“Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. 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.”-Republican Party Platform, 2012
I’m not here to start a general debate on abortion. I’m pretty darn far to the left on this issue (hey, my Norse ancestors didn’t consider a person human until nine days after they were born. Comparatively I’m downright conservative), but I can at least understand why somebody would have a more strict viewpoint than I do. But my understanding ceases at the idea that a fertilized egg is a human being. In the past this stance has always made me shrug with a little frustration. After two years of unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant, it’s started to make me angry.
As a woman with viable eggs who unsuccessfully tried to get pregnant for two years with a man with viable sperm, I have potentially had twenty-four fertilized eggs in my body. According to the Far Right platform — which seeks to protect fertilized eggs as humans with full legal status — my body’s failure to attach in utero doesn’t simply mean I failed to get pregnant, it means I have created then killed up to twenty-four human beings. If a fertilized egg is a legal person, I have committed involuntary manslaughter. Every twenty-eight days for nearly two years.
Statistically, I am not the only woman who is an accidental serial killer. We’re quite common, in fact. According to Discover Magazine, “at minimum, two-thirds of all human eggs fertilized during normal conception either fail to implant at the end of the first week or later spontaneously abort.” I realize that disease, death, and the world not being one great big nudist colony are all my gender’s fault for eating the wrong piece of fruit or opening the wrong casket,** but now all women who’ve been sexually active, even within the sacred bonds of marriage***, risk being murderers as well. With all that evil we do, it’s no wonder we shouldn’t be allowed to make decisions about our bodies and our health.
In all seriousness, though, declaring a fertilized egg a human being has implications beyond making almost all women murderers. In addition to preventing the morning-after-pill (which, among other things, creates an inhospitable environment for a fertilized egg to implant) it can also be used to prevent use of the regular birth control pill, which also creates an inhospitable environment for an egg to implant as one of the four ways it prevents pregnancy.The “life at conception” concept makes in vitro fertilization an unviable option, unless the family wants to risk quintuplets. It’s common practice to fertilize multiple eggs because of the poor chances of implantation. If multiples do “take,” the doctors will “abort” down to one for the sake of the mother’s health (and the family’s sanity). Of course, the belief that a fertilized egg is a human is the whole argument behind why women who were raped should have no recourse–because it’s already a baby as soon as the rapist’s sperm touch down. But this can also present a dilemma in the case of a mother’s welfare. If the mother’s life is endangered by the pregnancy, that bundle of cells has an equal right to life as the woman it is killing. How do you choose who lives if they are truly equal? Frankly, the 14th amendment mostly talks about men’s rights, (see above link) and with the country’s current take on feminism, I’m more than a little worried. If it is “merely” the mother’s health at stake, this extreme stance would always favor the fetus over the woman. We are vessels for our unborn children, not people with our own rights.
A Reasonable Solution
After much pondering, I have a solution I think is more viable than any proposed so far by a politician. Since murdering babies occurs naturally two thirds of the time an egg is fertilized, babies conceived outside the holy bonds of matrimony are a disgrace, and aborting for any reason whatsoever, including risk to the mother’s life, is a big no-no, I’ve come to the conclusion that clearly, the best solution is for everybody to only engage in gay sex. Then, and only then, can we women guarantee that our wombs aren’t death chambers, there are no children without two parent families, and nobody has to suffer unduly for a bundle of cells.
Prevent Abortion–Be Gay!! (Think that slogan will catch on?) What do you think, Realm?
*Section 1 (the applicable one):
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
I’m guessing what they want is to change the wording to include persons unborn as well as born. This brings up a tricky legal issue — are any children conceived in the US automatically US citizens? And how do we go about verifying that? Does conception then supercede birth for citizenry (i.e. you are a citizen if conceived here, but not necessarily if born), or do we now have two methods of natural citizenship? We may have to make a “no-sex” tourism policy…
**According to Genesis, we chicadees were the first ones to disobey Jehovah by eating fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, which kicked humanity out of the Garden of Eden, gave us knowledge of good and evil (including the realization we were naked) and created a whole host of challenges for humankind. In a similar story, Pandora opened the wrong box and unleashed Plague and a host of other Bad Things on the world. Funny how it’s usually us lady-folk that open the floodgates of trouble.
***Don’t even get me started on the Republican platform telling us what to do with our sex lives. Okay, I’ll fume a little. From the education platform:
“We renew our call for replacing ‘family planning’ programs for teens with abstinence education which teaches abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior. Abstinence from sexual activity is the only protection that is 100 percent effective against out-of-wedlock pregnancies and sexually-transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS when transmitted sexually. It is effective, science-based, and empowers teens to achieve optimal health outcomes and avoid risks of sexual activity. We oppose school-based clinics that provide referrals, counseling, and related services for abortion and contraception.”
This is their platform despite the fact that abstinence only programs have not been found to be effective. And, seriously? The only “responsible and respected standard of behavior” is to wait until you’re married to have sex? How many people who wrote that statement have kept their pants on so well?
+Featured Image: from Wikimedia, by Brian from Bountiful, Utah, USA