Akins, Ryan, and the Politics of Personhood

Published by WallStreetWeather.net

To understand that a woman and an unborn are one and not two separate entities, all you have to do is look down at your own belly button to be reminded that you and the woman who gave birth to you were once united as one being. The cord connecting you to your mother could not be cut until the moment you could physically survive as a separate individual.

Until the past decade most Americans have been able to reach a broad consensus that a woman and the unborn growing within her were one entity up until a certain point in development. Broadly speaking, the separation point was considered to be the end of the second trimester of pregnancy.

The overriding question in abortion politics comes down to this: when does the unborn become a separate entity?

Republicans have been progressively pushing back the timeline from fetus, to embryo, and now zygote (a fertilized undivided cell) as their ideological basis for considering ALL abortions to be murder. In order to consider an abortion to be a murder, opponents of abortion must first establish that the woman and the unborn are two separate entities. Without that separation, the unborn is simply an appendage of the woman who should have unlimited control of it as a part of her body.

Once the argument went beyond when the unborn is considered a separate entity to being defined as a separate entity at the moment of conception, abortion is for all practical purposes considered to be murder at any stage. In order to justify abortion under any circumstances, the mother and unborn would have to be considered one entity rather than two.

One of the first pieces of business proposed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives was “The Sanctity of Human Life Act”(H.R.212) “to provide that human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization.” This bill was co-sponsored by Reps. Todd Akin and Paul Ryan.

It has been widely reported that the draft approved by the Republican Party which will be adopted as their official platform at the Republican Convention next week includes a “human life amendment” allowing NO EXCEPTIONS for abortions (including from rape or incest). The human life amendment provides the unborn with the same protections under the Fourteenth Amendment as the born.

The Republican Party platform provides NO EXCEPTIONS for abortion because the unborn are defined as a separate entity from the woman at the moment of conception. Any discussion of the circumstances that would “justify” abortion coming from Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan or any other Republicans cannot be trusted because any justification for abortion under this definition is twisted logic.

Paul Ryan believes abortion should be illegal except for “cases in which a doctor deems an abortion necessary to save the mother’s life.” According to Ryan, Mitt Romney “has exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother, which is a vast improvement of where we are right now.” Traveling on the campaign plane, Rep. Ryan described Gov. Romney’s position on abortion as “a good start.” Rep. Ryan is willing to accept what is less than ideal because he knows that every restriction that is imposed is one step closer to reaching the goal post of making abortion illegal.

The same day the draft of the human life amendment was formulated for the GOP convention, the Republican hierarchy was pushing for Rep. Todd Akin to withdraw from the Missouri Senate race (but not resign from Congress) over his remarks about “legitimate rape.” Definitions of rape are a sideshow and so are debates over whether or not abortions are “justified” under circumstances of rape, incest, or when the woman’s life is at stake when a fertilized undivided cell (zygote) is considered to be a person that cannot be murdered. Under the auspices that one crime does not justify another, the innocent zygote should not be murdered to justify the rape of the woman.

Republicans are passionate advocates for states’ rights, and several states have proposed or passed legislation that makes it difficult to next to impossible for a woman to obtain an abortion. Even women who suffer a miscarriage could be charged with a felony under legislation (H.B.1) proposed by Georgia State Rep. Bobby Franklin unless they can prove “there is no human involvement whatsoever in the causation of such event.” H.B.1 does not define “human involvement,” but it’s clear that the woman is guilty unless she can prove her innocence. Even doctors are often unable to determine what caused the miscarriage, yet the woman’s doctor could have their medical license revoked if it cannot be proven there was no “human involvement.” Could “human involvement” even include exercise during pregnancy as well as improper eating (i.e. too many trips to Chick-fil-A)?

The ideology and actions by Republicans extend from the bottom to the top of the Republican ticket and the GOP hierarchy and is precisely why any discussion of the justification for abortion should not provide any assurances to the pro choice side of the equation. Now that Republicans have defined that a separate “person” exists from the moment that conception occurs, they are advocating that oral contraceptives are also murder. The legal availability of certain forms of pregnancy prevention especially emergency contraception and oral contraceptives could be in jeopardy even though these methods of birth control work by preventing the release of an egg from the ovaries. Without the egg, contraception cannot take place.*

If you believe in the two separate entities argument, then what responsibility does the woman have for the unborn entity? How well do you think the unborn is going to fare developing inside a woman forced to carry a pregnancy to term that she does not want? What do you think her mental and physical state would be, and do you think this is a healthy environment for the unborn to develop in? If the woman is married or in a committed relationship, do you think the woman’s spouse/lover is going to enjoy seeing the woman suffer from this – especially if she’s dying from it?

Beyond the pregnancy exacerbating any existing health issues or creating new ones which are life threatening (an ectopic pregnancy being one example), a pregnant woman could face criminal charges if she was in a car accident and the unborn was killed. A man in the same accident would face no such criminal liability. But men should take no solace for they could be accused of killing a fetus by being the driver.

Then there are the economic issues. First of all, who is going to pay for the woman and the unborn’s medical costs pre and postpartum? Since the Republicans still want to repeal Obamacare, how will adult women and girls get health insurance coverage? Until Obamacare is fully implemented on January 1, 2014, health insurance companies classify pregnancy as a pre-existing condition (which also extends to the expectant father).

Compound lost wages on top of medical expenses along with the potential of a career setback (especially if the pregnancy completely prevents the woman from performing her job). Pregnancy interferes with a girl’s education.

If a married woman is raped, are there financial and legal responsibilities imposed upon her spouse even though he is not the father of the unborn? Similar to the question I posed earlier, what impact do you think being forced by the government to continue a pregnancy resulting from rape is going to have on the couple’s relationship?

And I’ve only scratched the surface of all the potential individual and societal implications...

On the other side of the argument, if the mother and the unborn are considered one entity, then why are restrictions being placed on women that are not placed on men? For all of their so-called love of “individual freedom” and “choices,” Republicans are telling women that they want the government to have total control over a medical decision about their body!

Now the question becomes whose life is more valuable – the life of the woman or the unborn? Republicans and their social conservative base care so passionately about the unborn yet once the unborn becomes born, they want to remove the whole social safety net.

*That last sentence was not meant to insult the intelligence of my readers, but to state a fact that directly contradicts the inaccuracies spouted by Republicans and their “base” of social conservatives.

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Anonymous said...

Appreciate your in depth and well outlined discussion. I do hope the majority of women understand what is at stake as well as men too. If they believe government is excessive, what they offer is far greater intrusion into the lives of US citizens--women and men. Thank you again.

Anonymous said...

Deb - I love reading your analysis and interpretations... astrological or other. Great insight and ability to communicate. Bravo! Vickie

Wall Street Weather said...

Thanks for both of your comments!

Occasionally I write about topics where I feel incorporating the planetary energies might impede the post from reaching a broader audience.

Everyone who wants to stop this excessive intrusion into the most intimate aspects of their lives must make their voice heard at the ballot box!


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