pregnancies --- now some small lunatic fringe of Christian Right-to-Lifers in Colorado (or actually, in California, but that’s a different topic for a different day) want to tell this same woman that the ante has been upped, and she must give the fetus inside herself the same rights as herself in any decision she makes. The principal right, of course, is the right for each to live, thus making “on demand” or “non-emergency” abortions fully illegal.

So what if she is 16, and has worked diligently to be the first person in her family in a position to go to college. So what if she is about to graduate from the US Air Force as a fighter pilot to help her country bring Freedom & Democracy ™ to the world. So what if she has dreams of performing her first ever lead role in the American Ballet Company. So what if she is poised to be the first female President of the United States. Her formed wishes, meticulously planned ideas, casual hopes, carefully crafted paths, and random unexpected but anticipated chances must be placed on equal footing with those of a 1 day old cell, which has a better chance of dying in utero than the average American has of graduating high school.

And, since medical research, often conducted to help women who have multiple unsuccessful pregnancies, has determined that possible reasons so many fertilized eggs do not implant within the womb could include: stress on the woman’s body, caffeine, alcohol consumption, being too thin, being too fat, dieting, not dieting, flying, too much exercise, too little exercise, and a host of other potential causes, does this mean that women of child bearing age who are sexually active must necessarily give up all these things in order that any fertilized egg is not accidentally cast aside by the body due to this woman’s clearly unethical and unmoral cups of coffee or desire to minimize a headache or add flavor to her dinner?

And, since the killing of another person is a crime, whether you intended to kill them or not, shall women who are on birth control (which is intended to make the womb inhospitable, just in case conception does occur) be tried for murder? Shall a woman with an IUD be tried for walking around with a lethal weapon? Shall all women under any circumstance be required to turn in their monthly menstrual pads to the police, and if upon examination, it is found that an unfertilized egg be present, shall they go to court with records proving they did not take any ibuprofen the month prior?

It is not merely sickening that these attacks on women’s lives and freedoms happen, but that the society at large does not immediately call the proponents of these laws the hacks they are. We legitimize the criminalization of womanhood by allowing such discussions to take place in the public sector as a legitimate argument.

When we write laws that make a non-viable, “potential” human as important as the “vessel” that carries it; when we say to women “your worth and desires are merely equal to that of the child you carry within you”, we say to women as a whole, “Your only value to society is ability to procreate.” We just watched a historical battle of what could have been the first female US president, while knowing we as a society are talking about legitimately saying to her, should you find yourself pregnant, at any time, you must stop all activities that could possibly damage this child, cause you, possible first female president of the United States, simply are not worth very much in our collective eyes.--WaitingforGodot 12:11, 7 July 2008 (EDT)

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