Reviews | This anti-abortion argument has forgotten that women are people too.
Contrary to their opening salvo, no blue state is considering “legislation to allow abortion up to the very point of birth.” No, what these states are doing is ensuring that women have full access to medical care, a right protected by the same 14th Amendment that Mr. George and Mr. Craddock have repeatedly invoked. It is also a position that most Americans support, although it is apparently irrelevant to the authors.
They used a similar rhetorical sleight of hand claiming that it is “a false and pseudo-original approach” for their detractors to claim that the 14th Amendment does not protect the unborn child “because he was the more immediately intended to protect black Americans”. In fact, that’s a completely accurate statement. Even a cursory reading of post-Civil War legislative debate confirms that the rights of the unborn were not a consideration at all for proponents of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments.
Beyond these grotesque distortions, only once in their sweeping endorsement of a federal constitutional ban on abortion did the authors bother to refer to mothers or women. In their world, apparently, the rights of unborn children do not only trump those of adults. They replace them. And as such, Mr. George and Mr. Craddock’s closing anthem to ensure “equal justice for all” rings horribly hollow.
Steven Alan Honley, Washington
In their op-ed, Robert P. George and Josh Craddock argued that Congress should enforce what they claim is the 14th Amendment’s use of the word “person” to include any child living in the womb. They then jumped to the additional claim that a child begins at conception.
Leaving aside the historical issues over which their argument has slipped, it should be noted that nowhere did the authors mention that Congress should help women who have unwanted pregnancies, or, for that matter, any pregnancy. By focusing on what they call unborn children, they seemed to forget that women too are “persons” and that their needs must also be met. Surely the authors could have added at least one sentence urging Congress to provide pregnant women and mothers with comprehensive health care, financial assistance, and protections from employers who threaten their jobs.
To overlook that women are people could have been accidental. Many readers will think otherwise. The editorial’s argument was consistent with a long history of viewing pregnancy as a problem that women must manage on their own within the framework of rules written by men. If men do not want to pay the costs of pregnancy or, like Mr. George and Mr. Craddock, include them in the assessment of continuing pregnancies, they should say so. It’s not just women who have a moral choice.
The 14th Amendment, Civil Rights Act of 1866, etc., were measures to clean up human rights principles compromised by Federalists in founding documents establishing inequalities in slaveowner representation and tolerance of slavery, that is, the treatment of people as property. These amendments were to extend the rights and fruits promised by the Constitution to the black population enfranchised during the Civil War. They are not exhaustive delimitations of the personality or its fruits. These amendments were intended to correct the abuses of slavery in the interpretation of personality.
The Victorian laws of England do not align well with the legal codes of most European countries. Most European law derives from the various codifications of the Roman Empire. Roman law considered the unborn child as a “potential person”. And, once born, the child would immediately acquire inheritance rights; the unborn child had no right to inherit property.
The use of “infant” or “child” for all stages of pregnancy should have been dropped along with many other Victorian misconceptions. The essence of the character lies in the identification of the human form. The umbilical cord is the knot of matter for the human form. The Victorians don’t seem to notice that middle-aged people, children, and infants, for all intents and purposes, don’t have an umbilical cord. Check it out! They don’t! And, ethically, that umbilical cord makes a big difference in how choices should be made.
Human design and development can be illegitimate, unwanted, planned and/or controlled. No one is more interested than the main invested person: the mother.
Bruce Mathews, Catonsville
In their editorial, Robert P. George and Josh Craddock made a compelling case for “equal rights for our little brothers and sisters at the dawn of their lives”. They did this by repeatedly referring to “unborn children”, with one dismissive occurrence of the word “mother” and one wonderfully reductive use of the word “womb”. Like the Constitution they analyze so carefully, they never use the word “woman”.
The obvious result of calling abortion “homicidal” is that the “womb” will have no higher rights than the zygote. Criminalizing any form of reproductive choice inevitably requires criminalizing the pregnant person who sought it out. Very soon, a woman’s right to life-saving medical care will be sacrificed to save the fetus.
Many analysts have shown in painful detail the financial and emotional damage suffered by women forced into childbirth and the damage done to the interests of their existing children and their wider communities. Suffering is the point.
As birth control methods are increasingly restricted by these same right-thinking men, it is clear that punishing any woman or girl who has sex is the goal of the anti-abortion movement.
Somehow it has become a “Christian” tenet of faith to control the sex lives of women and homosexuals. Yet the only thing I remember Jesus saying about sexual mores was when the Pharisees prepared to stone an “adulterer” (note that the man involved was apparently blameless) and offered to Jesus the honor of casting the first stone. He said, “Let him that is without sin cast the first stone. »
Katherine Crump Wiesner, Washington
Robert P. George and Josh Craddock claimed that the life of a fetus begins at conception. When does life begin is a tough question best left to the experts.
Fortunately, an undisputed expert has taken care of this question: Immanuel Kant. “Critique of Pure Reason”, edition 1781, pages 341 to 405 of the German text, in particular 384, deals at length with the state of the soul in the life of a human being, the soul in and before birth of that being, and the soul in and after the death of that being. Kant shows that he cannot provide answers to these questions. But no one else, he establishes, can either.
A statement that life begins at some point should not be taken as a statement of fact.
Wilbur H. Friedman, Rockville
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