You could give them credit for persistence, but then the Black Death was persistent too. What makes Personhood USA and their crusade so bad is that it’s not spread by fleas but by humans. There is malice behind Personhood USA’s war on the American people; the Black Death’s Yersinia pestiswas simply a mindless bacterium. The one thing the two do have in common is that they spread and that they’re difficult to get rid of.
Case in point: Having suffered a dramatic reverse in conservative Mississippi, Personhood USA has set its sites on the beleaguered people of Wisconsin. OneNewsNow’s headline is ” Personhood needed to fix ‘flaw’ in The Badger State.”
Hear that, Wisconsin? You’re about to be fixed. Like a stray dog.
Representative Andre Jacque (R) is the carrier of this particular bacterium, namely LRB 2859/1 — the Wisconsin Personhood Amendment. LRB 2859/1 has one purpose: to deprive women of control of their own uteri: it would put an end not only to abortion but to fertility treatments and worse, to birth control itself. Far from advancing the cause of civilization, LRB 2859/1 would set it back – by decades.
As OneNewsNow informs us, he has “introduced the bill that would amend the state constitution to apply personhood rights to unborn children by declaring that life begins at conception. He deems the amendment minimal, but absolutely essential.” Take a look at this thing:
Proposed Amendment Text
(LRB 2859/1, authored by State Representative Andre Jacque)
Wisconsin Constitution. Article I. Declaration of Rights.
Resolved by the assembly, the senate concurring, that:
Section 1 of the constitution is amended to read:
Equality; inherent rights. Section 1. All people are equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights; among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; to secure these rights, governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. As applied to the right to life, the terms “people” and “person” shall apply to every human being at any stage of development.
“It’s actually a flaw in our current constitution where you have to be born in order to access inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. So this takes away the ability for some future activist state Supreme Court to basically overturn the pre-Roe v. Wade anti-abortion restriction that we have on the books.”
It’s endlessly fascinating that fundamentalists want to guarantee a fertilized egg “inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” simply so they can later deny them those same rights after birth, based upon gender, sexual orientation, religious preferences, and/or ethnicity. But that seems to be the game here. How a fertilized egg can have more rights than a human being after birth is inexplicable – even a mother does not possess the rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” according to Personhood USA and their allies, but a fertilized egg inside her – an unrealized human being – does. A mother becomes nothing more than a living test tube and with as many rights as that piece of sterilized glass.
“It is something that we certainly need to start from that position of strength – that principle of life beginning at conception. And I think that really is a way to re-phrase the current abortion debate in a way that … recognizes humanity from its very beginning.”
Beginning at conception and apparently ending at birth. That is certainly something the Founding Fathers could not have anticipated. Personhood Wisconsin puts forth the following claim regarding “personhood”:
What is personhood and why is it so foundational to the pro-life movement? Put simply, a “person” is a human being who is fully protected under the law; and we use the legal term “personhood” to describe this condition. Once a human being is declared a person that individual is guaranteed certain legal rights, such as the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In other words, to be a person is to be protected by a series of God-given and constitutionally protected rights.
All, apparently, except mothers, victims of rape and incest, and other undesirable elements of our population, including gays and lesbians, atheists, Muslims, pagans, and others, who have fewer rights than the select few intended to benefit from this measure. A mother, for example, dying from complications of pregnancy, has no right to life because she must die so that the embryo inside her can live, and victims and rape and incest must be forced to give birth to the offspring of their rapists, because they have fewer rights than the zygotes inside them. The idea of liberty, let alone of “pursuit of happiness” becomes a joke of cosmic proportions.
Jacque also warns that the changing the makeup of the Wisconsin Legislature could jeopardize any pro-life laws, though he does not think the protection of the pre-born should rely upon which party is in control. Regardless, the Green Bay representative expects hot debate over the proposal, and he says it is a discussion that should absolutely take place.
And his measure should be jeopardized by the changing makeup of the Wisconsin Legislature as sanity is restored in the wake of Tea Party excesses. Jacque worries about the protection of the “pre-born” but cares nothing about protecting the already-born. Hell, in Wisconsin the already-born don’t even have the right to collectively bargain let alone know what their representatives are doing on “their behalf” behind closed doors.
The Waunakee Tribune voices a valid complaint about this legislation:
Talk about wrong priorities! At a time when the people of Wisconsin are trying their best to weather decreased wages, lost jobs, and the lack of affordable health insurance, state legislative leadership is so determined to advance their personal social agendas, that this week they advanced six anti-women’s health proposals within a 48-hour period.
Clearly, this legislation is part of the larger attack on Women’s Reproductive Rights, which in turn is part of a large-scale and well coordinated Republican War on Women. No jobs will be created by these punitive measures, no rights granted without rights being taken away. The common good will be advanced not one whit by imposition of one religion’s viewpoint on all others. But that will be the end result of this measure, if passed.
Fortunately, as it says in the bill itself, as a proposed constitutional amendment, LRB 2859/1 must be adopted “by two successive legislatures, and ratification by the people, before it becomes effective.” The people of Wisconsin have something the victims of the Black Death did not: foreknowledge of impending doom. They have time to prepare, and best, they have a weapon of their own: the right to vote – at least until Republicans knock the metaphorical penicillin from their hands and strip that right away from them as well.
Because that’s one thing opponents of Christian theocracy absolutely do not have: the right to disagree, and if you disagree – to vote.
Image from Jezebel.com