Our rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness
can only be secured by a state strictly separated from religion

15 April 2010

No Personhood or Victimhood for a Fetus

By Gina Liggett

The Case

A prior felon accused his girlfriend of becoming pregnant by another man, so he stabbed her in the abdomen on Dec. 31, 2006. She survived, her 6-month-old pregnancy did not. It turned out by DNA testing that this loser was indeed the father, so it seems his vicious little tirade was for naught.

The Sacramento Superior Court judge in the case sentenced him to 50 years-to-life on the charge of first degree murder--for killing the fetus. For brutally attacking the girlfriend, he was given 12 years for "corporal injury and assault with a deadly weapon."

A Problem Here

First of all, I must say it's a good thing this beast and his DNA are off the streets.

The big however is the charge of first-degree murder being applied to a non-person, a fetus. This grievous application of a law to an entity with no rights sets a dangerously contradictory precedent about the legal status of a fetus or embryo, including ones frozen for in vitro fertilization.

This case could potentially give fuel to the "personhood" advocates. They claim that embryos and fetuses should have rights, and that all abortion, many forms of birth control, and embryonic stem-cell research should be outlawed. Ultimately, personhood arguments are based on religious dogma, not on facts of reality.

The only person whose rights were violated in this case was the girlfriend. And her attacker should have been charged with attempted first-degree murder -- a charge significantly more serious than "assault." (Big deal, a punch in the nose is assault!) The involuntary termination of her pregnancy by her attacker was an added violation of the woman's rights, and additional penalty should have been assigned accordingly.

The woman's life and body and pregnancy belong to her, and laws should only apply to her, not to a non-person who is not yet born and who has not yet acquired rights as a person.

In a civilized human society governed by laws that separate church and state, it doesn't matter what the Bible or the Koran or the Torah or the Kojiki or the Tig-Veda claim is the will of a supernatural creator. All that should matter is the protection of individual rights of persons who are indeed persons in reality.

In this case, justice was served and the goon is in jail, but it wasn't served to the true victim of his crimes.

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