Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Freedom Is Worth the Cost

Now that our Mississippi legislators, particularly Sen. Joey Fillingane, have taken it upon themselves to reintroduce "personhood" measures, we've got to listen to the incessant whining and puling of the anti-freedom fetus cult yet again. Forced birth supporter Linda Broome wrote this letter to the Hattiesburg American so I will respond here to her statements.

My, My. How could any of us forget the vote, 58 percent to 42 percent, to reject the rights of the unborn.

I don't think the 58% voted to reject the rights of the unborn so much as to reaffirm women's rights to make their own medical decisions. The forced-birth fetus cult pulled all the stops trying to make us believe that this was just about abortion but the initiative also opened the door to deny women access to medication and healthcare services that might be in their best interests. No exceptions was just a step too far.

I believe no matter how inconvenient or unwanted a pregnancy may be, abortion is a very selfish act.

Ms. Broome has every right to believe this but her belief should not trump our Constitutional values or our scientific and social understanding of pregnancy.

Mothers are supposed to love, care and protect their babies, not murder them.

Legally, abortion is not the same as murder. Ethically, abortion also does not equal murder for many Americans. So while it is true that parents should love their children and not harm them, this isn't relevant to the personhood question.

What about their rights? They are the most vulnerable in our society.

This question has already been settled by the Supreme Court in Roe v Wade, Ms. Broome. The unborn's right to life does not trump the right to life and liberty of the mother until the later stages of pregnancy. It's a delicate balance that the states were supposed to work out. Instead, many of them, like Mississippi, have made a mess of it.

Who will protect them? Or acknowledge they are the creation of God? Maybe, just maybe, our elected officials represent these, too.

It is not the government's job to declare fertilized eggs to be any god's creation and that is not a sufficient reason to grant them the same rights as a living, born person. 

Although the unborn souls are not of the age to vote, maybe votes are not all that matter to our elected officials.

Unborn souls? We should pass personhood laws because you believe a soul enters the fertilized egg the moment it is fertilized? Can you define a soul? Can you demonstrate that it exists? Can you show us the mechanism by which it enters flesh at a particular time? If not, then you have no basis for your statement.

And what part of this don't you understand? 

I don't understand the part where you want to ignore settled law in favor of some trumped up religious rhetoric.

I don't understand the part where you think that the right to life of a fertilized egg is magically equal to or more important than the rights of the woman carrying it.

I don't understand the part where you want to take away women's freedom to make the best healthcare choices for themselves because of your ideology.

I don't understand the part where you set yourself up as a god by defining life and dictating who gets the benefits (which is always the unborn).

And I definitely don't understand the part where small government advocates make arguments just like yours for letting big government intrude into the most intimate and important places we have. I don't understand why you hate women's freedom.

The forced-birth fetus cult is working desperately to turn this into a zero-sum game in which the fertilized egg gets complete rights to life and the woman carrying it (whether by her will or no) gets no rights to liberty or life. They are willing to sacrifice pregnant women at the altar of politics and prayer and for what? What's going to happen to all those unwanted children? Do you really think there are enough adoptive parents around who want crack babies, those with fetal alcohol syndrome, and those who've been abused? Do you seriously believe that all these pristine white parents are going to rush to adopt children of color? Some will, true, but the majority will not. You're living in a fantasy world if you don't realize that you are damning most of these fertilized eggs to years of misery and grief.

There is a price to freedom and that price is that some people aren't going to use their freedom in ways that you like. For example, I don't like that people believe in and practice fundamentalist religions. I think it's harmful to society. Nevertheless, I have absolutely no right to demand that Americans be denied religious freedom. If I wrote a letter to the editor whining about how fundamentalist Christian churches should be closed for your own good, I'd quite rightly get tons of stinging retorts. So too should Ms. Broome be hearing high and low from Mississippians who love their freedom and refuse to have it taken away. Ms. Broome may have the very best intentions at heart but she has no right to assign personhood to my fertilized eggs and force me to carry an unwanted child - especially when that fetus is a threat to my physical or mental health.

The cost of freedom is having to deal with some things you don't like. It sucks but freedom is worth the cost.

Deal with it.