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Opinion

Threatening your rights

SoVaNow.com / October 18, 2012
Dear Viewpoint,

The idea of “personhood” for embryos and fetuses has been in the news in recent months, but lost in the discussion has been an explicit accounting of the legal implications of such legislation.

The 2012 Republican Party platform states, “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.” This statement is very general for a reason: when you get specific, things get legally complicated and unpopular with voters.

“Unborn children” brings to mind a third trimester fetus that is viable outside the womb. But the generality of this phrase means that all stages of gestational development are included, starting at conception.

This concept has implications that are obvious and others that aren’t: clearly, all abortions would be illegal. Pregnancies resulting from rape and incest would have to be carried to term, as well as pregnancies that threaten the woman’s life. Violating this prohibition would presumably result in a murder charge.

Then there’s oral contraception, “the pill.” Birth control pills work mainly by preventing ovulation from occurring. However, there is also evidence that the pill may prevent implantation of a fertilized egg to the uterine wall. This means “personhood” would likely be the end of the pill. The exact legalities are unclear, but unlike other illegal drugs, taking birth control pills could carry a charge of attempted murder.

In-vitro fertilization involves the loss or “death” of some fertilized eggs, so its legality would be seriously threatened. Frozen fertilized eggs would instantly become American citizens, a legal quandary I can’t even imagine. Stem cell research would be yet another casualty of “personhood.”

This is the official position of the Republican Party.

Sincerely,
Aylor Talbott

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