Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The religious "right"

Colorado officials have granted ballot status to Amendment 48, a document which, if passed and enacted, would change the legal definition of a "person" to be "any human being from the moment of fertilization."

Does this mean a miscarriage can be prosecuted as involuntary manslaughter?

Dark humor aside, this is a very serious issue. All manner of legal implications are entwined in this one little statement. Abortion, in-vitro fertilization, stem cell research, emergency contraception - even the jurisdiction of soon-to-be parents over their fetus in medical situations - and the rest of the proverbial "gamut" are capable of being involved. We don't even realize the full impact possible.
The timing here seems odd, given that, though Colorado is traditionally a red state (thanks to the relatively rich aerospace industry engineers who prefer to pay low taxes), it does, at the moment, have a liberal majority in the state legislative body. However, there is a growing number of "born again" Christians in the area around Colorado Springs, and this population may be behind the push for the amendment (I encourage readers to check out the movie Jesus Camp). An editorial in the Rocky Mountain News states that "the young woman who is credited with promoting this initiative believes that if a fertilized egg is declared a 'person,' she will be able to stop the use of many contraceptives and all abortions."

This is an utterly frightening concept for me.

I often joke with friends about defecting to Canada, but this just about clinches the deal. The government is formed by me (the people) and on my behalf. It is for my benefit. It's bad enough that I can't bring a bottle of shampoo on a plane; soon, the misplaced vindictiveness of fundamental Christians (don't forget, Jesus taught love and compassion) will prevent me from having any sort of control over my own body.

Never have I desired more strongly to say "my God, I'm pro-choice."

2 comments:

  1. Amen. We worked very hard during the 60s & 70s to give women the right to control their own bodies; I do not want to see us going backwards.

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  2. If one is to put such weight on the status of a single cell (in circumstances which have a momentous impact on the woman's life and body), one must be consistent and place even greater weight on vastly more complex arrangements of cells, especially in cases where there are no "extenuating circumstances" pertaining to the liberty of women. Consequently, this could only logically result in the assignment of such equivalent rights to plants (let alone animals), and so we shall all risk indictment for the consumption of a salad.

    I don't wish to seem flippant, but a ridiculous scenario induces a farcical response. As a British friend of mine said, when similar issues were pervading the media when I first came out here (2004): "Didn't we resolve this in the Sixties?" How have we regressed so much that this is even being discussed? Such suggestions are damaging in two manners; obviously, to the rights of women, but also to the public perception of Christian ideology.

    Contrast the current issue with the following excerpt from a book by a Christian priest and author (Bill Pollard), written with impressively clear foresight in the mid-Sixties:

    "[The] problems of energy, water, food and waste handling arise from, and are created by, the explosive increase in human population which is now going on. ...In the remaining third of this century, man will have fulfilled the biblical injunction to be fruitful and multiply the earth. But an inescapable corollary of this injunction faces us now with terrible urgency... ...it is essential that once the earth has been filled by man, he must stop being fruitful and cease further multiplication. The children of today's college graduates must, as they approach adulthood, already have started the process which their children must complete; namely that of separating human sexuality from procreation. All over the world this process will involve a profound religious and moral readjustment. Yet, there is no viable alternative to such a transformation. What God required of man during the long centuries before He filled the earth is quite different from what He will require of man after He has done so. Yet no other requirement calls for such a deep-seated readjustment in long-established religious, moral and social patterns, or is more resolutely resisted by mankind. This problem of achieving a stable human population on the planet dwarfs all others in both urgency and difficulty."

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