You know, loyal “Deep End” readers, I try.
I try to be accommodating of people with political beliefs that differ from mine, regardless of how loopy I personally find those opinions. I have tolerated and listened to Occupiers, Tea Partiers, Ron Paul supporters and even one Dennis Kucinich supporter back in 2008, but I have reached the end of my rope. The “Personhood” movement has driven me over the edge.
Recently there was a ballot initiative in Mississippi to have the state constitution amended to include a defined “personhood.” Personhood, as defined by the proponents of the movement, calls for the recognition of a fertilized egg as a person. To state it another way, this group is essentially calling for the entire “life begins at conception” argument to be recognized as law, thus banning abortions at the state level.
Now, here’s my “beef” with this proposition.
At the very core of my being, way down deep in the philosophical epicenter of my proverbial political brain is a confined libertarian component. I may not like to admit it around those adamant Ron Paul supporters I mentioned before, but, when you get right down to it, I fundamentally believe that people should, to a certain extent, be able to do what they want in their private lives as long as they are not infringing upon those storied inalienable rights that Americans are supposed to hold sacrosanct: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Of course, as a liberal, the same reasoning does not extend to the economic world, but the social aspect still applies.
Thus, I believe that — specifically regarding the issue at hand — the choice of whether or not to terminate a pregnancy should extend to all women. Whether or not they choose to utilize that choice is their prerogative, but a fundamental personal choice should mostly never — in my personal opinion — be subject to the whims of any subsection of populace or, alternatively, the entire population.
Now, before you start typing those nasty e-mails, trying to track down my phone number, or, if you are especially passionate and regularly protest and/or demonstrate on the Pedestrian Mall with horrific signs that are in no way real or even close to being a true representation of the results of the procedures in question, come banging on my door as part of a Frankenstein-esque mob toting pitchforks and torches, stop grinding your teeth in anger and hear me out.
The mindset I’m offering is in no way promoting abortion. At no point have I stated in the course of this particular column that I think all pregnant women should rush out to the nearest abortion clinic and terminate their pregnancy. I am simply stating that I think that the choice should be there. If you believe that abortions are fundamentally wrong because you have religious, moral or political objections, by all means, please do not get one. At the same time, however, I’m simply asking that opponents to the practice have the common decency to understand that not everyone shares the same religious, moral or political ideology.
I cannot deny that it is in many ways rather hypocritical of me to ask for a measure of civility after I have freely and openly admitted that I categorically dismissed an entire movement because I find the premise of its existence to be obtuse. That is, however, exactly what I’m doing. I am asking for pro-lifers to stop, take a moment and realize that what a woman does with her fertilized egg or embryo has no effect on anyone else but the woman in question. The baby? Nope, that’s just a smattering of cells grouped together that has the potential for “personhood.” That entity could not exist outside the womb on its own at such an early time, thus it is not, in fact, a person. Fertilized eggs don’t have complex thoughts, feelings or emotions, regardless of what the “Look Who’s Talking” series might lead you to believe.
I guess if there were a larger plea to be made here it would be to not allow the efforts of these religious yahoos in Mississippi to spread. It would be to ignore their promise and declaration of their intentions to “take this fight to other states” and agree to put a stop to this attempt to press one group’s moral and/or religious views on someone else. Protection from factions and/or the majority is, after all, exactly what this nation is supposed to hold dear.
— Derek Mullins is a senior in political science. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Opinion: Debate defines one’s ‘personhood’
You know, loyal “Deep End” readers, I try.