My Problem with the idea of “Personhood”

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is the opinion of StateoftheLinds and reflects only her views and not necessarily those of fellow writers at Team Hellions.  Blogged with permission.  www.stateofthelinds.wordpress.com

Okay (breathe deeply. Exhale) I have been sitting on a post about the contemporary idea of “Personhood” for quite awhile. I want to take this idea out of the context of abortion and just discuss how asinine it is all on it’s own after a brief explanation.

“Personhood” (if you’re living under a rock) is the idea that a fetus is a fully formed person from the moment on conception. Many laws have been introduced (and defeated) asking that a fetus be granted full rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness the moment an egg and sperm meet and do the divide on conquer dance.

Now, as a disclaimer, I wish no offense to many of the mothers and fathers out there who consider their baby a complete person from the moment they know of it’s existence. What happens in your family is awesome. However, medically and legally, it is a fetus.

Here is my somewhat juvenile blogger research courtesy of the internet dictionary with the definition of a “fetus”: The unborn young of a viviparous vertebrate having a basic structural resemblance to the adult animal.

It is a simple celled organism residing inside a host. Essentially, and very un-poetically, a fetus is a parasite.

I have a problem with the fact that the “Personhood” movement seems to think that a fetus is just a very tiny perfect replica of the host. They actually look quite different. A fetus also cannot exist outside of it’s host, so why should it be granted more rights then the host? Should it be able to vote while in the uterus? Drink? Drive? Marry? Start a rock band? If a fetus is a person, what happens when it is born? Do all these rights then end at birth until they are of the legal age to do many of the activities listed above? And why does making a fetus a “person” make them more important then the host/mother?

And beyond just the issues above, the problem with the “Personhood” idea comes from the fact that passing such laws would allow the mothers (aka Host) to be prosecuted for miscarriages or abortions. I’d rather not get into an abortion debate at this precise moment, so let’s talk about miscarriages. LOTS, and I mean LOTS of pregnancies are never even known about and miscarry naturally. Sometimes babies are very much wanted and loved, and yet the mother’s body just cannot carry a baby to term. Many times there are extenuating circumstances where there are life threatening events to both the mother, fetus, or both, and a potential child who would have been very loved is lost. Should all of these women be prosecuted because their inability to fully gestate this “person” makes her a murderer? There are so many women I know who have miscarried, who were physically and emotionally torn up over this event, why would anyone wish on them criminal proceedings? Why are we punishing women instead of supporting them?

How about the global impact? If the “Personhood” amendments became law it would mean that EVERY. SINGLE. FETUS would be brought to full gestation regardless of harm to the mother or severe birth defect in the fetus, even if it dies moments after birth. Who cares about the pain of the parents? It is saying that the parents in no way should be allowed to make choices in regards to the fetus until it’s born, that the government should have all the say. Cause they know better. Um, yeah. About that. Let’s also talk population. Our Earth is already stretched to capacity with humanity, what is a few more million? We can just clear some more of those trees and deplete precious natural resources.

One of the most bothersome ideas of “Personhood” also means that birth-control, under their direction, would be outlawed. They mistakenly identify birth-control as abortion pills rather then contraceptive, which would lead to a major spike in births. I take birth control, both for the assigned reason, and then to also treat my hellaciously heavy and painful periods. I can’t scream this enough…birth control is for more then just controlling births! If you have PCOS (Poly-Cystic Ovary Symptom) it means you use birth-control to regulate your period so a woman can get pregnant! Their fear is that birth-control makes women sluts, when really it allows us to make the correct reproductive choices for our own bodies. On the opposite end of the spectrum, it would also mean that individuals seeing reproductive help in CONCIEVING offspring would not be allowed. Think of couples who use IVF (Invitro Fertilization) for whatever reason. Their frozen embryos are babies-in-waiting, so that would be illegal. Can’t have potential humans just hanging out in a freezer. Do you see the flawed logic here?! Even couples who WANT DEAPERATELY to have children would be screwed over this theory.Our economic resources are stretched too. Everyone in the “Personhood” movement is so focused on getting the fetus to baby status that they aren’t considering what happens after? Many of the people fighting for “Personhood” also support cutting public welfare funding, which directly affects the people who would need it the most—the poor. They don’t care what happens after a baby is born, as long as the FETUS GETS BORN. After that, the “Personhood” people will leave the parenting and cost of raising them to you, even if you cannot afford it.

This idea is just completely backwards and has no business being introduced into the legal system. Many radical conservatives don’t want the government involved in THEIR bodies, but are perfectly fine with it interfering in everyone else’s. They assume that they know better then anyone what is best for them. They don’t care about the rights of women or of families. They’re shoving their views down everyone’s throats.

And perhaps that is what you think I am doing. However, this is just a little blog, not law. I am totally fine with your CHOICE to choose to have a family, heck, have 20 kids, that is your right. Make as many little “persons” as you want. I have just as much right to make none. Everyone should have the CHOICE either way.

Choosing to be Pro-Choice is about more then just abortion issues, it is about understanding that every person and/or family is perfectly qualified to CHOOSE the way they want to live their life. Without interference from me, you, or the government.

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