An anonymous person, known only as “ma am”, has posted a petition on Change.org for “Personhood for Women.” If 1,000 people sign (over 3,000 already have), ma am will deliver this petition to three selected Senators – Patty Murray, Al Franken, and Kristen GIllibrand – and ask them to introduce the following to Congress:
A person identifying as a woman and/or having a uterus shall retain all of the full, basic, and fundamental rights of a US citizen as guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Congress and the States shall make no law that infringes upon a person’s life, including but not limited to access to life-saving or life-improving healthcare, and/or medicines and procedures deemed necessary or beneficial by a medical professional and/or by the person having the uterus, procurement of which shall not be denied in and of itself by the presence of a uterus. Congress and the States shall make no law that infringes upon a person’s liberty, including but not limited to autonomy over hir own body and the ability to make decisions regarding hir own healthcare. Congress and the States shall make no law that interferes with a person’s pursuit of happiness, including but not limited to access to a full spectrum of reproductive options, freedom from forcible reproduction, and the ability to make decisions regarding family planning and family resources.
Not so fast. There are more than a few problems with this attempt at legislation. For starters, why are only women or people “having a uterus” deserving of the “access to life-saving or life-improving healthcare”? In addition, though I would fit into both categories neatly covered by this proposal, I don’t care to have my worth and my “rights” measured by either my gender or whether or not I have a uterus. Naturally, I’m all for women being recognized as “persons” by our government. But if you haven’t noticed, we already are. We already have all the same legal rights as men do; the 19th Amendment and certain anti-discrimination laws finished elevating us to an equal position, legally speaking, quite some time ago.
In fact, one of my main problems with this ill thought out proposal is that women currently have one certain right that surpasses any right a man thought he may have had to protect his child. The right to a free, no holds barred, get-it-anytime-you-want abortion. Fathers’ hands are tied. There’s absolutely nothing they can do in the law to stop their child’s mother (whether she’s their wife, girlfriend, or a one night stand) from killing their child. One of the saddest stories I’ve ever read details the anguish that many fathers go through because they have NO CHOICE.
I’ve personally worked on a case, trying to help a husband stop his wife from aborting a child they planned to have. But guess what, since the judge didn’t want to step away from precedent, that dad just had to sit back and let his wife kill the child they had wanted. Kinda stinks to be a man, if you ask me.
In addition, this proposal specifically mentions the Declaration of Independence. That’s actually rare to see in current proposed law. Usually, it’s the Constitution that’s referred to, not the Declaration. I applaud ma am for seeing the value of the Declaration, unlike many current citizens. However she has overlooked an important section that just so happens to come right before the section of rights she discusses (life, liberty, pursuit of happiness). The Declaration specifically states that all men (i.e., humans) are “created equal.” Uh huh. That’s right. Created equal, not born equal. BIIIIIG difference. Science pointedly spells out for us when the moment of creation occurs, for each unique individual. And the Declaration is very clear that each created person deserves the equal right to life.
Here’s another problem. The proposal states, “healthcare…shall not be denied in and of itself by the presence of a uterus.” Laugh out loud. I mean, seriously. I don’t think ANYONE wants to stop abortion because women have a uterus. The only time abortion and a uterus are connected is when a baby is being sucked out of a uterus. And that presents something far different than just a uterus. Then, we’re talking about a BABY. Another human being (if you want to refer to science); a created life (if you want to refer to the Declaration of Independence); a unique, living individual (if you want to refer to a recent federal court case). So yeah, pro-lifers aren’t targeting women because they have a uterus. We’re not targeting women at all. Goodness, many of us are women or are married to women who we love (i.e., my husband, my father, and my brother.)
What we’re doing is trying to speak out for the greatest right of all for those who cannot speak for themselves. Sorry, women, but a baby’s right to life is just a little bit more important that your right to convenience.
If you want complete control over your bodies, women, maybe you should stop having sex with men who treat you badly or who don’t want to be fathers. Maybe you should wait to have sex until you’re ready to be a mother (because, if you’ve studied science at all, motherhood can certainly result after sex). Sidenote here: you are a mother as soon as you are pregnant, not as soon as you give birth. Thus, when you choose abortion, you do not choose to “not be a mother.” You choose to kill the child whose mother you already are.
Maybe you should wait to have sex until you’re in a committed marriage relationship. And maybe, just maybe, you should realize that with “control” also comes “responsibility”. If you make the choice to have sex, you also take on the responsibility that comes with that sex. If you get pregnant, you have a responsibility to see that your baby experiences her right to life—whether you raise her yourself or give her to a loving couple who can.
Finally, if “Personhood for Women” is all about who has a uterus, can someone please explain to me why female babies can be freely aborted? Their uterus develops before birth, after all…