Fertilization-Assigned Personhood [FAP]

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Tiassa, May 11, 2014.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Fertilization-Assigned Personhood

    Content Warning: The Florida House of Representatives has determined that discussion of such issues as this thread concerns are unsuitable for minors. Yes, really. Then again, one or another of the California legislative chambers—what, thirty-five, forty years ago?—determined that a large number of popular rock and roll songs had backward Satanic messages hidden in them. Like the one about the dangers of cocaine. Good heavens, you can't let the children hear that. At any rate, it seemed worth mentioning.

    It's a bit unusual, to be certain. But it's hardly the most outrageous of tales, despite Steve Benen's narrative:

    As for the other bill, proponents cited a recent incident in which a Tampa Bay woman was tricked by an ex-boyfriend into taking pills that caused her to miscarry in order to justify new legislation. Democratic state Rep. Elaine Schwartz asked, “How are you going to know that the miscarriage was caused by some event, even months ago? This is much too broad. It’s unenforceable and it’s part of a war on women.”

    Nevertheless, this argument did not carry the day and the issue now goes to the state Senate.

    But what struck me as especially interesting was, of all things, what lawmakers did with the legislative pages during the debate.

    Like most legislative bodies in the U.S., Florida has a page program – young students who want to learn more about government and lawmaking help members by delivering messages and running errands.

    But when it came time to debate new reproductive-rights restrictions, the pages were shielded – they were kept outside because the content of the debate was deemed unacceptable for minors.

    And, apparently, after the vote, the pages returned for debate on firearms.

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    Silly, indeed, but where abortion access advocates warn of a slippery slope on the Florida personhood front, there are more aggressive laws that might well come to pass in the near future.

    South Carolina H.3233 is pretty straightforward (block capitals is sic):

    A BILL


    So, now let us talk about equal protection.

    No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    Fertilization-Assigned Personhood [FAP] is a legislative attempt to invoke a "new class of person" in the United States, assigning inalienable Constitutional rights to a fertilized ovum.

    Ostensibly, these laws are intended to end abortion rights in the United States. Additionally, these laws will prohibit the use of the most popular forms of birth control for women, which prevent pregnancy by preventing implantation of the a newly-fertilized zygote. Furthermore, they will not only lend credence, but also legal imperative, to efforts undertaken in many states to use fetal protection laws ostensibly passed to protect pregnant women from violence as a means to prosecute women who have simple accidents while pregnant, or suffer mental illness during pregnancy.

    But FAP also creates a specific conflict under the Equal Protection Clause: What happens when one person must assert equal protection that grants authority over another equally protected person's body?

    Formally, it is hard to pin down FAPpers on their answer. Thematically, it seems they have chosen the easy way out, relying on the need to denigrate a woman's human status but refusing to acknowledge that condition. Indeed, the question pertains to virtually any assertion of personhood in utero [PIU]: How does one manage the conflict of two equally protected people when one must assert authority over another's very person?

    In the forty-one years since Roe v. Wade, the anti-abortion argument, which rests entirely on some assertion of PIU, has been unable to answer this question; indeed, historically they prefer to avoid it altogether. Despite their deepest hopes, the question persists.

    In assigning personhood to any preborn human organism, one invokes the equal protection conflict that arises when one "person" exists inside another.

    And in the United States, at least, there really isn't any legitimate way around the question; the supreme law of the land is the supreme law of the land. To the other, one might suggest that such problematic outcomes could only result if we are so irrational as to respect the supreme law of the land.

    Very well, then: The rights to life and equal protection vest in a person at the moment of fertilization. What happens next?

    And remember: Nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    Which means that ignoring the U.S. Constitution is not an option, no matter how rational one might think it is to do so.


    Benen, Steve. "Florida shields pages from abortion debate". MSNBC. April 15, 2014. MSNBC.com. May 10, 2014. http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/florida-shields-pages-abortion-debate

    Weinstein, Adam. "Legislators Ban Young Impressionable Interns During Abortion Debate". Gawker. April 10, 2014. Gawker.com. May 10, 2014. http://gawker.com/florida-house-bans-young-impressionable-interns-during-1561719906

    South Carolina General Assembly. "H.3323 Personhood Act of South Carolina". 120th Session, 2013-14. SCStateHouse.gov. May 10, 2014. http://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess120_2013-2014/bills/3323.htm

    Constitution of the United States of America. 1992. Law.Cornell.edu. May 10, 2014. http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution
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  3. Balerion Banned Banned



    Oh, that is priceless . Say that five times fast.

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  5. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Intellectual Abdication and PIU

    Intellectual Abdication and PIU

    An example of how it goes:

    Proposition: This is a proposition of personhood versus guaranteed equal protection of all people, and the question of what happens when one of those "people" exists inside another.

    At the time the fetus emerges and exists outside the mother's body, this question disappears.

    Response: "About that fuzzy line: actually the question disappears at the point of viability."

    One really does wonder what happens at viability that changes the fact of the fetal "person" existing inside another person.

    And, of course, there is no answer:

    "Are you not really down with the English thing? Think that viability thing through and get back to me."

    And what is "that viability thing"?

    It's hard to discern:

    "Beyond that 27-week boundary, we're presented as you note with an embryo that is - with medical support, which is admittedly expensive - viable. (This is a side-element of why the 'bright line' characterisation beyond the DFA is, frankly, completely fallacious.) And the fact of this viability is already in place, although, again, with extensive and expensive medical support. Avoiding the minefield being presented by the other side about abortion from 20-27 weeks, we're already presented with this choice. I suspect this 'other side' will see this as 'chipping away at abortion rights', except that the deadline is already far more liberal than any of the current deadlines. (In fact, it would probably be untenable for political reasons, which is another issue.) What one of the extreme pro-choicers on SF meant by the false assertion that this takes away the rights of women by using a biological definition to bypass law is: This biological definition removes, ad infinitum, my side's chances of overturning existing law in favour of a DFA policy that I would rather see instituted. I wish to remove the present, more conservative limitations in favour of no limitations whatsoever, and this biological concept is founded a little too well for my liking. It represents a logical - and probably more ethical - barrier that I cannot overcome, and it frightens me on behalf of my ethos. It's part and parcel of the intellectual disjunction that is going on through this issue on the thread: the shrill cry of 'reason' as a shield for politics." (#3189597/1790)

    "I mean, we can go on pretending that the fetus doesn't exist up until birth, I guess. Maybe we could say it was just a nasty case of nine-month indigestion coupled with limb movements and responses to external stimuli from an unknown, unknowable and, most importantly, unseen enemy entity. And who really – really, now! – really knows anything at all about these life-draining creatures and their bulky, moody, liquid-filled port-a-sacs wrapped in Old Navy maternity jeans? Certainly, no state of medical knowledge exists about these parasites and their ways – lazily sleeping all the time; and is it mere metaphorical coincidence that they spend their days concealed in the dark? – so that we must be completely unable to judge their state of existence, let alone sentience or voting habits. And who can say what their carbon footprint might be? It's just that it doesn't seem particularly smart or well-informed to pretend that because we don't know anything about these sneaky womb-hijackers that we should only accept that they really exist when we can no longer ignore their shrill, all-about-me cries for cleaning, attention and breathing." (#3189741/1811)

    It is a curious way to address the question: Simply post a contrarian response, and then refer people to an argument that doesn't answer the question.

    But the problem remains functional. PIU/FAP advocates promote their policies seemingly without considering implications. Even proclaimed atheists can be found appealing to an abstract and subjective "moral authority" in order to sidestep the question. Still, whether it's "God" or "justice" or the "Flying Spaghetti Monster" one appeals to, how does this work functionally?

    The functional question remains unanswered. When observable reality must be replaced by an internal fantasy abstraction—e.g., "the question disappears at the point of viability"—there really isn't much of function left about that argument.

    Function remains important; many PIU advocates disdain what they consider extreme interpretations of those implications, but what their argument lacks is any affirmative assertion of what they expect will happen. Meanwhile, many of those allegedly extreme implications are already occurring without FAP.

    It is true that this discussion might look different without an American context. More generally, it would certainly look different in a setting without any guarantee of equal protection under the law for all persons within the jurisdiction of that law. Meanwhile, these personhood proposals turn up in state legislatures and vying for state ballots, and even make regular appearances in Congress.

    Perhaps FAPpers and other PIU advocates really haven't thought it through. Perhaps they think they can create a new legal class of personhood and restrict its Equal Protection rights to their anti-abortion desires. One would hope they are not so naïve, but their refusal these last forty-one years since Roe to answer this question must, at some point, be considered suggestive at the very least.
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  7. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Too young, do not want?

    Wow. Tiassa made a new thread where he could talk higher about me and didn't even have the graces to invite me there.

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    Tiassa. I just don't know what to say. You could have just put your answers in the thread. Although, I guess that was a bit off-topic. Yeah, it's better to start a new one, with a coloured title and OP, so that you can control the narrative a little better. And it wants to be controlled. It's begging for it. Just look at the way it looks at you.

    Anyway: so all that stuff about how the late fetus was part of the mother's body because it was dependent on the mother was just, y'know, stuff. In reality, it doesn't matter whether it was dependent or not, because it was really... er... just too young. Like, younger than birth. Yeah, that's what was really really important, all along. Not dependancy. Youth. The kids are all right? Of course they're not, the vicious little ovum-snatchers. And I bet you were dumb enough to think that's what we all meant from the start! Hah! Stupid woman-hater.

    I got a chuckle from this also: so you think that questions of personhood don't inform any of the limitations on abortion that already exist. I see. These restrictions on later-term abortion must have been established for some other reason that has nothing to do with the conception of personhood as defined by jurists, who are not humans or moral anyway and therefore derive no part of their thinking from such concerns (perhaps they're all closet atheists). Why, that's why abortion doesn't become increasingly monitored at later gestational periods. It's just shocking to think how some people misinterpret this in so many countries worldwide.


    I was also very much amused by your newest rejoinder to why atheists can't be good people. I mean, where do these people dare to get their morality from? Oh, they can say they're really nice, but how does that work, functionally? The Golden Rule? Good education and a sound moral upbringing? Please. Those values are only instilled via supernatural transcendence. Nice try, God-dodgers.

    It's just prevarication, or maybe provocation when atheists say they have the same tap on morality just 'cause they grew up in the same society and all; run with either of those explanations, Charlie, they're all good headlines. See, the one thing we really really know about all this is that theistic people, when they say they're moral - listen up, Charlie, I'm edumacatin' here - when theists say they're moral, well we know they are, 'cause they have this father in the sky that says they're moral if they just do what He says. And those things are moral, because he says so, no objectivity required.

    What's that? Theists do vicious and inhuman things too? What are you, a contrarian or something?
  8. Capracus Valued Senior Member

    The keg of social morals taped by atheists and theists is a result of millennia of human experience and social evolution. That theists have organizationally codified such morality doesn’t give them any legitimate right to their origin, only perhaps to some degree to their perpetuation. Morality is social technology, and should be evaluated no differently than any other form of human technology. Why don’t we see a lot of theistic references to the origins of most other forms of human technology? Bomb technology for example:

    Last edited: May 11, 2014
  9. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    That, sir, is an interesting description.
  10. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

    This. This happens next. Gov. Bill Haslam has signed into law legislation that would punish pregnant women who abuse narcotics. The measure would allow women to be charged with assault if they abuse narcotics while pregnant and give birth to a child who is dependent on drugs or harmed as a result.

    I guess they'll just have to abort. Can you imagine? You're charged with assault against a fetus because you just can't help using being drug addled and all. Then you go out and abort the fetus. fetus gone problem solved. Bet they wouldn't see that coming.
  11. Bells Staff Member

    Unfortunately they did:

    Martina Greywind, a twenty-eight-year-old homeless Native American woman from Fargo, North Dakota, was arrested when she was approximately twelve weeks pregnant. She was charged with reckless endangerment, based on the claim that by inhaling paint fumes she was creating a substantial risk of serious bodily injury or death to her unborn child. After spending approximately two weeks in the Cass County Jail, Greywind was able to obtain release for a medical appointment. At that appointment Greywind obtained an abortion, despite widely publicized efforts by abortion opponents to persuade her to carry the pregnancy to term. Following the abortion, Greywind filed a motion to dismiss the charges. The state agreed to a dismissal: “Defendant has made it known to the State that she has terminated her pregnancy. Consequently, the controversial legal issues presented are no longer ripe for litigation.”14

    According to news reports, the prosecutor in the case stated that since Greywind had had an abortion, it was “no longer worth the time or expense to prosecute her” (Orlando Sentinel 1992).15

    Martina Greywind is just one of the many hundreds.

    Reading through that journal describes just how bad things are now. It will only get worse.
  12. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

    Wow. Thanks for that report. I guess its back to the good ole days where desperate women are forced into taking desperate measures.
  13. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Good for the Economy, and Other Notes

    I would hope that some of the witch-doctoring that will go on in order to provide all sorts of alleged abortifacients at least gets some organized-crime support, which will do much regulate quality and even provide opportunities for these black-market formulae to include some genuine science and technology. This doesn't have to be some traditional mixture of herb and wort in just the right balance. We can only hope that it will be less dangerous than before.

    And if the cartels want to make some money, they can start smuggling patients across the border and back for medical treatment in order to offset the losses in their narcotics sectors as more jurisdictions in the U.S. and around the world hop on the legalization train.

    One thing is for certain: FAP will create jobs.
  14. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

    I find it so confusing. Why is there suddenly such a strong backlash against medical access for women's reproductive rights? Its like they're not directly trying to overturn Roe vs Wade as much as working around it so for example Texas decides an abortion clinic must meet "surgery-center standards" (even for early non-surgical abortions) forcing half of their abortion clinics to close. And there were only 34 abortion clinics to begin with!!! I mean Texas is a big state! And then people are wondering why some women are having late term abortions. They have to bloody travel to god knows where just to get one which is an added financial burden if you are not well heeled. So now you have poor women in isolated parts of the state having to come up with the money to travel hundreds of miles just to get an abortion. Its crazy. Yet they all claim they care about women. Strange.
  15. Bells Staff Member

    Well if the other thread is to be believed, she is the murderous, irresponsible woman who just couldn't make up her mind before she decided to murder her conscious little baby in her uterus because abortion is like a form of birth control. And she should be stopped.

    There is nothing strange about it.

    Even rape victims now, they are asking 'why would she wait?'.. Disregarding the psychological trauma of rape or incest and how so many go into denial of what happened to them in the first place, let alone consider a possible pregnancy. Disregarding that so many rapes go unreported for that very reason.

    There is no care about the woman. They only care about "the baby" and saving "the baby". The woman is a byproduct of that. A non-entity who serves a purpose. Nothing more, nothing less. To some, it's not even a women's rights issue.

    So there is nothing strange about it.

    And welcome back.

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  16. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

    But what's in it for them? I mean most women have children and do not have abortions. Most women who have had an abortion go on to later have children when they're better prepared.What is this obsession on the fetus? Its not as if were running out of babies! I recently read an article that there are more and more incidents of young women trying to induce abortions and ending up in the ER with a f**ked up uterus, burns from injecting bleach in their fannies and so on. Is THAT what they want?!

    Some women will want to abort, many women will not. What the hell is the problem with that? Why is it that now every tom, dick and jane thinks its their job to stick their head up some chicks vajayjay to check on the uterus? Its crazy! Its shouldn't be anyone's business. I mean aren't there enough problems in the US already? Hell in 2008 the CDC reported the US ranked 29th in infant mortality. Yep. Crouched between Slovakia and Poland or something like that. US #1 NOT!

    Why aren't they scrambling to fix that bit of data? I mean if they care so much about the lil ones, they should be concerned that women who WANT to keep their babies are losing them. Nearly seven U.S. babies die out of every 1,000 live births. More than 28,000 American babies die before their first birthday. Why aren't they rallying around that?

    Then there's this beaut. 15.9 million children under 18 in the United States live in households where they are unable to consistently access enough nutritious food necessary for a healthy life. http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in...0/2010-MMG-Child-Executive-Summary-FINAL.ashx

    You should read the report. They break down the percentages for each state. In many states its up to 20 to 30 percent of children under the age of 18. In DC its 30%. So basically the poor cannot even afford to feed the children they have now and you have these jokers proposing they be forced to have more children. Cause we all know that poor, uneducated, unprepared, husbandless young women make really really great moms.
  17. Bells Staff Member

    I think it's more a case of that is what she deserves.

    So she is irresponsible for having sex, she is irresponsible for not preventing the pregnancy, she is irresponsible if she waits to have an abortion and gets one later on in her pregnancy.

    You read some of the comments in the other thread, even when it's pointed out that restricting abortions or banning late term abortions will result in women dying, the general response is kind of along the line of 'well she's killing a child' and one went so far as to say that he didn't care if she was injured or died trying to kill her child if it's a late term abortion.

    You know the Lilith myth? The evil woman who comes for the children and seduces the men? Doesn't the Talmud Bavli even associate Lilith with abortion? That if an abortion happens and the child looks like Lilith, it means the mother is unclean or something?

    To many of these people, the mother is Lilith, evil and one who feels no pity in killing a child.

    So ultimately, she deserves whatever happens to her.
  18. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

    Okay but what about the child then? Aren't they even remotely concerned about what life would be for a child being raised by the irresponsible, evil, poor, uneducated and unprepared husbandless woman?
  19. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    And who are "these people"? Specify and identify.
  20. Bells Staff Member


    The child then becomes a statistic, a problem for the State. Look at the complaint about providing health care to the poor in countries like the US and even Australia.

    The child, once born, loses its innocence to some of these people. It will cease to be a child worth saving once it's born.

    It's only when it is in the womb of the mother, the woman, Lilith, that it is deemed worthy enough to save against the irresponsible, uneducated, promiscuous whore who sleeps around without taking the necessary precautions to prevent getting pregnant and then murdering her baby once she is pregnant.

    It's why pro-life supporters often use images of mangled up foetuses, you know the mother did that to them. The mother had sex, got pregnant and then murdered her child.

    It's about saving the child from Lilith, the irresponsible, murderous whore. She must be stopped. She is evil. She must not be allowed to have rights over her body to kill that innocent child. She must serve her purpose, hence the child becomes paramount, worth saving while the mother is the irresponsible murderous whore who must be stopped.

    For example:

    This is exceptionally extreme (came up as the fifth in search for women who have abortions are whores), however ask any pro-lifer if the overall sentiment is true and they would probably agree with the general message.

    The third in the list of options gave this article, written by a pro-lifer:

    You know, they are recognising that screaming and calling them whores may not be that appealing, so it's best to be friendly about it..
  21. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

    Bells you're scaring the shit out of me. I never even heard of this "lilith" myth character.

    Sooo...What happened to all the sane, reasonable, practical people then? Where'd they all go? LOL
  22. Capracus Valued Senior Member

    Some additional relevant details.
    The state of North Dakota did this woman, her kids present and future, and society in general a favor. She was already determined to be an unfit mother to her present children, you could argue the state would be negligent in allowing her to make it worse with another.

    Too bad conditions in the state of Alabama couldn’t give this woman a similar out.
  23. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

    Next we'll be hearing that women such as Martina should have court ordered hysterectomies. I have no problem with her decision to have an abortion. What is frightening is that a poor woman who is so overwhelmed with personal issues cannot have easy access to an abortion yet they want to penalize her for being an addict and not a good productive expecting mother. I didn't know about these cases brought up here in the thread and its convincing me that this is a war on poor uneducated underprivileged women more than it is a war on abortion. I mean is this what everyone wants. Little children being born and taken over the by the state? The same state some people claim is "too big" and therefore all social services programs should be stopped? You just wait. If the US keeps going like this it will soon look like Romania.

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