Personhood defeated in Mississippi

CNN reports that Mississippi voted 58% against designating fertilized eggs as having personhood.

With voters supporting either side were split evenly, the 11% undecided vote were inundated with campaigning – however, it is likely that outgoing Gov. Haley Barbour “expressed that he was undecided about the issue, saying it was ‘too ambiguous’;” was what swung the undecided to vote against the measure.

Personhood USA, the group behind this attempt to establish a basis in law to eventually challenge Roe v Wade, vows to continue their fight to provide the same legal rights to the unborn as to the mother. Unsurprisingly, when people raised concerns about what exactly does that mean, Personhood USA asserted that this was scare tactics.

Except, what does it mean is a valid question.

If the unborn has the same rights as the mother, that effectively removes the mother from being able to make reproductive decisions as being in a conflict of interest between her rights and her unborn fetus.

Giving a fertilized egg equal rights to an existing person without consideration of who gets to speak for the rights of a particular fertilized egg is an important question – and until there’s an answer, there should be no more such referendums because people are only voting for an idea, with little or no consideration to the ramifications:

What will it mean for women’s reproductive rights? What does it mean about the decisions a woman can make with her doctor? Will it mean women will be at the mercy of the state when it comes to everything from taking certain birth control pills to trying to conceive if a couple is infertile? What happens to those fertilized eggs for IVF treatments if they aren’t used? And would people be facing prosecution if they did any of those things?

It is not acceptable to turn back the clock and make women beholden to boyfriends, husbands, fathers or even rapists to make reproductive decisions on behalf of the fertilized egg.

Pregnancy is one of those zero sum game situations, there is no accommodating both parties if the woman doesn’t want to or can’t go through pregnancy.

Either the woman is a person under the law, entitled to make decisions about her body and have personal sovereignty or she does not.

There is no one more qualified or better able than the mother to determine if pregnancy is an option or not for her.

This idea that strangers should get to decide what you can or cannot do with your own body should be loathsome and unthinkable.

This is what the real harm of religion is – putting ideas above actual living breathing people – and worse, by coddling religious sensibilities and acting as if religion was a valid worldview despite that religions are not based in evidence or reality – people have become entitled to the idea that their particular religion should inform the law of the secular land and be imposed on people whether they accept that religion or not.

The Magna Carta freed the peasants from the whims of the king by establishing rights and responsibilities in law. The American declaration of independence made individuals the social unit of consequence and guaranteed everyone life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and Roe v Wade, more than getting to vote, assured women of their right to personal sovereignty.

Personhood USA wants to take that personal sovereignty away and reduce women from being persons under the law to being chattel beholden to men again because their religious views have entitled them to decide who’s a person and who’s not.

Fertilized egg yes, women, not so much.



Personhood, innocence depending

CNN reports that Mississippi is voting on amendment to declare fertilized egg a person:

Because the amendment would define a fertilized egg as a person with full legal rights, it could have an impact on a woman’s ability to get the morning-after pill or birth control pills that destroy fertilized eggs, and it could make in vitro fertilization treatments more difficult because it could become illegal to dispose of unused fertilized eggs. This could lead to a nationwide debate about women’s rights and abortion while setting up a possible challenge to the landmark Roe v. Wade case, which makes abortion legal.


The ballot initiative is part of a national campaign brought by Personhood USA. The Colorado-based group describes itself as a nonprofit Christian ministry that “serves the pro-life community by assisting local groups to initiate citizen, legislative, and political action focusing on the ultimate goal of the pro-life movement: personhood rights for all innocent humans.”

There’s a lot to be concerned about with legally stating that personhood begins at conception, but what’s most concerning is this idea of personhood being for all INNOCENT humans.

Because that cannot be glossed over.

This distinction between an innocent person and a guilty one is what allows so called Pro-lifers to be Pro-Dealth penalty.

But it’s also why religious believers are unwilling to allow marriage to be inclusive of gays and lesbians – the religious beleive that us gays and lesbians – and atheists and beleivers in other religions are guilty of intentionally disobeying their god.

Legal rights and protections are enshrined as inalienable just for being a citizen, not dependent on good behaviour and public conformity to Christianity.

These religious ideas must be kept out of secular law and resisted at every opportunity – the cost of having rights is eternal vigilance.

It is somewhat horrifying to me that as fast as the Islamic world is rising up and saying enough violence and dictators and calling for democratic forms of government, that the American Christians, are trying to remake that country into a Christian Theocracy.



Remaining People in a Crisis

Over on Sifting Reality, John Barron raises an interesting topic – the role of business in society and the role of that business in emergency situations.

John’s premise is that business that sell products that are at a premium in supply and demand – such as food – during states of emergency should be able to set whatever prices the market can bear – so people willing to spend $20 for a loaf of bread get as much bread as they are willing to pay.

State of emergency legislation, prevents businesses from basically gouging the panicking public.But John feels this is an unacceptable limitation on business – but this view fails to consider that states of emergency are not business as usual circumstances.

While it may be in the business’s short term goals to maximize profits, this is not a long term business strategy for when the crisis is over and people remember who made the crisis worse and who made the crisis more easily survivable.

More than that, gouging in the short term only increases the sense of danger and impending doom, making an already stressed population more panicked and less reasoned – which is more likely to result in looting to obtain resources that are available but no longer affordable.

This means that that shop that could have survived the emergency intact by placing reasonable and measured limitations on quantities to ensure maximum distribution of resources through the population and thus lowering the anxiety and fears and reducing the likelihood of looting – now becomes the location for a food riot and not only have their goods not available, but not paid for – in addition to the damage to the property itself.

The people will survive the disaster, but the store will be faced with closure for repairs if not outright closure after the emergency is over.

So stores maintaining prices and setting quantity limits and enforcing the limits is the way that business can best whether an emergency and retain it’s customer base when business as usual is back to the usual business.

As for people who would thwart quantity limits by making return trips – some things you cannot police – and that’s when social conventions and public/private morals kick in.

In a society where the attitude is me at the expense of you, there will be people who would feel no shame in taking more than they need and depriving others of basic necessities. Even if that means making several trips in and out of the store – but at least, there are other people in line between their trips and at some point, there is no more for anyone to buy, but at least the greedy and selfish people weren’t able to get everything the first time – and that ensures more people had access to the goods than if there were no limits in the first place.

It’s not the role of the state or business to police people in this way.

But by putting these limitations and forcing people to have to choose to go against the limitations, will make some people feel shame and they will police themselves.

I think that this is a good example of where matters are not black or white, but all kinds of grey shades come into effect

It comes down to a matter of trust – and your position is that you don’t trust people so either want over regulation to prevent trust breaches or no regulation to avoid the expectation to be dashed that people will behave in a fair manner.

There are better ways for businesses to balance out panic hoarding than profiting from said panic by gouging. Emergency measures can mean stores step up security and enforce limits to maximize the spread of resources to lower the overall panic – this means that people get calmer and are less likely to simply rampage and loot resources – better for business to not have to be damaged – such as the coffee shop in Vancouver during the coffee riot that had to shut down for a few months for renovations.

When people see that controls are in place and that resources are being distributed fairly, they will calm down – this gives people the opportunity to follow Japan’s example of taking just enough so that everyone gets some. No one is cheating or line jumping or getting too much and depriving others.

Stores can close their doors and limit how many people come in at a time – they can demand to see ID for purchases – the line up to get back in after a trip to the car will discourage people from making extra trips in to thwart the limitations. At the least, they would have to go to several stores – and since everyone is lined up – it means that the resources are still more evenly distributed and still priced in a way that means that they are affordable and food is not distributed on the I got their first and grabbed the most or are willing to pay more than other people who can’t afford to.

I think that this is an excellent topic to really demonstrate the difference between right and left thinking.

Emergency measures means the usual rules of society have to adjust to the conditions, but it doesn’t have to be so right wing dog eat dog, we can choose to be people pulling together in a crisis, even if that means having to enforce peoplehood