You know, if they were really pro-life, they would also criminalize masturbation and menstruation. Every sperm is sacred! Every egg is a potential baby!
Snark aside, I do think it’s interesting that anti-choicers will put significant effort into a bill like this and into, say, prosecuting women who use drugs while pregnant, but they do absolutely nothing about the fact that enormous numbers of fertilized eggs — unique, individual lives, they argue — naturally fail to implant and are flushed out of a woman’s body. When I bring this up with anti-choice people, they always point to the causation factor — abortion is bad because a woman takes steps to end a pregnancy. It’s the difference between murder and natural death. Prosecuting women who used drugs while pregnant and gave birth to stillborns is acceptable because the woman did something which may have ended the baby’s life (that’s scientifically debatable, but a detour from the actual point of this post, so I’ll leave it alone for now). The Utah miscarriage law is understandable because it targets women who intended to have miscarriages.
I understand that. We do hold people more culpable for things that they do on purpose; we also hold people accountable for a lot of things that they do negligently. My question, though, isn’t with the punishment aspect, but with the activism aspect. Let’s say that we take anti-choicers on their word that they really, truly believe that a fertilized egg is a unique, individual human being, and that the death of that egg is like the death of a person. If that’s the truth, then why no activism around trying to find a cure for the close to 50 percent of fertilized eggs that naturally don’t implant, and are flushed out of the woman’s body? Sure, it’s not intentional, but if there were some disease that killed 50 percent of all five-year-olds, I’m pretty sure we’d be doing something about it, no?
I realize this is all pretty far afield from the actual Utah legislation, but it’s illustrative, I think, insofar as it demonstrates that the concern here isn’t really about fetuses or life or any of that. It’s about punishing women.
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