Thursday, September 13, 2012

Questions About Personhood

Once upon a time, I had a baby.

This is just a stock photo, but the doctrine of 
holy crap, aren't babies cute applies.
I had a blast being pregnant, and I was fortunate to have a relatively easy labor and birth. And when it was over, I had this tiny little life to take home and protect and nurture into the eye-rolling pre-teen she is now.

One of my memories of being pregnant involves the constant inner refrain of "I'm gonna be a mom, I'm gonna be a mom" that ran through my mind from the time I found out I was pregnant until I started pushing, at which point the refrain changed to "Yaaaaaarrrrrrrggggggghhhhh Jesus Christ make it stop that freaking hurts!" Then the inner refrain went silent for a short while, until I held my infant dughter in my arms for the first time, at which point it whispered, reverently and not a little incredulously, "I'm a mom."

My brain instinctively defined "personhood" as the moment I could see, touch, and gaze in mingled awe and horror at my baby. Granted, as she grew inside me I increasingly thought of her as a person rather than a disembodied fetus. But I marked the day she was born as the start of her life, and of my life as her mom.

The Republican Party doesn't agree with me. The recently adopted GOP platform insists that "life" begins at conception; essentially with the fertilization of the egg, or at the very latest upon the first round of cell division. By that definition I was a mom for almost six weeks before I even knew about it.

Where the hell did that come from?
Now, the purpose of the Republican position on "personhood" is to restrict abortion rights by stating that terminating the pregnancy of a viable life form is murder. If life begins instantaneously upon the sperm hitting the egg, then there is no window for making a choice to abort what is essentially a cluster of undifferentiated cells.

I don't agree with this position. Which is a polite way of saying I think Republicans are a bunch of crazy woman-hating mofos. But I am willing to entertain a few questions that would logically arise from my hypothetical acceptance of their stance. Such as:

Can I purchase life insurance for my embryo? I could have collected on the miscarriage "deaths" of two of my "children." Not that I wanted to capitalize on them, but I could have bought myself a consolation outfit or something.

Can I claim an embryo as a dependent? I guarantee that no woman would try to get pregnant between January and March if she could get an extra year of child tax credits by straddling conception and birth over two calendar years. They would become known as the Months of No Nookie.

What about birthdays? Most of my pets have "official" birthdates, because who knows exactly when an SPCA dog was actually born? I guess we'll have to start assigning estimated "personhood" days to our kids, unless we can pinpoint a specific drunken night of passion as the date of fertilization. And let's face it, sometimes it's hard to distinguish one from another.

I worked out a tracking system,
but it made no sense the next morning.
And finally...I don't ever want to get stopped in the HOV lane if there's any possibility I could be carrying a passenger. And besides, having to prove to a cop that I had sex sometime in the last six weeks has got to be some kind of violation of my Fourteenth Amendment rights. Therefore, women drivers of child-bearing age automatically get a free pass in the HOV lane. And the pregnant women's parking spaces at the mall, while we're at it.

So...personhood. Those are my demands to make it a fair and equitable proposition. What say you, Republican Party?

1 comment:

  1. You are brilliant. I'm starting to feel like a stalker today, but you are cracking me up! From the Shit my Job Says, to douchebags, and everything in between...
    I may have told you before, but if you hear a crunching sound outside your window at night; don't worry. That's just me eating chips in the bushes.


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