Personhood


I really don’t want to get too bogged down in this, because there are just certain subjects that cannot be adequately tackled in a blog post.  Whether it’s 200 or 2,000 words, it won’t be enough, so I’m going to keep this brief.

There was a vote in Mississippi to define a fertilized egg as possessing ‘personhood.’  The bill failed.  Shucks.

It is quite a compelling argument to claim that personhood begins at fertilization.  Putting aside the fact that this law would ban abortion (at any stage), many birth control methods and quite possibly in-vitro fertilization, I think this raises some more pressing questions.

If full personhood begins at conception and not birth:

Should the consumption of alcohol be legal at 20?

Should the voting age be dropped to 17?  And the age of consent to 15 (in most states)?

Could 24-year-olds rent cars?

Will 64-year-olds get Medicare?  (An ironic quandary, considering Republicans are trying to raise the age to 67.)

Shouldn’t we be celebrating Conceptiondays, not Birthdays?

If you think about it, if personhood begins when Mr. Sperm and Ms. Egg first meet, isn’t birth just an arbitrary day in all of our lives?  Certainly, all the mothers I know tell me that the day their child was born was just like any other boring day in their life.  Nothing special.  It was the night they screwed to conceive that baby that they felt their life truly change.

Alas, the bill didn’t pass, so for now we won’t have to tangle with these tough questions.

But don’t worry, I’m sure some other state will try this again.

I’ll leave you with this totally sane and wonderfully logical ranting teaching from that great thinker, Pat Robertson:

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4 thoughts on “Personhood

  1. I remember listening to a stand up comedian, whose name escapes me right now, do a bit about how he believed that “most, if not ALL of the problems in the United States would be solved if we just decided to break up into 2 United States, the “Absolutely NO abortion USA and the other United States where all the sane and compassionate people would live.”

    • Nice, sounds familiar. Also reminds me of Daniel Tosh’s bit about having another civil war because “these Nascar fans have gotten out of control.”

    • The connection between the proposed bill and the reasoning given in this blog post seems tenuous at best.

      1) Being born will *always* be a significant life-changing event, because it represents the emergence from one living environment into another one very different indeed.

      2) Regardless of the moment one becomes a “person” in the eyes of the law, this would still just be a written definition in a book somewhere, subject to interpretation and use by those of whom it is interpreted and used.

      3) The blog post seems to presume that there is some tenable established viewpoint that considers a human being less than a person the moment before birth, and that such viewpoint could be threatened by a proposal such as the one in the mentioned bill.

      • Actually, the blog post seems to presume that people have a sense of humor, and that is probably the biggest mistake it made.

        Did I forget to use the /sarcasm/ font?

        This post wasn’t about the moment of birth, it was about the idea that a fertilized egg could be considered a person. I was mocking the extreme nature of the proposed bill (and playfully suggesting extreme slippery slopes).

        I’ll try to be clearer next time.

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