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Are Women Human? Part Umpteen

The talk about fetal personhood bills, and especially Lauren Kelley’s point about the activists turning a health issue into a criminal one, got me thinking. So much so that I actually wrote her some feedback, which now, I guess, I’m going to turn into an open letter of feedback. (There’s a whole series in the NYTimes [1], a newspaper I’m terminally annoyed with, so I have most of this secondhand from public twitter feeds.)

Pregnancy is a health issue if women are people.

But they really can’t be people to those pushing fetal personhood. If women were actual humans in their minds, the pro-fetus crowd would know that personhood does not mean a guaranteed right to erase women.

After all, if an adult man is about to die for lack of a kidney transplant, we don’t send tissue-typing trucks to roam the streets until a match is found for him and the required spare kidney is extracted. Yet it’s a parallel case. A person (everyone agrees an adult man is a person) will die unless he can use another person’s kidney. If you wanted an exactly parallel case, the healthy person would be drafted to dialyse his blood for nine months. We don’t do that either.

That’s for the simple reason that the counterparty really is a person in that example. In the case of pregnancy, it’s necessarily a woman which somehow makes everything different.

But it isn’t. The only thing that’s different is that plenty of people are not used to thinking of women as actual human beings. They’re brood mares first, humans, maybe, second.

The real assumptions behind all this are important because they determine the ground on which you argue. Remember the old Roe v Wade days and the anti-choicers calling themselves “pro-life”? The size of the joke on us is becoming clearer by the day. At the time too few wanted to hear that accepting bogus terminology ceded the high ground before we’d even begun to fight. Now here we are, pleading for our lives, not our rights.

We need to be as clear as we can about the real terms of the argument. This isn’t really about anyone’s health. If it was, we’d have had those tissue-typing vans driving around ever since organ transplantation was feasible. This isn’t even about whether fetuses are persons. It’s about whether women are persons.

5 Comments (Open | Close)

5 Comments To "Are Women Human? Part Umpteen"

#1 Comment By Branjor On 04 Jan, 2019 @ 17:33

Excellent post, spot on. The fact is, we’re not people in the worldview increasingly espoused by both right and left wing males. And we become less and less people with each passing day and “advancement” in their attitudes and laws, including “human rights” attitudes and laws. I’ll never forget making the exact same argument you are making here in an exchange with a “pro life” man online a few years back – comparing forced continuation of pregnancy to forced organ donation, saying we don’t force the organ donation and we shouldn’t force the pregnancy either. The “pro lifer” replied to me that the two were entirely different, not analogous, because the pregnancy was “natural” whereas the organ donation was not. I was so shocked I didn’t even know what to say. This “argument” took me completely by surprise. In the ensuing years I have become wiser about the kinds of things these types come up with to rationalize and justify their denying human rights to women. Today, if some bozo were to use that line on me I would say “OK, intensive care isn’t “natural” either, so if you become so sick you can’t live without it, then we should just let nature take its course and let you die.” Shit. Abortion isn’t the only thing that’s “unnatural”, their entire damn “civilization” is unnatural.

#2 Comment By quixote On 09 Jan, 2019 @ 22:03

Hi Branjor!

Everything these days is like that marcher’s poster: I can’t believe it’s 2018 2019 and I’m still fighting this shit.

You’re right: it’s getting worse.

The only good news is that history is nonlinear. Some day, things will turn a corner. If we’re really lucky, it’ll be in our lifetimes.

#3 Comment By Branjor On 10 Apr, 2019 @ 08:26

You said:

Because I don’t see any indication that the Powers-That-Be realize taking him to court doesn’t mean he’ll comply with the result. They’re still assuming he lives in the same reality as the rest of us.

I was thinking that too and wondering if I was the only one. I think they’ll just ignore court orders / subpoenas for the unredacted Mueller report and the taxes. If a law enforcement team doesn’t just go in and physically seize those documents, I don’t think we’ll ever see them and I think dump will get away with it.

#4 Comment By quixote On 10 Apr, 2019 @ 11:52

The, let’s call them respectable, parts of government do finally start reacting, but they’re always so far behind the curve they might as well just about not bother.

Climate change. The time to be where we are now was around 1979.

The Dump. The evidence to see that he is a corrupt lying thieving wannabe mafioso was all there before he got the nomination. The time to react to that was 2015-early 2016.

Reminds me of that old Frank Zappa song, or maybe it’s two songs I’ve crosslinked, “call any vegetable, call it by name,” and it’ll tell you “it can’t happen here.”

When they finally see that it’s time to send in the cops, our grandkids will be at mandatory rallies for the goon, admiring his cool personal army.

#5 Comment By Branjor On 14 Apr, 2019 @ 13:54

Yes, they’re always too late. Vegetables. And they go at their own pace; nothing anybody says can speed them up.