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“From the beginning…”

Why do theocons hate women? For the past several years they have been trying, without success, to legislate an end to any and all access to reproductive services for Montana women. In 2007 they introduced a bill in the legislature to amend the constitution to give “inalienable rights” to fetuses “from the moment of conception“. That attempt got nowhere, so they tried the same measure as a ballot initiative in 2008. And failed miserably. Not to be deterred, they changed the language slightly and had Dan McGee introduce SB 406 in the 2009 legislature. That proposed constitutional amendment would have given “inalienable rights” to any “human being at all stages of human development including the state of fertilization or conception…” by amending article II, section 3. The bill passed the Senate, barely, and… failed miserably in the House.

Theocons are nothing if not persistent. This is all part of a crackpot national scheme to ban abortion one state at a time. This year they have targeted all 17 states that allow citizen ballot initiatives. In Montana, the new initiative is CI-102. This time they go after article II, section 17 of the Montana constitution. This section deals with due process of law, but otherwise, the aim is the same, to redefine who is a legitimate “person” under Montana law with the aim of stopping legal abortions.

This time around, according to theoconology, a person will be defined as “all human beings, irrespective of age, health, function, physical or mental dependency or method of reproduction, from the beginning of the biological development of that human being,“. Of course they don’t define the beginning of biological development, but we can only assume they mean to give due process of law to human eggs and fetuses, if not sperm.

If you believe that all government, in any form, is illegitimate, I guess it’s okay to screw it up however you want. Conservative crazies believe that we should return to Victorian era laws that oppose any type of sexuality, sexual behavior or sex education not sanctioned by their version of God. Under their laws, we will have no abortion, even for rape or incest, no genetic research, no in-vitro fertilization, no birth control and no stem cell research to save lives. Women will be forced to forgo medical treatment that may save or prolong their lives if there is a chance of conflict with the rights of a fertile egg that they may or may not be carrying. They could also be forced to undergo surgeries to save the fetus regardless of their own welfare.

In pursuing this Holy Grail of anti-choice groups, the fundies feel it’s fine to run roughshod over the rights of women, who are second class citizens at best. Think about it. If a fertilized egg is to have rights separate from the rights of the mother, could a woman be forced to give up cancer treatments that could harm her egg? Could a woman be legally punished for being overweight because her condition may conflict with the rights of her fetus? Up to half of all fertilized eggs are aborted spontaneously before a woman knows she is pregnant. If you have a spontaneous miscarriage, could you be dragged into court to prove that you have not committed murder? Will you be investigated for child abuse? In Montana 1,675 pregnancies were reported in 2006 among teenagers, including 18 to girls under the age of 15. Under Biblical law, no abortions allowed. Does this then make women third-class citizens, behind men and fetuses?

In California, a similar ballot initiative has been proposed. The state found fiscal impacts of the initiative relating to,

Potential increased costs for courts, law enforcement, and other agencies for criminal and civil proceedings. Potential costs and savings for health and social services programs if the courts determined that the measure restricts access to some types of birth control methods. Potential loss of state or local revenues due to reduced research activity that may be offset by reduced state spending on research. Unknown potential effects on state and local health care expenditures due to changes that may occur in medical practices.

A whole new realm of fetal law will be opened up to deal with millions of women walking around carrying “citizen fetuses” who have “inalienable rights” under the law. Of course this is all as crazy as it sounds and likely doesn’t have any more chance of getting on the ballot or passing into law than it has before, but when someone stops you on the street and asks you to sign a petition to oppose abortion, think for a minute about just how badly you want to screw up the Montana constitution and give control of your womb to the state.

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