Monday, July 25, 2022

Supreme Court's Overturning Of Roe - Based On "Fetal Personhood" - Makes Women Criminals Even In Case Of Miscarriage

                     Women protesters in 'Handmaid' attire recognizing their post- Roe future 
                                "Pro life" white women howling. What would any of them really do if impregnated, say by a black rapist?  Would they be that frickin' self righteous?  I seriously doubt it.

 "Recently NPR reported on the ordeal of Elizabeth Weller, a Houston woman whose water broke at 18 weeks. With little amniotic fluid left, her fetus had almost no chance of survival. Continuing the pregnancy put Weller at risk of infection and hemorrhage. She decided to terminate, but when her doctor arrived at the hospital to perform the procedure, she wasn’t allowed to because of Texas’ abortion ban. The fetus still had a heartbeat, and Weller didn’t yet show signs of severe medical distress. She waited for days, getting sicker, until a hospital ethics board ruled that she could be induced. Weller’s story is at once shocking and, to anyone who has followed the issue closely, totally predictable. Even before the Supreme Court allowed states to ban abortion." Michelle Goldberg, NY Times, 'The Anti-Abortion Movement is in Denial'

Jakub Grygiel And Rebeccah Heinrichs, One a Catholic Poly-Sci Prof, the other a hack at the Hudson Inst. recently coughed up this bollocks ('Biden’s Abortion Politics Will Hurt America’s World Standing',  WSJ, July 23-24, p. A15):

"Dobbs isn’t a stain on America’s standing in the world. To the contrary, it upholds what the Biden foreign- policy agenda purports to employ as an organizing principle for the free world: democratic self-governance."  

 Of course this is poppycock, as I will show. Above all, as noted in a recent Mother Jones piece ('Miscarriage of Justice',  July- Aug., p. 22) the massive scam of "fetal personhood" on which the Dobbs decision is based opens the door to wholesale prosecution of pregnant women for any and all bogus reasons. For example, any loss of fetus, say in miscarriage, can be cause for potential prosecution in some red states.  (More on this below).  As author Cecilia Powell observes: "You can't add fetuses to the community of individuals entitled to constitutional rights without diminishing the rights of the person carrying the fetus."

Recall back in 2014 a Colorado Republican amendment surfaced which stated that: "fertilized human egg is a person, whether in a woman's uterus or in a test tube."  (cf. Denver Post, Aug. 21, p. 2A, 2014) .

Let's leave aside for the moment the fact that no sane person in his or her right mind can possibly regard a "zygote" as a person, or a fetus as an "unborn child". There is simply no standard by which that passes even elemental laws or tests of logic, or science.  A child cannot be "unborn" because by definition it is already born!  Thus, we send the 'child' to school, to take his medicine and so on. If unborn, it's a fetus, not a "child". Don't these ignorant twits know any better?

Meanwhile, a person, a human person, must have at least minimal capacity for basic cognition and rudimentary choice. It must possess a brain, at the very least, which evinces definite brain waves. Anything that doesn't is a quasi proto-human entity, but clearly not a person. The logical error made is called the "genetic fallacy" as first pointed out by Antony Flew in his marvelous monograph, 'Thinking About Thinking'. . That is, arguing that because a thing is going to become something, it IS something. It would be like me picking up an acorn and claiming it's an oak tree. Nope. No way.

Then there is the aspect of unintended consequences, which I actually believe drove most sane Christians to vote against it. Consider here, that if (by the dictates of the amendment) the destruction of fertilized eggs is outlawed then that would mean wholesale banning of various birth control devices. For example, it would ban the use of all IUDs, or intra-uterine devices, by virtue of the fact that while they permit fertilization they impede the attachment of the fertilized egg to the uterine wall. Hence, any woman using one would -by the letter of the law- be eligible for imprisonment, perhaps up to five years or more.

The morning after pill would also be criminal to use, because its primary benefit is to interfere with the fertilization. The pill delays ovulation or thickens cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg, meaning that fertilization can't occur. Beyond that, it is certainly plausible that any pregnant women deemed to exhibit "dire disrespect for the life of the zygote" might be taken in by the pro-fertilization cops. For example, if caught having one too many at a bar, or lighting up a toke - say at a party. Even if they participate in an event (say 5K run) deemed not to be in their best interest.

DO we really, really want to go there? Have some possible poor guy in some dark, zealot-driven future emerge as a test case to face execution for committing a "holocaust" via release of semen outside of an act of potential conception?

The way the original Colo. Personhood Amendment was written if a pregnant woman has an abortion she’d be charged with first degree murder or if she smokes cigarettes and anything goes amiss she could be charged with child abuse. There is a definite cautionary tale here for the Dobbs decision future and how its analogous fetal personhood nonsense can go awry.  Examples cited for the original Colo. amendment, include (ibid.):

-        -In 2004, Melissa Ann Rowland was charged with murder in Utah after one of her twins was stillborn. Doctors had warned her to get a C-section and she refused. She eventually received 18 months probation for the lesser counts of child endangerment.

-      - In 2009, Samantha Burton showed signs of premature labor at 25 weeks pregnant. Her doctor found she wasn’t in labor  but refused to allow her to leave a Florida hospital for a second opinion and obtained a court order requiring Burton to undergo all medical procedures the doctor advised. The baby, which was then removed by C-section, was stillborn. Only later did a higher court agree the woman’s rights were violated.

-      -  In 2010, Christine Taylor fell down the stairs after feeling lightheaded. After confiding to a nurse she considered abortion at one point in her pregnancy she was arrested for attempted suicide.   

           - In October, 2021, Brittney Proclaw was charged with feticide after a medical examiner found traces of meth in the liver and brain of her miscarried fetus.

     Then there is the insane codswallop - evident in several links below- that children ought to be made to carry a pregnancy to term- destroying their bodies, minds and risking life. 

   This religio-political insanity - inanity is possible when the promoters (like the misguided whitey females in the bottom graphic) don't grasp the basics of principled ethics. Fortunately, Cheryl Mendelson - former Ethics professor does - which is why she has written ('The Good Life', p. 157):

    "The premoral mind confuses the disgusting with the wrong and retains an infantile fear of things sexual. Its rationality is overcome by emotion, fantasy, wish and projection. The belief that extracting a 10-week fetus from a woman's womb is murder rests to a large extent on the sense of disgust aroused by the thought of destruction of living tissue.

"When fundamentalists insist on risking the life of the mother to deliver an anencephalic fetus they take this tendency to an extreme. People who think this way are unable to override disgust with rational appreciation of the objective characteristics of the fetus. The ability to do so is an indispensable trait of the moral mind."

In other words, the basis for a truly moral mind presumes the capacity for rationality to assess choices objectively - as opposed to emotively.  This is something I've written about a number of times before.  Mendelson again (p. 159) reminding the zealots how often nature aborts:

"Nature sloughs off early pregnancies at a high rate and we do not hold funerals for these embryos and early fetuses.  As many as 60 to 70 percent of fertilized eggs are lost overall, usually silently - without anyone ever knowing fertilization took place. Up to 15 percent of known pregnancies miscarry in the first trimester. Were we to take seriously the morbid pseudo-moralism of the fundamentalist Right, we would recognize these countless millions of miscarried embryos and fetuses as lost lives and be sunk in a vast and permanent sea of endless mourning for the unending deaths of innocents."

Why don't the anti-abortionists have this endless mourning for the dead embryos, fetuses? Well, first - because there are too many and they'd never have an end to funerals or morbid grief - as Mendelson points out. Second,  because the premoral mind only makes a federal case out of it when individual women are seen trekking to Planned Parenthood for abortions!  IF those were carried out silently, discreetly in private (like nature does),  say using an abortion pill-  none of this would be known and no anti-abortion hysteria could exist.  Mendelson also goes on to make a point regarding the false moral righteousness of those like Alito, e.g. p. 160.

"To equate the termination of an early pregnancy with the death, indeed the murder, of an infant or child is not merely morally uncalled for but dangerous. It implicitly demeans the value of real people's lives, both adults' and children's, and confuses the reasons why we protect them so vigilantly. If our moral obligations to one another are abstracted from our capacities for feeling, thinking, intending and wanting - from everything that makes us human and forms the ground for our care and protection of each other- we are thrown back into a premoral kind of thinking.

To regard the destruction of insensate agglomerations of cells that contain human DNA as the destruction of a person's life is to step outside the moral into the brutal and dangerously irrational kind of thought that substitutes taboo for reason. It is a regression to quasi-magical thinking."

But this is exactly the 'doctrine' of fetal personhood is total twaddle. It is morally reprehensible,  garbed in false piety, and subject to overzealous prosecution of millions of innocent women.  What will it take to get these fanatics - like the women shown protesting abortion- to see the light?  It will take acceptance of the fact that neither the fertilized egg, embryo or fetus are "ensouled" or "sacred" entities.  They are simply early biological manifestations of another primate species on one planet.  In view of all this, Mendelson's final words are perhaps most trenchant:

"Do those people who oppose abortion or contraception on the basis of religious tenets have the right to impose their religious views on people who reject them?  

 The moral answer, emphatically, enshrined as law in the United States Constitution, is no. People are within their rights to attempt to persuade others to adopt and live by their religious ideas but not to force them to do so using laws and the power of government."

More apropos and relevant words have not been spoken.  But whether any of the pro Life hypocrites will respect them is another matter.

See Also:

by Alex Henderson | August 1, 2022 - 7:55am | permalink

— from Alternet


Over the years, countless abortion rights activists have warned that overturning Roe v. Wade would create a surge in women dying from illegal and dangerous back-alley abortions, which were common before the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its Roe decision in 1973. But back-alley abortions are by no means the only reason why pregnancies, planned or unplanned, could prove dangerous or fatal for American women now that the High Court, after 49 years, has overturned Roe with its widely protested ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Conservative Washington Post opinion writer Jennifer Rubin, in her July 27 column, lays out some of the many reasons why planned or unplanned pregnancies could become more dangerous for women in the post-Roe United States.


What Pregnancy and Childbirth Do to the Bodies of Young Girls - The New York Times 


by Joan McCarter | July 24, 2022 - 6:40am | permalink


by Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan | July 23, 2022 - 5:55am | permalink

— from Democracy Now!


With the U.S. Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade, a grave miscarriage of justice is rippling across the country. Abortion ban "trigger laws," written to take effect immediately upon the defeat of Roe, are being implemented. Abortion ban exceptions for victims of rape or incest are being stripped away. These unprecedented restrictions on what was until recently a national, constitutional right came into laser focus recently, when a ten-year-old rape victim traveled from her home in Ohio to Indiana to obtain a medication abortion. The vicious attacks that she and her Indiana-based physician experienced should serve as a warning to us all of the extremely dangerous era we have entered.

On July 1st, the Indianapolis Star published the shocking story about the young rape victim. This was just one week to the day after the Supreme Court had issued its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, overturning Roe. Hours after the decision, Ohio implemented its six-week abortion ban, which had been blocked since 2019 as unconstitutional. The story described how patients seeking abortion care were flooding into Indiana from neighboring states with severe abortion restrictions like Kentucky and Ohio.


by Amanda Marcotte | July 22, 2022 - 7:31am | permalink

— from Salon


It the wake of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Center, the Supreme Court case that overturned Roe v. Wade, a black cloud of fear and despair has billowed out over the country. Republican-controlled state governments have been competing with each other over who can pass the most sadistic abortion bans, while anti-choice activists gaslight the public over how serious the impact of such laws will be. The news is drowning in horror stories of child rape victims being denied abortionmiscarrying women being denied medical care and pregnant women being denied the right to divorce. Even for those of us who have covered the anti-choice movement for a long time and are aware that they're motivated by cruelty and misogyny — not "life" — the viciousness towards women and girls has been harrowing.


by Ed Tant | July 21, 2022 - 5:55am | permalink

— from Flagpole

“Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war” are the opening words of a hymn that has been sung in churches for more than a century. Today, some who call themselves Christians are taking calls to war onto the political battlefields of America.

Writing in The New York Times on July 7, author Katherine Stewart warned that the recent Supreme Court ruling overturning the Roe v. Wade decision that guaranteed abortion rights in America “is the beginning of a new and much more personal attack on individual rights.” The end of abortion in America had been a goal of what Stewart calls “Christian nationalists” for nearly 50 years. Now that they have won that long-sought goal, the Christian nationalists on the religious right are hungry for more.


by Joan McCarter | July 20, 2022 - 7:47am | permalink

— from Daily Kos

For the past 50 years, for millions of people, abortion has been a simple medical fact of life. When it wasn’t simple—when it had to happen as the result of crimes, or for medical reasons—it was still a medical procedure. Your body had a thing that had to be dealt with, and a medical professional helped you with it. The only people who had to know about it were the people whose actual business it was to know what you were deciding to do with your body.

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