Obsessing about the repurcussions of the passage of a Personhood Amendment to state and federal Constitutions: The more I think about it, the more WHAT IF questions I have. That obsession started several years ago when a high-profile, fundamentalist evangelical minister said to me directly with no qualifiers:
I believe that anyone who gets an abortion, administers an abortion or assists in an abortion is commiting a murder punishable by death. He said it twice, to be clear.
My critical thinking skills were stunned into submission at the time, but they are not now. Theassisting , as prosecutable, has implications that would affect far more than the physician. Would those assists include the anesthesiologist; assisting nurses; emeregency room personnel; lab techs; the ward clerk who scheduled the procedure; Maintenance and Housekeeping personnel; utility companies who provided the elecricity, water and gas; and disposal providers like Stericycle? Google it.
The problem is: Personhood is now on the 2012 GOP Platform which they proclaim violates the 14th Amendment, redefined.
Here's how a signed-into-law Personhood Amendment might look:
"The Personhood Amendment states that "the paramount right to life is vested in each human being from the moment of fertilization [calculated 2 weeks prior to that fertilization] without regard to age, race, sex, health, function or condition of dependency. The right to life is the paramount and most fundamental right of a person."
[Seems they forgot to include the part about personhood starting 2 weeks before fertilization which they are now referring to as 'from their earliest biological beginnings.']
The entire Roe vs. Wade argument pivots on the definition of personhood.
In the decision written by Justice Harry Blackmun, he stated, "(If the) suggestion of personhood [of the preborn] is established, the [abortion rights] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment." (via personhood.net)
14th Amendment Text: Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution#Text)
Homework: Define born
If a one-second-old Person [minus two weeks] or zygote, if you will, has full rights as a United States citizen according to the Constitution based on the 14th Amendment, what would that mean, exactly?
~ Does it mean that one or both parents or grandparents, or anybody, really, can take out a life insurance policy on that person? If so, in the event of a termination via natural causes, would an insurance company pay off? On multiples?
~ Does that mean the one-second-old person [minus two weeks] will be counted by the Census Bureau, to say, oh, I don't know, redestrict political maps?
~ Does that mean that with every natural miscarriage a formal funeral and a proper burial must be held? How will that work? I worry about this one. A lot.
~ Does that mean that a Head of Household can claim that 'person' as an income tax deduction or qualify for Dependent Care credits?
~ Does that mean that one-second-old person [minus two weeks] would then qualify as an heir to an estate?
~ Does that mean the one-second-old [minus two weeks] of a qualifying family would be listed as a recipient and receive benefits from Medicaid or Aid to Families with Dependent Children? Do you see where this could go?
~ Does that mean, when applying for Social Security Benefits or Medicare, their true age would start 9 months and two weeks earlier? How about Drivers' Licenses? Legal Drinking Ages? Voting rights? Starting Pre-K and Kindergarten? Enrolling in the Military? So, would the moment of conception [minus two weeks] go on the birth certificate or the date and time of being extracted from the womb? That sounds weird, I know, but think about it.
~ Does that mean the rules regarding age restrictions in the participation of intramural sports, including football, at each grade level in the public school system will be lowered based on the date of fertilization minus 2 weeks? Some would argue that would be a collateral benefit...