Why “Personhood” Isn’t Good For Women

You guys, I have tried so hard to not be political lately, but I have run out of self-control. I basically have 2 back-to-back political posts in my mind and since election day is tomorrow, I figured I should get this one out first. The other one is less pressing and a lot less dividing. So I can bring us all back together after dividing us tonight. You are welcome.

So Mississippi is voting on Personhood. The idea is that the instant an egg is fertilized it is a person.

If you cannot see through this as an obvious way that a religious organization is trying to make abortion illegal than you are blind. Because it is blatant. I’m not going to argue abortion with you because there are no winners in that debate and I just don’t feel like engaging it. Plus, there are enough reasons why this law is wrong that I don’t even have to.

For starters, there are about 800 things wrong with having people vote on what goes on in a woman’s uterus. I’m sorry, but I do not want the uneducated moron living next door to me having ANY say on my reproductive organs or health ever. Nor do I want them having a say about my children. Just no. This is not an issue that should be voted on at all, but especially not considering how vague the measure is. It doesn’t specify how far things could go, which is intentional so that if passed (and I fear it will be passed) they can make a whole host of things they don’t like, illegal.

Beyond that, there is an obvious issue of not knowing the moment of conception. You have no idea that an egg has been fertilized unless you’re doing it under a microscope.

One of the big things that keeps being brought up is how if you murder a pregnant woman you get charged with a double murder, and therefore, a woman who has an abortion should also a murderer. But I just wonder how far we can take this. If a woman drinks alcohol before she knows she’s pregnant, can she be charged with child endangerment? I mean, if the two cells in her uterus is a person, isn’t she endangering their wellbeing? Shouldn’t she be arrested and jailed?

I am personally not able to use any birth control except an IUD because of concerns about the pressure in my head. And under personhood? I might not be able to use it anymore. Some IUDs work by not allowing fertilized eggs to attach to the uterine lining, and while I get that a lot of people are offended by this kind of birth control, I am not one of them and I want my IUD back. And since we don’t want 800 kids within 8 months of each other, we’re going to need some birth control. Or would you rather pay for food stamps for my family? I know that conservatives love government welfare! Surely that’s better than a contraceptive device that wouldn’t let two cells attach to my uterus. Additionally, Plan B wouldn’t be available for purchase anymore since it would technically cause the death of a 2 celled “person.”

As far as in vitro fertilization is concerned, you’d never be able to discard fertilized eggs that cannot be used. And more troubling, “personhood” could make it illegal to use embryos for stem-cell research which is vital to finding cures for hundreds of terrible diseases.

Above all else, this movement just plain doesn’t make sense. A fertilized egg doesn’t have nerve endings. It doesn’t have organs. It doesn’t have a heartbeat. It doesn’t have arm buds or a brain. My cat is 8000 times more of a person than a fertilized egg is. I think if we’re going to start giving 2 celled organisms this many rights that we should also no longer be allowed to squash bugs or euthanize pets.

I beg of you, see through this veiled attempt to end abortion and let that issue be dealt with in court. Don’t let people vote to make decisions for your reproductive health. Don’t let religious zealots hamper the ability for us to learn invaluable information about diseases and treatments that could save real people who are living among us today.

No one wins if this amendment passes. Especially not women.

Please vote no on “personhood.”

10 Responses to “Why “Personhood” Isn’t Good For Women”

  • Kim:

    It’s Mississippi that’s voting on Personhood, not Alabama. At least we’re not quite as dumb as they are here. Yet.


    Katie Reply:

    @Kim, Damn. My bad. I’ll correct it now. I should know better.

    Also, hahahaha.


  • AMEN. They can take my IUD when they pry it from my cold, dead uterus.


  • Xyzzy:

    I wholeheartedly agree. It wouldn’t be safe for me to carry to term *or* have a c-section thanks to my birth defects, too much major abdominal surgery and hereditary healing issues… So if I didn’t happen to be sterile and was raped in a state that valued my life less than that of a clump of cells, I’d be in big trouble.

    I wonder if, in addition to getting into trouble for drinking while pregnant, women would be punished for doing anything that could even theoretically cause birth defects? With the increasingly intolerant attitude towards disabled people/kids for having ‘different’ needs in our society, and intense pressure put on expectant couples to abort if their potential offspring has any kind of birth defects, I can imagine it.

    Also… You’re the strongest writer I know on controversial topics that are even faintly health-related — you should seriously consider submitting a version of this blog entry (among other things) to Salon.com or TheWIP.net.


  • My husband and I had a debate about this a few years ago, about obviously pregnant women drinking alcoholic beverages, and what, if anything, protects the fetus.

    While initially we were both incensed that no protection existed — i.e., that a police officer couldn’t arrest a woman for child (or unborn child) endangerment — we both came to understand (after talking about it with my mother, an attorney) what the implications were on a grander scheme.

    And it’s then that I get a little libertarian. Certainly we should make our best efforts to educate pregnant women on what we consider best practices for fetal health, but the truth is, how far can you go? If I can be arrested/charged for having an alcoholic drink while pregnant (which does carry a known risk, but is it quantifiable?), can I also be arrested/changed for sleeping on my back past 20 weeks gestation? Neglecting to take my prenatal vitamins? Having dental X-rays taken? Weighing risks and benefits and taking Class B or C drugs? Flying in an airplane and exposing both of us to radiation? Eating sushi or lunchmeat or raw cheese?

    Keep your laws away from my uterus. Even as I celebrate viability with the bundles of life within me at 33weeks, even as I may _think_ of them as little people with personalities and deserving of some sort of protection, it would be far worse to legislate their personhood. Far too dangerous a precedent.

    As many have said, if you are against abortion or birth control, don’t use it. But don’t tell me what to do with my own body. If I didn’t have access to The Pill long before I was sexually active, I would have been plagued with debilitating period cramps. How can you legislate what my purpose in having access to such drugs is? If I didn’t use some form of contraception while I was on seizure meds, I risked conceiving a baby with horrible birth defects.

    End Rant. Thank you, Katie, for bringing this up, and daring to divide us . I love vitriol.


  • Steffanie:

    As my favorite sign ever says: Keep your Boehner out of my Vagina!

    I think we need to start a movement to ban Viagra. If I can’t have my BC, your “medication” isn’t needed anymore.


  • I’m scared to learn of the outcome of today’s vote.


  • Madeleine:

    Katie, I’m sorry that this is both unrelated and personal, but is the pill dangerous for people with CM in general or is that specific to you?


  • Sarah:

    Thank you for writing this blog. You managed to articulate many of the furious, incensed, and frustrated thoughts swirling around my head!

    I’m a fiscally conservative republican, and I wish the government would focus on the ECONOMY, and stay out of peoples’ bedrooms and internal organs. Folks, there is more important stuff to worry about than two cells. Let women decide for themselves, and go create jobs!


  • Luna:

    Mississippi, where a 69 could get ya 20.


Leave a Reply

I'm Katie, a 30-year-old, wife, mom, former teacher-turned PT, who also had brain surgery in November of 2007. This blog chronicles my daily life, from mundane to crazy, often with far too much detail. Sit down, get comfortable and stay for a while.
Social Media Links
BlogHer Reviewer