“Life Begins At Conception” Bill Proposed In NH


In lawmakers’ fevered perception, conception
Is God’s definition of “when life begins”
If mothers-to-be raise their voices, their choices
By God’s perfect standards, are nothing but sins
Since God can’t be named, a reliance on “science”
Is lawmakers’ choice as they justify votes
Though putative “facts” they parade up are made-up
And not what you’d see in biology notes.

But science, they’re not even trying—they’re lying—
They’re claiming biology backs up their view
Designed to exacerbate friction, this fiction
Pits out-and-out liars against me and you
This ploy is a public-relations sensation;
It looks so objective; it seems so precise
They’re betting against their deception’s detection—
If that’s what they’re thinking, they need to think twice

New Hampshire is an interesting case study–conservatives in NH come in two flavors (not mutually incompatible): social conservatives and libertarian (small “l”, usually) conservatives. Social conservatives tend to lean pro-life, and libertarian conservatives tend to lean pro-choice (you will have no problems pointing to counter-examples in both camps). To get the libertarian conservatives on board with a social conservative anti-abortion agenda, you need something more than “god says it’s wrong”. Defining embryos and fetuses as persons would place them under the umbrella of libertarian human rights, so that is one of many possible end-around tactics.

But of course, you can’t draw a defining line due to religious belief–the first amendment prohibits that–so you dress it in science. You say that science supports your definition, and you do your best to say it convincingly enough that nobody asks any actual scientists.

Thing is, it doesn’t matter what the scientists think. When someone acquires rights is not a scientific question. We know this when it comes to driving, drinking, voting, and other actions that personhood alone does not confer rights to. In a world where I can take another adult’s life if they threaten me, and I cannot take their kidney without their permission, even after they die, the rights of a woman to bodily autonomy are paramount. What the proposed legislation attempts to do is to lay the groundwork for treating women as second-class citizens, as bipedal incubators subject to the wishes of the religious right.

When does life begin? Some three and a half billion years ago. Since then, it has not begun, it has continued. That is a scientific view–but not one that particularly advances a pro-life agenda. If you ask biologists (seriously, on this question, who better?) when life begins… you will find they disagree.

Sorry, politicians. You’ll need a different argument if you want to create an incubator class. In a state that equates freedom with life itself (“Live Free Or Die”), you cannot make women slaves to the state, bearing children they did not choose. You want to set “everyone on an equal playing field”? Then women need the same independence from the constraints of pregnancy that men have.

What, that wasn’t what you meant?

Comments

  1. ema says

    House Bill 1504 would set state policy to say that “human life is deemed to exist from conception.”

    Phew, finally a bill to clarify that the result of fertilization for our species is not, in fact, plant life.

    And on a more serious note, conception is not a momentary event. It is a ~ 24hr process, one that results in a bunch of totipotent cells. At what point exactly during this interval does marine human life spring into existence?

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    To show how sacred marriage is, I suggest a counter-headline:

    “Life Begins At Proposal” Bill Conceived …

  3. says

    I’m surprised they aren’t saying life begins when the woman’s bra is unhooked.

    I forget where and when, but there was a 15 year old who once tried to get a driver’s license. His argument was that if foetuses are humans as right wing politicians claimed, then he was actually 16, and anti-choice, anti-woman politicians should support his claim. To no surprise, the duplicitous hypocrites didn’t agree.

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