Is it wise to grant personhood to a fetus?
How cruel can life be? I don’t think most of us are willing to really fathom the depth of pain, suffering and death that goes on in the world on any given day. Luckily, as human beings we are mostly isolated from the horrors and cruelty of nature. Well, most of the time, anyways.
A few months ago, a friend of mine (who will obviously remain nameless) who was pregnant with a baby girl was told the fetus suffered from a rare disorder called anencephaly, and an abortion would be needed (if you are faint of heart, I don’t suggest reading up on it). Anencephaly is a developmental disorder that occurs during day 23 to 26 of pregnancy; the time when the neural tube (a kind of precursor to the brain) fails to properly “close”. The result is a baby without a brain.
Any infant born with this condition will live only a few hours, and it’s normally recommended the pregnancy be terminated at this point, both to avoid any undo risks for the mother, and avoid the actual horrors of bringing such a child to term (they are often terribly disfigured, sometimes missing the entire top of the head).
Of course if it was up to a pro-lifer, my friend would not have been allowed to terminate the pregnancy. It was not an easy decision for her, but in the end she had to concede the pregnancy had been a failure. It was difficult for her to accept, but life moves on.
So here is a video about clever legislation that is being tabled in a number of conservative states in the US. These bills are intended to completely remove the rights women have over their bodies in favor of a very childish notion of the ‘sanctity’ of life. These government officials obviously have no real understanding of medicine, but what they do know is how to get votes, and there are enough pro-lifers to ensure their re-election if they claim to have saved hundreds of babies from termination.
Look guys, life is cruel and weird, and we cannot start giving full blown rights to organisms that have only yet begun to develop. There are many instances when abortions are unwanted but still necessary. That’s the thing most pro-lifers will never admit to, even when they themselves are faced with an unpleasant reality (after all, religious conservatives are more likely to get abortions than secular women). We can’t create laws that take reality for granted. Although I can appreciate their zeal in trying to preserve life, abortions are still needed even if they aren’t very well liked.