So EM-EYE-ESS-ESS-EYE-ESS-ESS-EYE-PEE-PEE-EYE wants to call fertilized human eggs (aka, Denny’s Cannibal Slam Breakfast®) “people.”
From yesterday’s NYT editorial:
A ballot measure going before voters in Mississippi on Nov. 8 would define the term “person” in the State Constitution to include fertilized human eggs and grant to fertilized eggs the legal rights and protections that apply to people.
The rest of the piece goes into detail about why this is a terrible, ridiculous idea –convenient, since I don’t have any desire to delve into the more highfalutin ethical and legal ramifications anyway. However, I worry about some of the lesser absurdities that such a ruling might lead to.
For example, if life truly begins at conception, then age must also logically begin at conception, which means that someone’s day of birth (what some people call a “birth day”) is no longer a valid indicator of how old he or she is. Furthermore, since life is life no matter how far along in it you already are, presumably any such ruling would have to apply retroactively. Which means that, if Missippians really believe in the new law, they’ll have to start giving 17-and-three-month-year-olds (give or take) the right to vote and 14-and-whatever-year-olds the ability to earn their learner’s permit and on and on and on. Because age is merely a reflection of how long someone has been a person, right? And if personhood is applied at conception to a gloopy dribble of non-sentient cells, then that’s when the clock starts ticking. To argue otherwise would be to deprive your citizens of their sperm-given humanity.
(And yeah, I know that, as a nation, we’ve already complicitly — if tacitly — agreed to compromise on the birthday convention for purposes of convenience, but we’re talking about a single state here, so if this law passes, they better be prepared to put their
penis where their vagina money where their mouth is.)
[Editor's note: I'm not sure if the parodic title of this post makes any sense, but I'm a little punch drunk this week. My thinking was: it's almost Halloween, "Flying Purple People Eater" is one of the few well-known Halloween-type songs, babies don't fly but they cry, they're a little purplish looking in the womb, this story is about the legal definition of "people," and classifying them as such at conception is cheating. So we cool?]