Colorado “personhood” fight very personal for one grieving mother

posted at 10:01 am on February 11, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

When does “personhood” begin? Coloradans have twice rejected a “personhood” amendment to their state constitution that would define individual life as starting at conception — a definition that would align with science, at the very least. For one mother in Denver, the failure of Coloradans to accept that definition has left a bitter hole in her life while she grieves a son the law refuses to recognize:

Heather Surovik was eight months pregnant when a drunk driver smacked into her car on a summer afternoon on the outskirts of Denver. A 27-year-old preschool teacher at the time, she was expecting to give birth within days, in July 2012, to a boy she called Brady. “I survived,” she said. “Brady did not.”

To Surovik, that was a homicide. But not according to Colorado law. “I was told that because my son did not take a breath, he was not considered a person,” she said. “He was considered part of my injuries—a loss of a pregnancy.” In her case, a repeat drunk driver named Gary Sheats pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and vehicular assault.

“Those charges didn’t matter to me because they didn’t involve my son,” Surovik said. “I wanted to figure out a way to get justice.”

The personhood movement fights to recognize life at its start in order to hold those accountable for injuring or killing it liable through the legal system, as well as an effort to end abortion. Opponents of the law argue that it’s too broad, and would have enormous consequences:

Opponents argue the opposite—that the law would work against pregnant women. “This measure would make every pregnant woman the potential perpetrator of a violent crime—whether she has an abortion, experiences a pregnancy loss, or goes to term having done anything including smoking a cigarette that someone views as creating a risk to the fertilized egg, embryo or fetus,” said Lynn Paltrow, executive director of the nonprofit National Advocates for Pregnant Women.

Thirty-eight states have laws regarding fetuses killed by violent acts against pregnant women, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some of the laws focus on harm done to a pregnant woman and the loss of her pregnancy, while most of the laws, known as fetal-homicide, or feticide, laws, define the fetus as a person and a potential crime victim in its own right. The Brady Amendment goes beyond typical feticide laws, according to Paltrow: Feticide laws, she said, amend only a limited number of criminal laws such as murder and assault laws, not the entire criminal code.

Still, the experience of Surovik shows that there is no justice for the unborn in Colorado, even those who are loved and wanted, according to Personhood USA, which dismisses these concerns as “scare tactics”:

“Opponents have long used scare tactics like these,” said Jennifer Mason, communications director of Personhood USA. “Recognizing that there are two victims in cases like Heather’s cannot ban in-vitro fertilization, nor can it ban contraception. Recognizing that Brady is a person is a threat the abortion industry, who profits from the idea that babies like Brady are not people. Brady was a person when he was newly conceived, when he was at eight weeks gestation, 18 weeks gestation and eight months gestation. Brady was fully human, fully alive, and Colorado law should have ensured justice for Heather and Brady.”

This is the question that the US refuses to confront rationally. We have discovered, in Roe, an emanation from a previously-unknown penumbra in the Constitution that allows people to treat human life as their disposable property. At the same time, we seem to have trouble applying the 14th Amendment’s equal-treatment principle to human life, even just in the unborn context. That might be a better question for states to decide, but thanks again to Roe, they largely cannot. If Colorado passed the “personhood” amendment to address these injustices, the Supreme Court would almost certainly strike it down anyway … again, thanks to Roe.

Be sure to read it all, and kudos to NBC for featuring this story.


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Good Solid B-Plus on February 11, 2014 at 2:34 PM

The place where you and a great many others so obnoxiously break the surly bonds of reason is in assuming that I am in favor of anything so long as it is lawful. The plain fact is that I was simply pointing out the inappropriateness of the word “murder” to describe a lawful deed.

MJBrutus on February 11, 2014 at 2:36 PM

As a personal approach, I try to view the matter as an attempt to define what makes us human and searching for the point in our embryonic development when we obtain those characteristics. I certainly do not consider an embryo, for example, to be deserving of the protections of a fetus near to birth. I don’t consider the possession of our human DNA to be the defining characteristic of humanity.

MJBrutus on February 11, 2014 at 2:24 PM

Well, let me submit this to you. If DNA is not the defining characteristic of humanity, what is? Is it a cognizant effort to be a part of society? Small children don’t have that understanding yet. Is it breathing? Brain activity? Personality? Etc?

Personhood is what they are searching to define in the article. I believe that is the start of the human life (which I think we both agree is at conception). I’m under the assumption from what you are posting that personhood/humanity comes at a later time. The only different times I could even fathom are at birth, or some other time even later in life when the child becomes aware of their actions.

I don’t think there is any sort of tipping point during gestation that proves personhood/humanity any more than conception or birth.

Effay5 on February 11, 2014 at 2:37 PM

As a personal approach, I try to view the matter as an attempt to define what makes us human and searching for the point in our embryonic development when we obtain those characteristics. I certainly do not consider an embryo, for example, to be deserving of the protections of a fetus near to birth. I don’t consider the possession of our human DNA to be the defining characteristic of humanity.
MJBrutus on February 11, 2014 at 2:24 PM

Try personhood. Personhood is what makes any human distinctively individual from all others. Scientifically, that distinction is best demonstrated by DNA. Humanity is merely the collective term for all individuals.

anuts on February 11, 2014 at 2:39 PM

Well, let me submit this to you. If DNA is not the defining characteristic of humanity, what is?

Effay5 on February 11, 2014 at 2:37 PM

That is the question. I have no pat answers for you. I know that isn’t very satisfying but there you have it. I consider a necessary ingredient to be some threshold capacity for cognizance. A difficult quantity to define and measure to be sure.

MJBrutus on February 11, 2014 at 2:41 PM

Let’s again be clear, the motive behind charging someone with what you suggest here is not about seeking any justice for this act – it is a ploy to bring about outlawing abortion.

verbaluce on February 11, 2014 at 2:22 PM

Your opinion of any ulterior motive behind a proposed law does not change the fact that you said there was a law in place to exact justice for the baby, when the entire premise of this article is that there was not.

You made a false statement. The only point left to clarify is whether you made it intentionally or incidentally.

I certainly do not consider an embryo, for example, to be deserving of the protections of a fetus near to birth. I don’t consider the possession of our human DNA to be the defining characteristic of humanity.

MJBrutus on February 11, 2014 at 2:24 PM

Then inform us on what brand of non-human animal it is.

Genetics tells us it is human. Basic biology tells us it is alive. So what is the material reason to deny personhood, particularly since you do not believe a soul is imparted to the life?

Thus, it is designed to be an abortifacient.

mrteachersir on February 11, 2014 at 2:26 PM

This only occurs in pills that contain estrogen, which occurs naturally in the human body anyway. Likewise, progestin is used to increase fertility among women who have trouble producing progesterone, so I could just as easily say, “thus, it is designed to be a fertility drug”.

The Schaef on February 11, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Effay5 on February 11, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Let me ask you a hypothetical question. Suppose a woman has unprotected sex and becomes pregnant. Now suppose she becomes aware of the pregnancy the very next day and terminates her pregnancy on her own, perhaps using some herbs. If you could prove that she did so, would you want to convict such a woman and jail her for murder?

MJBrutus on February 11, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Is an unlawful taking of a life a lawful act?
Is a lawful abortion a lawful act?
See the difference?

MJBrutus on February 11, 2014 at 2:28 PM

But here is the real difference… if an embryo is a human life as you have said, then an abortion is ending that life. Put that way, your questions are really:
Is an unlawful taking of a life a lawful act?
Is a lawful [taking of a life] a lawful act?

What I’m getting at here, is that life is a better definition to work off of than humanity. Life is quantitative, where humanity is qualitative. In the legal stage, they much prefer defining things quantitatively than qualitatively.

I think the place we still aren’t on the same page is ‘when does a life become a person’. Without that sorted, I don’t think we can put much more clarity to this line of thinking.

Effay5 on February 11, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Is an unlawful taking of a life a lawful act?
Is a lawful [taking of a life] a lawful act?

That’s right. And do you deny that there is a difference?

What I’m getting at here, is that life is a better definition to work off of than humanity. Life is quantitative, where humanity is qualitative. In the legal stage, they much prefer defining things quantitatively than qualitatively.

I think the place we still aren’t on the same page is ‘when does a life become a person’. Without that sorted, I don’t think we can put much more clarity to this line of thinking.

Effay5 on February 11, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Sure, a nice black and white answer is the cleanest solution. I do not find the answers to be so clear cut, however, and am not going to go along with a forced fit for the sake of simplicity.

MJBrutus on February 11, 2014 at 2:51 PM

The place where you and a great many others so obnoxiously break the surly bonds of reason is in assuming that I am in favor of anything so long as it is lawful. The plain fact is that I was simply pointing out the inappropriateness of the word “murder” to describe a lawful deed.

MJBrutus on February 11, 2014 at 2:36 PM

Abortion is “lawful” only inasmuch as a person has a right to willfully end another person’s life without cause. The basic premise of murder is not something that is subject to the technicality of the written law. Exceptions to the rule are based on just cause: almost exclusively, the defense of other human life, or of national sovereignty from an aggressive force. Abortion has no foundation in just cause.

Here’s where a serious, serious problem comes into this:

I have no pat answers for you… A difficult quantity to define and measure to be sure.

MJBrutus on February 11, 2014 at 2:41 PM

You are asserting that someone has the right to kill someone else if it is determined they are not “human” “enough”, but there are no tangible criteria in place to determine this. If you have no idea whether the life in question qualifies under your own criteria, how in the world do you conclude that a “lawful” killing of a “non-person” was at hand? When we’re talking about something as basic as human life, how can anyone afford to be cavalier about dismissing the rights of another? Again, we fought wars over things like this.

The Schaef on February 11, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Let me ask you a hypothetical question. Suppose a woman has unprotected sex and becomes pregnant. Now suppose she becomes aware of the pregnancy the very next day and terminates her pregnancy on her own, perhaps using some herbs.

MJBrutus on February 11, 2014 at 2:47 PM

That’s a pretty impressive state of awareness, given that it comes a full day before the first cell division even takes place, and weeks before any visible symptoms are observed.

would you want to convict such a woman and jail her for murder?

All you’re really doing is re-stating the central question of whether there exists a right of anyone to have power over the life or death of another, when life is ubiquitously recognized as a basic human right, effectively THE most basic of rights.

The “hypothetical” only attempts to cast the question in an emotional light that implies it is okay for a person to kill without consequence if we consider their situation sufficiently… what? Pathetic? Minimally consequential? Fewest number of cells eliminated?

The Schaef on February 11, 2014 at 2:58 PM

…some threshold capacity for cognizance. A difficult quantity to define and measure to be sure.

MJBrutus on February 11, 2014 at 2:41 PM

I agree that is very hard to measure… but one last comment on this line: are brain-dead humans ‘persons?’ They have no capacity for cognizance depending on the damage in their brain.

Let me ask you a hypothetical question. Suppose a woman has unprotected sex and becomes pregnant. Now suppose she becomes aware of the pregnancy the very next day and terminates her pregnancy on her own, perhaps using some herbs. If you could prove that she did so, would you want to convict such a woman and jail her for murder?

MJBrutus on February 11, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Short answer, yes.

She is aware that she is having unprotected sex and can become pregnant, she is responsible for that pregnancy. [If she truly wasn't aware she could become pregnant, I would consider that rape as she didn't have the capacity to understand her actions].

If she isn’t willing to take the steps of contraception/birth control, then she has accepted the possibility of bringing another life into this world. From there, we are back to the rest of our conversation. If, knowing all that, decides to end the life she chose to begin, it is murder.

And MJBrutus, I would like to stay and keep discussing, but I have neglected my workload today far too long. It was an engaging conversation, and I’m glad id didn’t devolve as sometimes happens with my blunt nature. I will look forward to another good sparring with you in the future.

Effay5 on February 11, 2014 at 2:59 PM

I agree that is very hard to measure… but one last comment on this line: are brain-dead humans ‘persons?’ They have no capacity for cognizance depending on the damage in their brain.

If a person is no longer capable of cognition, I would say that they no longer are human.

Short answer, yes.

I find that to be a terribly unjust conclusion.

And MJBrutus, I would like to stay and keep discussing, but I have neglected my workload today far too long. It was an engaging conversation, and I’m glad id didn’t devolve as sometimes happens with my blunt nature. I will look forward to another good sparring with you in the future.

Effay5 on February 11, 2014 at 2:59 PM

I enjoyed it as well. Enjoy the rest of your day :-)

MJBrutus on February 11, 2014 at 3:06 PM

only attempts to cast the question in an emotional light

The Schaef on February 11, 2014 at 2:58 PM

You mean like torturing the English language to grant yourself license to use words like “murder?”

MJBrutus on February 11, 2014 at 3:08 PM

Gee, I thought it was a “woman’s right to choose”? She did. So it should be murder, right? I mean, if she “chose” to carry the child to term, the father would be on the hook for support. And if she “chose” it the child, then we all have to beat a path to the clinic door. So we’ve legally established that her “choice” is paramount.

So why does her “choice” get disregarded in this instance?

I mean, even Pennsylvania has a hypocritical “Crimes Against the Unborn Act” that puts the average doofus on the street in a jail cell for committing just this offense, but nicely and neatly exempts Mommy and Doctor for the same act.

Saltyron on February 11, 2014 at 3:15 PM

If a person is no longer capable of cognition, I would say that they no longer are human.

MJBrutus on February 11, 2014 at 3:06 PM

Like people who are in an asylum?

You mean like torturing the English language to grant yourself license to use words like “murder?”

MJBrutus on February 11, 2014 at 3:08 PM

First of all, I wasn’t the one who used it.

Second of all, there is no “torturing of the English language” here. I simply don’t agree with your effort to reduce murder to a technicality rather than a violation of a human right.

The law does not establish our rights; it protects them. We do not have a right to life because we have laws against murder; laws against murder protect our right to life.

Thus for something NOT to be murder, either you are not killing a living human, or there is an extenuating circumstance (i.e., just cause).

Having previously stated a concession that this is a living human, who is being killed, and not having provided for me any just cause for taking the life, I am not seeing how this is not a violation of the baby’s right to life, i.e. murder.

The Schaef on February 11, 2014 at 3:25 PM

And 55+ million legal murders later & we still can’t define what the definition of “is” is

personhoodCO on February 11, 2014 at 3:44 PM

If you can demonstrate your teddy bear is a human being then I will support you.

NotCoach on February 11, 2014 at 10:20 AM

The teddy bear has cells I have sloughed off and thus has human DNA. That should be enough? It’s not any different than claiming personhood begins at conception. Personhood is being defined by having the right DNA molecules.

thuja on February 11, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Looks like Omaha Conservative had it right….

I went to get personhood for my childhood teddy bear. I still love it very much.

thuja on February 11, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Idiot…

OmahaConservative on February 11, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Idiot may be a pejorative, but it’s a pejorative richly earned for this.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 11, 2014 at 4:45 PM

I’m using that language in responding to the use of that word as a means to outlaw abortion.

verbaluce on February 11, 2014 at 1:20 PM

.
You’re missing dodging my point. I can’t say for certain, but I am assuming you believe they become a person at birth. Fine, that’s your belief. Both of the other definitions discussed above [within a few days & hours after conception] fall outside your definition. Why does it matter if Ed was equating the two, since neither are what you believe?

I guess the real line of questioning is this: What are all the criteria of personhood? Of those, are they all required for personhood to occur? Are they all required at all times?

Effay5 on February 11, 2014 at 1:42 PM

.
I don’t believe it was “missed”, Effay’.

listens2glenn on February 11, 2014 at 4:52 PM

Colorado already has this law on its books (as of 2013):

TITLE 18. CRIMINAL CODE
ARTICLE 3.5. OFFENSES AGAINST PREGNANT WOMEN

C.R.S. 18-3.5-107 (2013)

18-3.5-107. Vehicular unlawful termination of pregnancy

(1) If a person operates or drives a motor vehicle in a reckless manner, and this conduct is the proximate cause of the unlawful termination of the pregnancy of a woman, such person commits vehicular unlawful termination of pregnancy.

(2) Vehicular unlawful termination of pregnancy in violation of subsection (1) of this section is a class 5 felony.

HISTORY: Source: L. 2013: Entire article R&RE, (HB 13-1154), ch. 372, p. 2188, § 2, effective July 1.

jim56 on February 11, 2014 at 4:58 PM

It doesn’t? Citation, please.

And what other science do we reject? I’d love to know.

NotCoach on February 11, 2014 at 11:11 AM

You want me to cite something that does not exist? How many other negatives would you like proven?

As for other science, I have debated with a rather large number of creationists here who reject just about everything that science has to say.

MJBrutus on February 11, 2014 at 11:19 AM

When the evolution of one animal into a more complex animal can be reproduced in the laboratory, you can accuse creationists of being anti-science.

Until then, evolution is an attempt to describe what may have happened in the past, based on processes that have not been observed to produce the same result in the present.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 11, 2014 at 5:04 PM

Here’s the text of the Brady amendment, if anyone is interested:

Ballot language

The official ballot question reads as follows:

“Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution protecting pregnant women and unborn children by defining “person” and “child” in the Colorado criminal code and the Colorado wrongful death act to include unborn human beings?”

Amendment text

“Section 32. The right to life.
(1) Purpose. In order to affirm basic human dignity, be it resolved that the right to life in this constitution applies equally to all innocent persons.
(2) Effect. The intentional killing of any innocent person is prohibited.
(a) Only birth control that kills a person shall be affected by this section.
(b) Only in vitro fertilization and assisted reproduction that kills a person shall be affected by this section.
(c) Medical treatment for life threatening physical conditions intended to preserve life shall not be affected by this section.
(d) Spontaneous miscarriages shall not be affected by this section.
(e) No innocent child created through rape or incest shall be killed for the crime of his or her father.
(3) Definitions. As used in this section,
(a) “Person” applies to every human being regardless of the method of creation.
(b) A “human being” is a member of the species homo sapiens at any stage of development.
(c) “Spontaneous miscarriage” is the unintentional termination of a pregnancy.
(d) “Child” includes a human being prior to and during birth.
(e)“Medical treatment for life threatening physical conditions intended to preserve life” includes but is not limited to treatment for cancer, ectopic and molar pregnancy, twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, and placenta previa.
(4) Self-executing, and severability provision. All provisions of this section are self-executing and are severable.

jim56 on February 11, 2014 at 5:17 PM

Colorado already has this law on its books (as of 2013):

jim56 on February 11, 2014 at 4:58 PM

She lost the baby in 2012, and if the law was only passed last year, she doesn’t get to charge the driver retroactively.

Also, “unlawful termination of pregnancy” is linguistically equivalent to “illegal abortion”. They still do not recognize the life of the child.

The Schaef on February 11, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Agree with your first point, Schaef.

If they wanted to simply recognize the life of the child, all they needed to do was to change the 2013 law to read: “If a person operates or drives a motor vehicle in a reckless manner, and this conduct is the proximate cause of the unlawful termination of the [DEATH OF AN UNBORN PERSON AT ANY STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT], such person commits [A CLASS 5 FELONY].”

The way the proposed amendment works, it criminalizes some birth control, any disposal of fertilized eggs, all morning after drugs and all abortions (other than for life threatening physical conditions), including for reason of rape, incest and serious physical conditions.

The proponents are, to me, being dishonest and extreme by saying this corrects the injustice when there is currently a law on the books and because this amendment does so much more than that.

jim56 on February 11, 2014 at 5:36 PM

Let’s again be clear, the motive behind charging someone with what you suggest here is not about seeking any justice for this act – it is a ploy to bring about outlawing abortion.

verbaluce on February 11, 2014 at 2:22 PM

Your opinion of any ulterior motive behind a proposed law does not change the fact that you said there was a law in place to exact justice for the baby, when the entire premise of this article is that there was not.

You made a false statement. The only point left to clarify is whether you made it intentionally or incidentally.

The Schaef on February 11, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Silly and disingenuous to call it my ‘opinion of an ulterior motive’.
It’s not my ‘opinion’. I’m simply stating more clearly what personhood law advocates freely admit to being true.

Now what was the false statement I made?

verbaluce on February 11, 2014 at 5:43 PM

I’m using that language in responding to the use of that word as a means to outlaw abortion.

verbaluce on February 11, 2014 at 1:20 PM

You’re missing my point. I can’t say for certain, but I am assuming you believe they become a person at birth. Fine, that’s your belief. Both of the other definitions discussed above [within a few days & hours after conception] fall outside your definition. Why does it matter if Ed was equating the two, since neither are what you believe?

I guess the real line of questioning is this: What are all the criteria of personhood? Of those, are they all required for personhood to occur? Are they all required at all times?

Effay5 on February 11, 2014 at 1:42 PM

I think you took my point and took it to another debate.
I understand the desire by many on the pro-life side to try new language. But to my point, the case here is used because we’re talking about something far far different to most people than an embryo. It’s because they are indeed accepted and understood as so different that the personhood movement wants to use a case like this…rather than one involving, say. a miscarriage at 2 weeks bought about by a fall down some faulty stairs. By the logic applied here, the negligent landlord could be charged for a ‘person’s death’.

verbaluce on February 11, 2014 at 5:55 PM

listens2glenn on February 11, 2014 at 4:52 PM

No dodge on my part.

verbaluce on February 11, 2014 at 5:55 PM

Now what was the false statement I made?

verbaluce on February 11, 2014 at 5:43 PM

It’s in the same sentence. She could not seek justice for her baby.

rather than one involving, say. a miscarriage at 2 weeks bought about by a fall down some faulty stairs.

verbaluce on February 11, 2014 at 5:55 PM

I have to say, this thread has generated some rather – for lack of a better word – miraculous scenarios.

I am amazed at all these women who are having miscarriages and performing self-abortive procedures several weeks before they even might suspect they are pregnant.

If anything, it is the pro-abort movement that insists on pushing the argument back to even before anyone even would know there’s a problem. They do this to propogate the “clump of cells” lie by applying it to basically the entire first trimester.

The Schaef on February 11, 2014 at 6:09 PM

Schaef, it’s not the pro-abort movement who decided to make most deaths or injuries of a member of the species homo sapiens “at any stage of development” criminal. That’s the way the pro-life movement wrote this amendment.

Verbaluce is right. To the extent someone is criminally liable for a woman falling down the stairs in Colorado, that person would (if this law is passed) also be liable for the miscarriage death of her two, four, one, or whatever week fetus.

jim56 on February 11, 2014 at 6:21 PM

rather than one involving, say. a miscarriage at 2 weeks bought about by a fall down some faulty stairs.

verbaluce on February 11, 2014 at 5:55 PM

If the stairs are faulty and caused a miscarriage, why shouldn’t the person responsible for the stairs and their faultiness be held accountable?

cptacek on February 11, 2014 at 6:28 PM

Schaef, it’s not the pro-abort movement who decided to make most deaths or injuries of a member of the species homo sapiens “at any stage of development” criminal. That’s the way the pro-life movement wrote this amendment.

Verbaluce is right. To the extent someone is criminally liable for a woman falling down the stairs in Colorado, that person would (if this law is passed) also be liable for the miscarriage death of her two, four, one, or whatever week fetus.

jim56 on February 11, 2014 at 6:21 PM

And why not? If someone does enough harm to a woman that it causes her to miscarry, then shouldn’t that person be held responsible?

cptacek on February 11, 2014 at 6:31 PM

Also, “two weeks pregnant” is like the day that you have sex. All doctors except abortion doctors start counting from the first day of the woman’s last period. “Two weeks pregnant” could even be 1 week before you have sex and sperm meets egg, depending on the woman’s cycle length.

cptacek on February 11, 2014 at 6:33 PM

They would be accountable for the injury to the woman. Just not to the fetus. That would essentially be double homicide; there would be no outward sign the woman was pregnant.

jim56 on February 11, 2014 at 6:48 PM

And I guess if someone was pregnant with triplets, whoever harmed the woman would be liable for three homicides plus whatever happened to the woman.

jim56 on February 11, 2014 at 6:53 PM

They would be accountable for the injury to the woman. Just not to the fetus. That would essentially be double homicide; there would be no outward sign the woman was pregnant.

jim56 on February 11, 2014 at 6:48 PM

You seem to be saying this is a problem. Why? If someone causes harm to a woman which makes her miscarry, if that can be proven beyond any doubt, why shouldn’t they be liable for all the life that they killed?

cptacek on February 11, 2014 at 6:56 PM

Schaef, it’s not the pro-abort movement who decided to make most deaths or injuries of a member of the species homo sapiens “at any stage of development” criminal. That’s the way the pro-life movement wrote this amendment.

The pro-abort movement is the one obsessed with using early-stage life to defend on-demand abortion at all costs. One is forced to defend completely impossible scenarios of women knowing of their pregnancy immediately after the act and self-aborting on the spot, and if one would not prosecute under these impossible circumstances, then there is no standing to object to abortion on any grounds. It’s absurd.

Verbaluce is right. To the extent someone is criminally liable for a woman falling down the stairs in Colorado, that person would (if this law is passed) also be liable for the miscarriage death of her two, four, one, or whatever week fetus.

jim56 on February 11, 2014 at 6:21 PM

Only if it could be proved beyond doubt that the fall was the proximate cause. I think that’s a higher hurdle than you give it credit for.

And it doesn’t change the fact that he said laws protecting fetal life were already on the books, when it runs into the twofold problem that a). the only law cited was enacted a year or more after the case in question, and thus not applicable, and b). it does not take any steps to protect the human right to life. All it does is basically make them liable for medial malpractice, in the form of using one’s car to perform an abortion without parental maternal consent.

The Schaef on February 11, 2014 at 7:39 PM

Heh. If only :)

I once took a picture of all the things I had to do (multiple pills…I think 6 different types at different times in my cycle, two types of injections at different times in my cycle, a scale to represent weight loss, a rosary, my ovulation chart, etc) and put it on one side, and a picture of a Bud Light on the other, titled “What I have to do to get pregnant” and “What others have to do to get pregnant”

cptacek on February 11, 2014 at 12:26 PM
.
.
.
So glad I came back to this thread and read your response and I like your attitude and humour. What made me laugh was the Bud Light comment as the wife jokes that we should have named our kids, Bud, Bud Light, 18 pack, and the last born not all that long ago….30 pack.

I don’t say my wife as she does not like that statement. It’s either “I’m the husband of (said wife)” or the wife.

HonestLib on February 11, 2014 at 8:08 PM

I certainly do not consider an embryo, for example, to be deserving of the protections of a fetus near to birth. I don’t consider the possession of our human DNA to be the defining characteristic of humanity.

MJBrutus on February 11, 2014 at 2:24 PM

Why not? When exactly does an embryo cross over and become a fetus? And please be exact, after all… we’re talking about a legal definition.

Human DNA either is or isn’t, and thus can be used as a definitive legal test. Your “feelings” are not admissible in any intelligent conversation of said legal tests.

dominigan on February 11, 2014 at 8:59 PM

One is free to call a fertilized egg whatever one chooses. Science does not provide a definition for “personhood,” “individual life,” or whatever other political euphemism you want to use.

MJBrutus on February 11, 2014 at 11:21 AM

Absolutely true. What you cited are made-up terms to confuse the conversation. But you are wrong to imply that science does not provide a definition for life. When in doubt about language, consult that mysterious entity called a “dictionary”. (I know, radical idea, huh!)

Life: the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally.

dominigan on February 11, 2014 at 9:16 PM

The plain fact is that I was simply pointing out the inappropriateness of the word “murder” to describe a lawful deed.

MJBrutus on February 11, 2014 at 2:36 PM

It all depends on whether you mean law or Law.

unclesmrgol on February 12, 2014 at 12:43 AM

Let’s be clear, shall we?
What this whole discussion boils down to is, “When shall one natural person be allowed to terminate the life of another natural person?”

We’re not talking about corporate persons; we’re not talking about legalisms distinguishing when does a human creature, become a person; we’re not talking about accidents vs. intentional actions.

And we need to include euthanasia, or suicide-by-proxy. If I can’t decide on, or execute, my own voluntary death, who may make that decision? For example, if Alzheimer’s Disease has taken my mind, may someone else snuff my body? Suppose I’m too young to have a mind – same question? And “too young” – when’s that? Conception? Birth? Five years? Thirteen? What does Piaget, the famous child development specialist, have to say?

IMHO, the only person with a legitimate claim on that decision is the person himself. If they delegate that to another, OK, but that’s because they delegated the decision.
Since a minor (or other non compos mentis) can not make that delegation, can someone else make it for them? Does “in loco parentis” give parents (or the State) that authority? IMHO, no; because the subject may eventually be able to make that decision for themselves.

ReggieA on February 12, 2014 at 3:03 PM

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