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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/13/19

The Criminalization of Thought on "When Life Begins"

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The Legislature of the (U.S.[!]) State of Georgia recently passed, and the Governor signed into law, a bill that criminalizes abortion in the state, as well as making a felon out of any Georgia woman who travelled outside of the state to obtain an abortion. [The text below summarizing the main provisions of the law is adapted from the article referenced just above.]

Among other things, the law:

* subjects women who get illegal abortions to life imprisonment and the death penalty;

* declares that 'unborn children' [sic, emphasis added] are a class of living, distinct persons that deserves "full legal recognition;"

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* thus recognizes "unborn children as natural persons" as a legal rule;

* declares that fetuses "shall be included in population-based determinations;"

* criminalizes women who seek out unlawful abortions or terminate their own pregnancies (by, for example, using the drug Misoprostol) for once it takes effect, a woman who self-terminates will have, as a matter of law, killed a human thereby committing murder ---the penalty for that crime in Georgia is life imprisonment or capital punishment;

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* provides that a woman who seeks out an illegal abortion from a health care provider would be a party to murder, subject to life in prison, and a woman who miscarries because of her own conduct, say, using drugs while pregnant would be liable for second-degree murder, punishable by 10 to 30 years' imprisonment;

* provides that if a Georgia resident plans to travel elsewhere to obtain an abortion, she may be charged with conspiracy to commit murder, punishable by 10 years' imprisonment; an individual who helps a woman plan her trip to get an out-of-state abortion, or transports her to the clinic, may also be charged with conspiracy; These individuals, after all, are "conspiring" to end of the life of a "person" with "full legal recognition" under Georgia law.

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Yes, folks, for those who have said "it can't happen here," IT IS.

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT THIS LAW IS ENTIRELY BASED ON THE CONCEPT OF THE "UNBORN CHILD," WHICH IS A TOTALLY RELIGIOUS ONE, BASED ON A PARTICULAR RELIGIOUS CONCEPT OF "WHEN LIFE BEGINS." FOR BELIEVING CATHOLICS IT IS BASED ON A DICTUM HANDED DOWN BY POPE PIUS IX IN 1869. FOR MOST BELIEVING PROTESTANTS, IT IS BASED ON THEIR INTERPRETATION OF CERTAIN PASSAGES IN THE "KING JAMES" VERSION OF THE BIBLE. BOTH RELIGION-BASED DOCTRINES SHARE THE RELIGIOUS, NOT BIOLOGICAL, NOTION THAT "LIFE BEGINS AT THE MOMENT OF CONCEPTION." IT HAPPENS THAT THERE ARE MANY RELIGIOUS PERSONS, AS WELL AS OF COURSE MANY NON-RELIGIOUS PERSONS, WHO HAVE AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT UNDERSTANDING OF "WHEN LIFE BEGINS."

Indeed, when Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama signed a bill into law similar to the one enacted in Georgia, she had this to say about it: "Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, a bill that was approved by overwhelming majorities in both chambers of the Legislature. To the bill's many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians' deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God" (click here).

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Except, Gov., a) not every person who believes in God agrees the "every life is a sacred gift from God," and b) many persons --- an increasing number as it happens --- don't believe in God. The law stands at the height of religious authoritarianism and absolutely violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment. And whether governors like Ivey, of Alabama, like it or not, the 14th Amendment, adopted in the wake of the Civil War, applies the liberties guaranteed by the first ten amendments to the states.

As Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has said: "Abortion bans aren't just about controlling women's bodies. They're about controlling women's sexuality. Owning women. From limiting birth control to banning comprehensive sex ed, U.S. religious fundamentalists are working hard to outlaw sex that falls outside their theology [emphasis added]."

In 1996 I published a book entitled "The 15% Solution: A Political History of American Fascism, 2001-2022" (Port Jefferson, N.Y., Thomas Jefferson Press, 1996). In 2013, Punto Press published the third version of the book , under the title "The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S. 1981-2022: A Futuristic Novel." (It is available at Amazon and other distributors.) The book is by a fictional author named Jonathan Westminster. (That is a play on the name Jack London, who in 1908 published the first dystopic novel about a fascist state, The Iron Heel. That was 11 years before the first one appeared, under Admiral Miklos Horthy, in Hungary [where history appears to be repeating itself, under Trump's next Chief-of-State guest, Hungarian P.M. Orban].) My book purports to have been published in 2048, on the 25th anniversary of the end of the Second Civil War, with the triumph of the "Movement for the Restoration of Constitutional Democracy." The story is told through a variety of fictional voices, the putative author being just one of them.

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 35 books. In addition to his position on OpEdNews as a "Trusted Author," he is a Senior Editor, (more...)
 
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6 people are discussing this page, with 7 comments  Post Comment


Thomas Knapp

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When "personhood" with "rights" begins is an interesting question.


As to when "life" begins, there's no question at all. Ask any embryologist. Once the egg is fertilized, a unique instance of species homo sapiens sapiens (a "human life") exists. That's just a fact. Nobody has to like it. It's a fact whether anyone likes it or not.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 11:39:53 AM

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Amy Fried

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This is not a scientific question. It is a religious one.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 8:52:21 PM

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Dana Clark

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With this new law maybe pregnant women and their advocates need to go after companies that produce things that are detrimental to the unborn and bring lawsuit after lawsuit to the Georgia court system. As an example how about suing seat belt manufacturers and the car companies that use them. Modern seatbelt design can kill the unborn in an accident. If proven in court that the design is flawed they could not be used in cars in Georgia on the chance they will kill the unborn. The manufacturers and car companies that use them could be made liable. All cars in Georgia would need to be fitted with newly designed belts or outlawed outright.

There are so many things today detrimental to the unborn that thousands of lawsuits would have the effect of banning many products for use in Georgia on the premise they could kill the unborn. Stick it to the businesses that operate in Georgia and the moneyed classes will revolt.

D Clark

Submitted on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 5:12:52 PM

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June Genis

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I'll bypass the question of whether a single cell can be called a "life" and simply note that it is not an autonomous "life". Its continued existence and growth depend on taking nutrients from the body of an autonomous life that may not be willing to supply them. That's theft. All persons have the right to evict a thief. Abortion is eviction.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 10:37:08 PM

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June Genis

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This was meant to be a reply to Thomas Knapp.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 10:38:17 PM

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pablo mayhew

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The commoditization of human beings--and the most defenseless ones, at that. Thoroughly reprehensible barbarity. Americans should consider coming in on the side of life, before it's too late.

Thou should not kill (and sell aborted fetal tissue to greedy neo-Babylonian death cultists, or use it to produce Senomyx "flavor enhancers").

Submitted on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 3:14:06 AM

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Hi Steve. Everything you point out is spot-on, but you and I know why this is happening.This will go to the Supreme Court...the new one, which like the executive branch of our nation, has no repspect for the very concepts of the Rule of Law.

This court already overturned one ruling.

This means that any court in the future, can overturn any ruling, and no law is safe any longer. The RULE OF LAW IS OVER if these political hacks will rule according to their own conscience... and we al olkow the typeof conscience that Kavanauh has. Yeah, he was only 16 when his friend held down that girl so he could area her. If he had succeeded , that girl would not have been able to abort his child.

If anything is crazier than this moment in time, it is that in 2019, old white men get to tell all women what they must do with their bodies.

Submitted on Thursday, May 16, 2019 at 10:49:28 PM

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