Saturday, February 5, 2011
My comment on prenatal personhood on an "American Prospect" blog today
My comment on prenatal personhood on an "American Prospect" blog today:
Four fun steps -- sci fi to present to sci fi to present -- to fetal personhood (at whatever point a medical consensus determines there is full-fledged human life):
One; when advances in medical technology allow fetuses to be removed overnight for medical attention, such will be legal persons and must retain that status upon return to the womb. Will the courts allow one class of fetuses "slave" and the other free?
Two; if today's physician, first, views a fetus on a clear view sonogram (I believe such are in at least limited use) and manipulates mom's stomach wall to tease diagnostic reactions from baby, wouldn't we all relate to the fetus as a full-fledged member of society -- from then on. (Hint: we are really talking mid-brain, not fore brain).
Three; in the future an unborn twin is removed for overnight care. No need to answer -- but: when does the stay behind twin become a legal person: from the moment its sibling sees the light of day or does it have to wait until it is rejoined face-to-face with a now legal person?
Four; of course, all fetuses are in the company of a legal person -- mom -- if not face-to-face, and in the unseen (at least our mid-brains even if the presence becomes ever more evident to our fore-brains ) company of millions.
Roe v. Wade worked around the issue of possible human life outweighing fundamental privacy (no argument on Roe's version of constitutional privacy -- at least arguable -- and certainly fundamental, even if only a legislative concern) with the words: "... may not, just by adopting one theory, of life override the rights of the pregnant woman that are at stake")
The theories of life Roe presented would not hold any real world water: three theological plus quickening and viability (the latter the purported medical "focus"). Birth, the purported Jewish Orthodox view wouldn't allow the judiciary to determine when life begins at four weeks overdue but would have no trouble pinpointing full-fledged life at twelve weeks early arrival.
One week under the medical consensus (even those who abort 20 week fetuses do not deny humanity) would exist 95% the same baby: a perfect candidate for Roe's "compelling state interest" -- required to override privacy.