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Legal Personhood for Fetuses

World Net Daily story:

A team of Coloradans wants to exploit a loophole in the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned state laws banning abortion - by simply stating that an unborn child, from the moment of fertilization, is a person.

In a comprehensive plan that would ban all abortions, the Colorado Equal Rights organization is trying something that hasn't been accomplished - yet - in the battle against abortion.

"It is the only way we're going to bring before the Supreme Court the issue of personhood. It's a subject they have dodged for the last 30-plus years. It's an issue that needs to be addressed," spokesman Mark Meuser told WND.

The "hole" in Roe v. Wade is the little-publicized comment from Justice Harry Blackmun, author of the 1973 opinion, in which he noted, "[If the] suggestion of personhood [for the unborn] is established, the [abortion rights] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment."


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Comments (7)

bryanD:

Conception is the start of the continuum of human existence.

Even abortionists call their procedure a "Termination". Termination means stopping that which has already begun.

"Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee..."Jeremiah 1:5

Both sides agree then? Good!

bryanD:

As for the legality?

"The law is an ass." _Samuel Johnson (I think!)

Paul Hamilton:

bryan, for starters, we aren't a theocracy, so our legal system isn't based on holy books. Also, while there may be a "continuum" of human *spiritual* existence, what matters for the purposes of the law is that defines life, because obviously someone who is not alive has no rights.

I'd argue that the same standard for life should apply at the beginning of life as it does at the end -- the presence of brain waves. So until brain waves are present in the fetus, it's not alive and should not have equal status to a living human being.

bryanD:

"...because obviously someone who is not alive has no rights."_Paul Hamilton

I'll ignore the obvious "someone", but growth itself is a sign of life. Except for hair and fingernails, of course!

"...for starters, we aren't a theocracy..."

Science recognizes conception as the beginning of life. If pregancy were a tumour, Planned Parenthood would change its name. The anti-tumour/alien/cyst league for women (or something).

C'mon! "Reproductive Freedom"? Note the "re-" prefix.

mantis:

This has been tried before.

In any case, if a state were to declare all fertilized eggs and beyond to be persons, I would look forward to the countless investigations into miscarried pregnancies (anywhere from 25-75%). That should be fun.

bryanD:

mantis:

All miscarried pregancies are of human beings. Each human being has a soul and is thus a child of God, known before the foundation of this world by Him (the soul being the intellect of the spirit).

As for "countless" whatczimicallits: take it up with DJ Drummond :)

ie: make the lawyers earn their pay, compare necktie length, knock themselves out, etc.

Paul Hamilton:

bryan, since you've been using biblical arguments to back up your POV, it's important to note that all living things, human and animal alike, have souls. You're probably talking about "spirit," which is the image of God. Spirit is immortal, soul begins and ends with the beginning and end of life. And, also according to the bible, the law did *not* consider the unborn to be humans, but rather treats them as property, causing a monetary penalty instead of "life for life."

And just because God has foreknowledge -- which I believe is due to the fact he exists outside of time -- does not mean that something always exists. A human being comes into physical existence, lives, dies and passes from physical existence.

But obvious all of this is way beyond the proper place of government. There are medically-sound ways of determining if a person is alive and those are the standards which should be used.

Jay, yes there are laws regarding the proper treatment of corpses just as there are for the proper treatment of animals, but that's not the same as the *rights* which are granted to human beings. I believe the key her is the respect for self-determination, and that's what defines our rights. Animals are considered to NOT have self-determination -- thus you cannot just let your dog run loose and bite people at his own whim, but rather the owner (another non-human concept since slavery ended) of the dog is expected to both control the animal and to treat it properly. And if a human being is dead, there's no self-determination there either, and thus the concept of rights would not apply.

The other stuff you mentioned would be property law, and it would exist for the benefit of the person's survivors, not the dead person.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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