Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Oh, Goody

And here I thought it was just the fundamentalist fringe in Colorado pushing the fertilized-egg-as-full-person legislation. No. No, no, no. Five other states (Georgia, Montana, Oregon, Mississippi, Michigan) are considering similar ballot measures to give two-day-old, non-implanted fertilized eggs the same legal standing as you and me. More importantly to the walking incubators housing them, the two-four-eight-sixteen-cell clusters would have legal standing trumping the autonomous personhoods of the living, breathing women housing them.

Not surprisingly, the host of murky legal ramifications are being dismissed with a sniff by the pro-blastocyst contingent.
Any contraceptive that interfered with the ability of a fertilized egg to implant in the womb could be considered person-destroying and banned, reproductive rights groups suggested. Examples include intrauterine devices and birth-control pills, which may affect implantation in some cases.

Also, the entire enterprise of in-vitro fertilization — which involves creating embryos in laboratories for couples trying to conceive — could be brought to a halt if these embryos were deemed to be persons with legal rights, others suggest.

In Colorado, Kristi Burton, the driving force behind the proposed “personhood” initiative, shrugs off questions about these potential impacts, calling them “pretty much scare tactics.” Referring to critics of her initiative, she says that “they realize this issue is simple and they don’t have an answer for it. They cannot say when this (embryo) becomes a person. We do.”

Hmmm. The cautions sounded by reasonable people following the proposed legislation to its logical conclusion are being pooh-poohed as "scare tactics" designed to discourage support for the referendum. Where have I heard that before? Ah, yes, I heard it in the runup to the 2006 ballot measures intended to ban same-sex marriage. When the reality-based community pointed out that the proposed constitutional amendments would prevent state, county, and municipal governments and institutions from extending healthcare benefits to the domestic partners of their employees (and any children in those relationships not legally related to the employees), the conservatives accused them of engaging in, yes, scare tactics to erode support for the anti-gay amendments. It's just about the sanctity of marriage, they tutted, and nothing else.

Except that it wasn't.

Shortly after the amendments passed, conservative groups filed lawsuits forcing states to rescind benefits to the domestic partners of state employees. The ink was barely dry on the freaking paper. Well, they said, after looking at it a little closer the new law really doesn't leave us any choice but to bring these suits. Who knew? Sorry.

And they expect us to believe that this will be any different? Learn to love condoms, y'all, since that's just about all you'll have left. Until, that is, sperm and unfertilized eggs are declared full persons too, which will put condoms squarely in dutch with the First Amendment's right to free association.

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