There was a very good (and horrifying) discussion of “fetal personhood” on Fresh Air yesterday.
Should a pregnant woman whose behavior has been deemed dangerous to her fetus be legally punished or forced into medical procedures against her will? A study released earlier this year found hundreds of cases across the country where pregnant women were arrested and incarcerated, detained in mental institutions and drug treatment programs, or subject to forced medical interventions, including surgery.
The study, conducted by the group National Advocates for Pregnant Women, found 413 criminal and civil cases where law enforcement intervened in the lives of pregnant women between 1973 — the year the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade — and 2005.
Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross speaks with the group’s executive director, Lynn Paltrow, who says the legal claims used to justify some of these actions rely on the same arguments that are made in support of personhood measures that would grant the fetus full constitutional rights independent of the pregnant woman.
Paltrow was emphatic about the fact that giving fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses full constitutional rights independent of the pregnant woman means taking away the pregnant woman’s full constitutional rights.
That’s so obvious, and it’s such a horrifying thing to propose, that it’s blood-chilling to know that there are women who are campaigning for this nightmare. “Yes, please, take away the full constitutional rights of the class of people to which I myself belong!”
Yo: the fertilized egg, the embryo, the fetus, is inside the body of another human being. You can’t give it full constitutional rights without taking away the full constitutional rights of the person whose body is housing it. Her rights should trump those of the fertilized egg, the embryo, the fetus.