This month marks the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling, and TIME‘s recent article, “What Choice? Abortion-rights activists won an epic victory in Roe v Wade. They’ve been losing every since” makes some disturbing points. Here are a few stand outs: Continue reading “Roe v Wade at 40”
First, hats off to reproductive rights supporters who won last night!
If we had elected a “personhood” President, there would be cause for great concern. While personhood and abortion were hot issues during the campaign, one aspect related to both that didn’t seem to come up like it could of, at least in my observation, is the discussion of the definitive answer to the question, When does human life begin?
Anti-abortion factions are stuck on “the moment of conception” as the answer. But as Tamara Mann writes in her Huffpo piece, “Heartbeat: My Involuntary Miscarriage and ‘Voluntary Abortion’ in Ohio:”
“There is little consensus among biologists, doctors and ethicists on when life begins. The language here can be tricky. There all sorts of things they agree are alive — from cells, to animals, to people. But that is not what they mean when they discuss life in utero. In this case, they mean life as something endowed with humanness, and worthy of rights…”
It is not just about whether something is “alive,” but at what point is it human life, or the term that has now been used in many of the legislative attempts to prevent abortions – personhood.
As Mann points out “…the literature reveals a litany (italics mine) of standards for determining personhood: conception (day 1), implantation (day 6-7), detectable heartbeat (approximately week 6), detectable brain activity (approximately week 8), quickening (when the mother can feel the fetus moving), development of the cerebral cortex (at the end of the first trimester), viability outside the mother’s body (now as early as 24 weeks with medical support), when the head is visible during labor, and when the baby takes its first breath. Smart, thoughtful people genuinely disagree.”
And really smart people in the highest court in the land have not come to the answer. Even as far back as 1973, the Supreme Court indicated that people trained in “respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus” and the Court itself “could not resolve the question of when life begins.”
Where do many people go for the answer to this question? To their church. When her doctor told her fetus was “not compatible with life” – that it would not “survive the pregnancy” and that it should be removed, this is what Ms. Mann did.
The fetus had a heartbeat, she was not sure what to do, and went to a rabbi for counsel. She learned that “In Judaism, the dominant metaphor for life is not the heartbeat — it is the breath. In Genesis 2:7, God breathes life into man: ‘Then the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man become a living soul.’ Even that final word, soul, nefesh, can be translated as breath.”
Jewish law errs on the side of the mother’s health, and does not see a fetus as “a life.” As Jodi Jacobson, Editor-in-chief of RH Reality Check describes it, Jewish law “does not recognize an egg, embryo, or fetus as a person or full human being, but rather ‘part and parcel of the pregnant women’s body,’ the rights of which are subjugated to the health and well-being of the mother until birth.”
The Vatican disagrees, and see the fertilized egg is a “person” with full rights under the law. The United Methodist Church – it sees it differently and “recognizes the primacy of the rights and health of women.” And “Islamic scholars, like Jewish scholars, have debated the issues of ‘ensoulment’ and personhood, and continue to do so with no over-riding consensus.”
There is clearly not one answer to the question of personhood. The problem is the “Moment of Conceptionists” do not accept this, and feel so right about their religious position they want all of us to follow it.
As we head into the next four years, expect this contingent to continue to attempt to make personhood, not Roe v Wade, the law of the land. Expect them to try and chip away at this law any way they can.
However, we will have a president at the helm who can make sure the highest Court continues to see the answer to “when life begins” for what it is – a matter of personal belief, and the right to privacy to make personal choices based on those beliefs.
On August 28th, the 2012 We Believe in America Republican Platform was approved. It supports a human life amendment to the Constitution, which would ban all abortions, even in the case of incest and rape. The problem with this part of the platform is Continue reading “An Inconvenient Abortion Truth”
Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund recently talked about “The Other 99%” in her post about forces going after restricting access to birth control. Fact: “99% of women in the U.S. who have been sexually active have used birth control. It’s used by women of every demographic, every geographic location, every income level — and every religious group.” She asks, “So does it sound crazy that a small group of religious leaders and tea-party Republicans are fighting to eliminate women’s access to birth control? Crazy but true… Continue reading “Another 99% and 1%: This time related to Contraception”
The recent number of proposed anti-abortion bills is alarming.
Not only does the House want to go after all funding for Planned Parenthood even though by law no government funds can be used for abortions services already, but… Continue reading “What’s Scariest About Proposed Pro-Life Bills”
In September I wrote about pro-life women candidates running in the mid term elections. How did they do?
On pro-life female Senate candidates… Continue reading “Pro-Life Women Mid-Term Election Winners”
Watching Christine O’Donnell win this the primary in Delaware brought to mind other conservative pro-life women who ran in the primaries, some of whom are now going to be in the mid term elections. But let’s start with O’Donnell. Not only pro life, she goes even farther as an anti masturbation advocate! Insane. Now this clip is from … Continue reading “Pro Life Women in the Coming Mid Term Elections”
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard, is being “heralded as …the vanguard of a new breed of ‘pro-women, pro-life’ feminists” in the mold of Sarah Palin’s conservative pro-life agenda.
And she’s not the only one in this so called new breed–in the recent primaries, Sharron Angle from Nevada won the nomination for the U.S. Senate. Susana Martinez was nominated for governor in New Mexico. Nikki Haley will run for governor in South Carolina. If Jane Norton wins in August, she will be a pro-life Senate candidate from Colorado. If Kelly Ayotte wins in September, she’ll be a pro-life Senate candidate from New Hampshire.
Are these pro-life women truly feminists? I think not. Continue reading “Such a Thing as a Pro-Life Feminist? Not!”