Saturday, June 28, 2014

Should a fertilized egg have all the rights of a human being?


Gail Collins at the NY Times offers a rational take on the latest uprisings in the abortion wars. It comes down to whether or not a fertilized egg is a person, she suggests, as she offers a rational discussion of the latest attacks on the reproductive rights of women, including the use of contraceptives. Conservatives typically protest government intervention in their rights, e.g., the gun control issue, but when it comes to a woman's right to decide her health care needs in consultation with her doctor, well, that's a different matter. Those same conservatives urge the government's presence in the doctor's office.

Collins writes:
Let’s talk personhood, people.

Personhood is an anti-abortion movement that holds that life begins at conception, giving fertilized eggs all the rights of a human being. It might make it impossible to kidnap them for in-vitro fertilization. It could outlaw some forms of contraception.

Senator Rand Paul claims every fertilized egg is protected by the 14th Amendment. Many current Senate candidates are personhood supporters, including Cory Gardner, who is running a very close race in Colorado against Mark Udall.

No! Wait! Wait! Cory Gardner just changed his mind. Obviously, this is going to take a little unraveling. Give me a minute.

The abortion issue has been on everyone’s mind lately. On Thursday, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous finding that the 35-foot buffer zones around Massachusetts abortion clinics violated protesters’ freedom of speech. We do not have time to discuss this in detail, except to point out that this decision came from people who work in a building where the protesters aren’t allowed within 250 feet of the front door.

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