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Things to make you go hmmmmmm

(28 Posts)
radiohelen Tue 13-Sep-11 22:53:08


Seriously - Americans get to vote on whether you are a person from the moment of conception.. so no birth control at all. Hmmmmmmmmmm!

cookcleanerchaufferetc Thu 15-Sep-11 09:56:30

It is something to think about. An unborn baby I think is considered a "person" from 26 weeks or something in the UK. So if a person were to kill a pregnant woman I think they can get done, if after a certain point, for killing the woman and baby. That is fair.

If a person killed me and I was pregnant I would want that person to be charged with my murder as well as my baby's death.

I am not pregnant and God forbid no one is going to murder me!

SardineQueen Thu 15-Sep-11 10:13:43

An unborn baby is not considered a "person" from 26 weeks in the UK.

If someone kills a pregnant woman then they get done for killing a pregnant woman. The further along she is the more severe the crime might be - but there is no such thing as a line after which a feotus becomes a "person" in the UK. For a start abortion is legal to term in some circumstances.

radiohelen that is so shocking. This bit at the end made me particularly angry:

"I can't speak to all the possible effects, obviously," he said, "but it would ensure equal rights for all human beings regardless of their developmental status, it would outlaw abortion, and it would protect our women and children."

How on earth is this going to protect women and children? The only result of this that I can see is harm to women and children.

AMumInScotland Thu 15-Sep-11 10:14:30

I haven't read through the article yet, but I don't see why it means all birth control would be banned - I am on the combined Pill, which prevents ovulation and fertilisation. Barrier methods also prevent fertilisation. For me, that makes my choice of contraception totally fine, whenever "personhood" starts.

SardineQueen Thu 15-Sep-11 10:15:38


"If a person killed me and I was pregnant I would want that person to be charged with my murder as well as my baby's death."

You think that if someone killed you when you were pregnant they should be charged with killing you? Not just killing the baby? I should bloody well hope so! Some of the people in the american christian right wing might well disagree though. Given that they see a pregnant woman as nothing more than a receptacle.

SardineQueen Thu 15-Sep-11 10:16:49

Amum in the article it says

"The measure could be interpreted to outlaw the birth control pill, for instance, because the pill can sometimes prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg. They also say the measure could outlaw in vitro fertilization, stem cell research and emergency contraception for rape victims, as well as discourage doctors from performing a lifesaving miscarriage treatment when a woman is suffering from potentially-fatal pregnancy complications."

So that's why.

SardineQueen Thu 15-Sep-11 10:17:13

I imagine condoms would be OK.

Not the coil though.

AMumInScotland Thu 15-Sep-11 10:24:07

OK I've read it through now.... I'm glad I don't live in the US!

I really don't see how you can say that all persons (from the moment of fertilisation) can have equal rights, when a proportion of them (up to 20-whatever weeks) are incapable of sustaining their own life separately. The existence of a pre-viable-age foetus has to be considered as contingent upon the mother, and any rights you assign to it have to be less than consideration of the welfare of the mother.

eg if the foetus' continued existence is a threat to the life of the mother, then there should be no question of "weighing up" the "rights" of the foetus vs the rights of the mother - the mother's needs should trump those of the foetus every time.

So they can't possibly be seen as equal.

IrmaMuthafucker Thu 15-Sep-11 10:36:34

It's getting harder and harder to mentally file these reports under harmless fuckwittery because people are listening and acting on these opinions. The creeping erosion of women's rights in this way really worries me.

I think the whole sorry Dorries episode over here could only happen because of the more extreme views now being expressed and taken seriously in the USA.

Rights of women are being sacrificed and it scares me.

radiohelen Fri 16-Sep-11 14:34:29

Irma that's what I find scary - it would never occur to me that this was even an issue! I find it bizarre in the extreme that in a first world country people are arguing that a sac of cells has the same human rights and protections as a walking talking person.
I read more and more of these stories and it does worry me. I think it's good to talk about stuff and move with scientific times but to start saying you can't do anything to harm a foetus from pre-conception is a slippery slope we REALLY don't want to be in. You can bet the father's won't be charged for slipping on condoms... why should mom be charged with prevening implantation of a fertilised egg?

WidowWadman Fri 16-Sep-11 19:35:05

Wow, this makes mad Nad look comparitively sane

SardineQueen Sat 17-Sep-11 08:25:03

radiohelen it is scary that these people are in power.

Over here I am sure there are people with views like this but the difference is that they are not in positions of power (generally).

The fact that even Call me Dave decided not to back nadine dorries amendment shows that hopefully we are at a different place to the US and will remain that way for some time.

SardineQueen Sat 17-Sep-11 08:27:03

The difficulty is that what's happening in the US shifts the terms of the debate here.

Have the US seriously discussing whether embryos should be given full human rights from the moment of conception, and suddenly someone calling for debate on eg reducing the max weeks for abortion here, sounds perfectly reasonable.

That in itself is dangerous.

SardineQueen Sat 17-Sep-11 08:28:59

I guess if this went through, a woman having a drink or a cigarette or taking some drugs or eating the wrong food would be classed as assaulting a minor?

If she got hit by a car as she wasn't looking where she was going would that be negligence?

In fact, if she took less than the recommended amount of exercise or wanted a second opinion on how to give birth would that be considered negligence?

It opens up a huge can of worms doesn't it.

meditrina Sat 17-Sep-11 15:32:27

There has been an existing offence covering (some) of this in UK for years. The accused murderer of a pregnant woman can also be charged with the further offence of child destruction. This was most recently used in a high-profile case following the murder of Nikitta Grender. It also covers the illegal termination of pregnancy, outside the provision of the current Act.

It does not cover other actions which do not have the intention of the death of the baby (eg drug use or being in an accident).

SardineQueen Sat 17-Sep-11 15:39:50

The act is not used in the UK to prosecute pregnant women who act in ways that may endanger their pregnancy though, AFAIK? Whereas the equivalent law in the US has already been used to imprison some pregnant women (the one I can remember is a woman who tried to commit suicide, I can't remember any more off the top of my head).

So taken in the context of the different attitude in some parts of the US already, it does mean cause for alarm. As pointed out it would mean that abortion under any circumstances was illegal, could prevent procedures being carried out that would assist the mother but may harm the baby. Would pregnant women be allowed to take pain killers? Or indeed take medications for other conditions eg depression. What about chemotherapy? It really is a piece of legislation with far reaching consequences. And there is not an equivalent UK law - the embryo/foetus does not have any "rights" until it is out of the mother.

meditrina Sat 17-Sep-11 16:36:20

There were threads about the suicide case at the time. It hinged on its not being an accidental act, nor an act carried out for another purpose (as drinking, smoking and recreational drug use might be), but a deliberate one-off poisoning. It was prosecuted through existing laws, and isn't connected to the measures envisaged in this vote.

The ramifications of this vote are not actually clear; the areas of possible concern are obvious, but I have not been able to find any analysis to show how eg the equal legal rights of mother and child would be balanced in, say, the chemotherapy example. Whole areas such as inheritance law do not seem to be addressed at all.

The vote is on 8 November.

Empjusa Sat 17-Sep-11 17:42:23

sardine There have been cases where women have been accused of assaulting/neglecting their unborn babies already, not over here thankfully!

SardineQueen Sat 17-Sep-11 19:01:01

meditrina what are the issues about inheritance law?

radiohelen Sat 17-Sep-11 22:22:54

Blimey - I never even thought about inheritance but if a foetus has personhood from conception then it can technically own stuff!

MrsTerryPratchett Sun 18-Sep-11 04:35:57

What makes me terribly sad is once people are actually existent in the USA it is fine to deny them healthcare, housing and food because they are poor. People die on the streets every day in the US, homeless, starving, mentally/physically ill, drug-addicted. They get turfed out of hospitals and die in pain in shelters because they have no insurance. BUT, a fertilised egg has the right to life. If it is OK to let someone die because they don't have money, why is it not OK for a woman to deny a embryo the right to 'life' because she doesn't want to sustain it with her body?

SardineQueen Sun 18-Sep-11 11:10:57

radiohelen what are the issues with that though?

And why are they being raised as at least as important as the impact this will have on women?

I hope meditrina comes back and explains about the inheritance issues, I have thought and thought and can't see what they are / how they could be as bad or worse than the impact this will have on women.

meditrina Tue 20-Sep-11 20:35:58

I'm not sure of implications in law, but suspect there are a number if areas that will need consideration if this passes

In this thread, though, everyone appears to be assuming ever expanding rights in tort issues. In addition, the (limited) personhood already established in law (eg en ventre de sa mere) would presumably expand, and inheritance would be at the point of death of the testator.

This raises the prospect of a yet-to-be-born person owning property. It may also mean that if that person were stillborn, then the estate would pass according to laws of intestacy regarding that person - not being reshared in accordance with the original testator's will.

There's probably oodles more. But I think the chances of this actually becoming law are vanishingly slim.

meditrina Tue 20-Sep-11 20:37:36

PS: wasn't trying to suggest a scale if good/bad/worse in this. Just a lot of fat pickings for the lawyers there.

chandellina Tue 20-Sep-11 21:24:22

i don't think the ballot would stand up legally even if it did win a majority vote. Let's keep in mind this is just one state, which managed to get something to ballot. Lots of crazy things have been on ballot initiatives (legalising marijuana in California, for one) and been defeated.

but i think it should also be recognised that scientific developments and cultural attitudes can erode previously-granted rights.

and i think mrsterrypratchett is taking a pretty harsh view - all of the people you describe had a right to life too, they had a chance. even if the deck is stacked against you, most people would choose to have lived than not.

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