When is a Person a Person

Women have made huge progress in the last twenty years. We are CEO’s of Fortune Five Hundred Companies, we swim from Cuba to Florida (almost), we are Senators, Representatives, and Secretaries of State. We win Olympic gold medals and we are finally members of Georgia’s Augusta National Golf Club. We are also capable of deciding if we want a baby or an abortion – unless Congress passes a law that says we can’t.

Here comes the Republican Convention. According to CNN, draft language for the 2012 Republican Party platform suggests that it includes support for a constitutional ban on abortion without (even) specifying exclusions in the cases of rape or incest. “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”

You know the Fourteenth Amendment. It is the one that said that blacks could be citizens of the United States. Just to clarify, “The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment commands that no State shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

The questions here is: When is a person a person? The members of the Republican Party think they know.

The man hoping to be the next Vice President of the United States, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, co-authored the Fourteenth Amendment position with Todd Akins who is running for election in Missouri. Akins now famously said if a woman is ‘legitimately raped,’ she can shut her body down. (If only that were true.) Then he changed it to ‘forcibly raped.’ Whoa. Is there any other kind?

Let us be clear. Rape is about power, not sex. Men at war force women to submit for the purpose of impregnating them. (So much for women’s bodies shutting down).

I am a great believer in the sanctity of life. I really am. I don’t know when life begins but I do know that for 5 million children who died of starvation last year in the world, it ended– horribly. One has to wonder how many of those children were born to women who didn’t want them in the first place.

It’s hard to believe that 39,000 children in Marion and Polk Counties in Oregon go hungry every day and that in this country alone, 1.6 million children are hungry or sick or dying because they are homeless.

I am definitely all in for life but I also believe that pregnant women should have the right to decide whether or not they want the baby. It is not a momentary decision. It is a choice she must make that will effect the rest of her days.

What’s behind the Republican platform stance which can so greatly impacts a woman’s life? Religious beliefs? Power? Fear? Money?

And finally, here is a truth. Anti-abortion laws aim squarely at poor women and girls. Rich women will always be able to find a way to get an abortion if they so desire.

3 Responses to When is a Person a Person

  • Bob Chrisman says:

    Oh, not on a Sunday morning when a nice, gentle rain is falling outside, but I’m not one to shy away from controversy.

    The anti-choice/pro-life people are all about protecting the rights of the unborn “child” until it’s born and then the little bugger is all on his or her own to survive in the world. They could care less about the child’s lilfe after it leaves the womb.

    Pro-life people are not about the living, breathing human beings. They want to make sure that fetuses survive until birth and they want to control women’s bodies and keep women as reproduction machines. They are supported by right-wing, fundamentalist Christian churches, the Catholic Church, and the Mormon Church even though individuals within those church may be pro-choice. It’s about producing “warriors” for the religious wars against secular society. Look at those QuiverFull families like the Duggars or the Bates with 19 children all fighters in an imagined war of their god against a secular society.

    The “fetuses as human beings deserving of constitutional protection” concept is obscene at the very best and downright vicious at its worst. The idea that a fetus is more important than the adult who carries it immediately puts women into a special category of second class citizen when she’s pregnant. Every decision she makes should be all about the fetus growing inside her and assuring its survival regardless of what that means to the woman.

    Advocates of fetal personhood are the legal rapists of this century taking possession of women’s bodies with their laws all in the name of power.

    Ask me how I really feel.

    • Beth says:

      For yet another viewpoint, read Wayne Sangster’s Letter to the Editor in today’s Kansas City Star. In part, he writes:
      Lost in the discussions about women’s rights are the facts that the world’s population has passed the 7 billion mark and that 15,000 births an hour compared with 6,316 deaths an hour are now recorded in the world.
      At some point, this growth must stop — the Earth is finite. How can the planet provide the necessities of life for all these people?

  • Dee Dee Dale says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I’ll bet that if one of the daughters of the people who are advocating for this amendment is raped and pregnant, they would be quick to do something about it!

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