What Fresh Hell Is This?

June 13, 2011

Lil Ricky And The Personhood Dog Whistle

Via Thinkprogress, we learn of former Senator Rick Santorum's extreme position on a woman's right to choose. He was being interviewed by David Gregory when this exchange occurred:
QUESTION: Do you believe that there should be any legal exceptions for rape or incest when it comes to abortion?

SANTORUM: I believe that life begins at conception, and that that life should be guaranteed under the Constitution. That is a person. [Emphasis added.]

QUESTION: So even in the case of rape or incest, that would be taking a life?

SANTORUM: That would be taking a life, and I believe that any doctor that performs an abortion, I would advocate that any doctor that performs an abortion, should be criminally charged for doing so.
And in doing so, in using the word "person," Rick's blowing a dog whistle to the anti-choice crowd he's hoping would support him in his presidential race.

Not that his anti-choice position was much of a secret. He recently debated Rev Al Sharpton on this topic in the philosophically friendly confines of the Sean Hannity show. In doing so, he brought up a hitherto unknown (at least to me) racial position on choice/personhood:
Former Sen. Rick Santorum, perennially a potential Presidential candidate, is not going on the defensive for his recent comment that President Barack Obama’s stance on abortion was particularly shocking based on his race. In fact, he is so sure of his position that he was willing to defend it in the face of one of America’s loudest race crusaders, Rev. Al Sharpton. Sean Hannity gave the a couple of segment on his show tonight, popped the proverbial popcorn, and let the games begin.
But this is a good opportunity to take a look at the "personhood" legislation oozing through some state legislatures. NARAL has a definition:
Members of the anti-choice “personhood” movement are launching a comprehensive assault on reproductive rights at the state level through legislation and ballot initiatives. These measures attempt to redefine "personhood" either by creating a legal definition for when life begins or by conferring legal rights upon a fertilized egg. In addition to outlawing abortion, these efforts could lead to bans on many common forms of birth control, and on stem-cell research and invitro fertilization.

By doing so, these proposals are designed to challenge Roe and eliminate the constitutional rights recognized therein. According to the anti-choice group Personhood USA, which claims operations in at least 30 states, “the common thread among all of these efforts is the goal to fill what is becoming known as the ‘Blackmun Hole’ in Roe v. Wade. This is where Justice Blackmun implied in the Roe v. Wade decision that if the case were established that the pre-born was a person, the argument for abortion collapses.”
On the "What is Personhood?" page of the PersonhoodUSA webpage, we see something familiar. After giving their definition of "personhood" (which more or less matches NARAL's) they explain:
A person, simply put, is a human being. This fact should be enough. The intrinsic humanity of unborn children, by definition, makes them persons and should, therefore, guarantee their protection under the law. For more than thirty years, however, this has not been the case. The situation we are left with is this. In America today, there is a huge and singular group of living human beings who have no protection under the law and are being killed en masse every day. Is that not astounding?! It is astounding, but not wholly unprecedented.

There have been at least two other instances in American history in which specific groups of human beings were stripped of their rights of personhood as a means of justifying their horrible mistreatment. African-Americans and Native-Americans both felt the brunt of a system which denied their humanity, stripped their personhood and subjected them to horrors beyond measure. While the legal framework that made such injustice possible has now been removed, it remains firmly in place for unborn Americans.
Unfortunately, Thinkprogress points out:
Moreover, Santorum’s position that the Constitution compels laws protecting fetuses places him at odds with the Supreme Court’s most conservative members. In DeShanney v. Winnebago County, the Supreme Court held that the Constitution’s guarantee that no person shall be denied “life . . . without due process of law” does not actually require the government to criminalize anything — a decision that runs directly counter to Santorum’s position on abortion. Justice Antonin Scalia, who has gone so far as to say that the Constitution does not prevent gender discrimination, was in the majority in DeShanney.
Personhood Legislation could also, NARAL asserts, ban contraception. It would ban abortions for rape and incest and if Rick Santorum who supports "Personhod" had his way, criminalize the doctors performing them.

Tell me again what his chances are for actually winning?


spork_incident said...

Also, as a matter of law the person who hires a hitman to murder somebody is just as culpable as the killer. Logically, a woman who has an abortion is just as guilty as the doctor and belongs in prison or should be executed by the state. The alternative to that is women are intellectually/emotionally incapable of making rational decisions and should, as a matter of law, be treated as we treat children, or the family dog.

Funny how the antis never (publicly) follow their own logic to the end.

A Spork in the Drawer

Kim said...

What is going to happen to all those frozen embryos stored for future fertilization? They will all be considered viable humans according to this law and will not be able to be destroyed. They will also not be able to remain frozen either, they are after all human beings. Will the parents of these embryos be forced to carry and birth them or will women be paid to have them. Who will pay for the birthing and care for all of these babies? There are hundreds of thousand of these frozen embryos, is RS willing to house and home school them all?

RockNetWebChick said...

I hate to tell old Rick this but should I ever choose to have children, which I didn't and won't, I will be the one who decides who the father will be. Not someone who sexually assaults me. You know this jackass and Jim Bob Duggar (that name sound familiar?) even drafted legislation when old Jim Bob was an Arkansas state representative that would have outlawed the use and sale of contraception. In other words, had that crap passed, you couldn't even protect yourself from pregnancy due to a sexual assault.