The Truth about Personhood Bills

The consequences of personhood bills will go far beyond the abortion issue

personhood-movementI have seen the term Personhood when politicians are talking about certain bills or amendments. My understanding was that these bills were about protecting a fetus as a live person. They include birth control, the morning after pill, IUD’s and abortion.

Oh, nothing about condoms, by the way. Or Viagra, male enhancement devices and/or pills, or anything applying to men at all. Once again, the right-wing Christian establishment (which is male-dominated) is trying to remain in control of the uterus of the American female. Not to mention that this would include letting women die during childbirth and determining what or what does not constitute the cause of a miscarriage.

I mean, hey, they’re just women, right? What do they know about being a woman? Silly women, listen to your men, like it’s supposed to be.

The House of Representatives tried to jam through a Personhood bill in July of 2012 and it failed. So now State Personhood bills are pushing to get through harder than ever. The definition of personhood, incidentally, is “The quality or condition of being an individual person.”

Since this term became used over and over, I’ve been considering it more and more. I’ve read stories about women arrested because something happened out of their control to an unborn child. Yes, including miscarriages. I don’t plan on having anymore children so it doesn’t apply to me personally, but it’s alarming that Personhood bills are gaining such traction. I feel very sorry for pregnant women, especially those that struggled to conceive.

That raised more questions. What about in-vitro fertilization? What about parents who are trying to have a child and need fertility treatments? Frozen fertilized eggs obviously aren’t living and breathing humans but would a personhood law forbid this medical technology? According to many politicians, again, mostly males, yes.

I came across a website called Resolve.org while preparing for this story. This organization protects the rights of parents who are desperately trying to conceive but need medical intervention. The Resolve organization watches for these reckless bills state by state and fights against them.

The mission statement on their site reads: “The National Infertility Association, established in 1974, is a non-profit organization with the only established, nationwide network mandated to promote reproductive health and to ensure equal access to all family building options for men and women experiencing infertility or other reproductive disorders.”

personhood-map-0521So far, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, and New York have bills, not yet laws, that protect fertility treatments. Resolve.org supports these bills. Minnesota, Oklahoma, and South Carolina, however, have bills that Resolve.org opposes. New Jersey and Virginia have bills that Resolve.org is still reviewing.

In California alone, 858,579 women, regardless of marital status, have experienced physical difficulty in getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to live birth. Is there a law requiring insurance coverage for fertility treatments, also known as an insurance mandate? Yes! Hopefully, more states will follow California’s lead on this issue.

This brings us to stem cell research, another issue Personhood bills dishearteningly concern themselves with. This research is so very important and uses extra in-vitro eggs that a couple may have not used. It’s harmless. Personhood bills take up the case of these frozen eggs, as apparently they cannot speak for themselves. Ridiculous as this may seem, these bills use this premise to put pressure on the state to shut down stem cell research.

The dissolution of stem cell research would be disastrous and heart breaking to thousands of individuals. It would cause researchers to leave states where these Personhood bills become law. And it’s all based on a misunderstanding or denial of the science involved. Scientific advancement, parental dreams, jobs, and economic growth, all dashed over ignorance.

According to Bruce Olwin of the University of Colorado, “Alienating an entire contingent of researchers would have dire consequences on America’s ability to compete globally in the field. Because of the overarching intrusion of religion and politics on science, I think it’s going to drive the United States into a Third World science country. We will not be anywhere near the leaders.”

Bernard Siegel, the founder and director of the Genetics Policy Institute, agrees that the Personhood movement represents a potentially major setback.

“Microscopic cells in a lab dish, that by a couple’s decision will never be implanted in a womb, should not be defined as ‘people,’” Siegel said. “Any state aspiring to become a center for biomedical research and biotechnology should not touch a Personhood bill with a 10-foot pole.”

The prime motivation for Personhood bills are religious beliefs. Those that forward such legislation think that a frozen egg is a person. It’s beyond ridiculous, yet it’s advancing along nevertheless.

If a physician is fertilizing an egg in a laboratory for a couple, and the egg is destroyed, is the physician a murderer? No, of course not. That egg is not a person. But according to Personhood bills, it is a person. It’s insanity. By that very same logic, masturbation is mass murder.

In closing, it seems so odd and hypocritical that politicians such as Rand Paul believe that parents should be able to opt out of vaccine mandates but support theseinsane bills. I implore you to visit the Resolve.org website. See for yourself what they stand for.

There is a wealth of information about this, and more Americans need to become aware of the unrecognized and disastrous consequences of this type of legislation. The rapid expansion of state level Personhood bills is sobering, to say the least. The United States must not ever pass laws such as these. Those who advocate doing so absolutely do not have our best interests at heart.

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