Is a WOMAN a PERSON? The Answer You Get Depends on Who You Ask

Womens strike for equality 1970.sm_a

by NONA BLYTH CLOUD

“Is a Woman a Person?”

The answer “Yes, of course,” may seem obvious, but it’s not so clear-cut in American law.

When a sitting Supreme Court Justice says that the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment shouldn’t be applied to women because that was not the original intention, then you know the issue hasn’t been settled for the estimated 193,983,384 female Americans, who comprise 50.8% of the U.S. population.

And that makes me, as one of those U.S. females, very unsettled.

In 2011, in the legal magazine California Lawyer, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said:

“In 1868, when the 39th Congress was debating and ultimately proposing the 14th Amendment, I don’t think anybody would have thought that equal protection applied to sex discrimination, or certainly not to sexual orientation. So does that mean that we’ve gone off in error by applying the 14th Amendment to both?

Yes, yes. Sorry, to tell you that. … But, you know, if indeed the current society has come to different views, that’s fine. You do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society. Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t. Nobody ever thought that that’s what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that. If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws. You don’t need a constitution to keep things up-to-date. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box. You don’t like the death penalty anymore, that’s fine. You want a right to abortion? There’s nothing in the Constitution about that. But that doesn’t mean you cannot prohibit it. Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea and pass a law. That’s what democracy is all about. It’s not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.”

This is from a Supreme Court justice who says that the “religious beliefs” of for-profit corporations are more important than providing reproductive healthcare for their employees, even if the corporation’s “beliefs” about abortion and birth control have been completely debunked by medical science.

The 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause states:

“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

The cruel irony of Justice Scalia’s remarks is that one of the most powerful arguments used against ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was that it “wasn’t necessary” because women were “already protected” by the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

Justice Scalia’s opinion on the 14th Amendment and his “historical facts” are hotly contested by many Constitutional scholars, and are out-of-step with the advances that have been made in women’s rights, so they are especially shocking to see from one who sits on the highest court in the land.

In light of the barrage of laws already passed that restrict women’s access to reproductive healthcare; when rapists continue to attack more victims because too many rape kits that could identity them remain unprocessed, even when federal funding is available; and when women who are victims of Domestic Violence are serving sentences for “failure to protect” their children which are decades longer than the sentences given to the men who savagely beat them; then we urgently need to reexamine American women’s legal standing.

And “The Land of the Free” is far behind our neighbor to the North in settling this question.


In Canada, the question of whether or not women are persons was unequivocally settled in 1929, but it took the determined efforts of five remarkable women to win a ruling on appeal to their highest court that yes, women ARE persons.

The Famous Five - small 975ec691e254050c950e62957c5abcbf

“If politics mean…the effort to secure through legislative action better conditions of life for the people, greater opportunities for our children and other people’s children…then it most assuredly is a woman’s job as much as it is a man’s job.”

— Irene Parbly, one of Canada’s “Famous Five”


Emily Murphy was born into a prominent legal family. When she and her family moved to Alberta in 1903, she began a campaign to ensure the property rights of married women. Largely because of her work, the Alberta legislature passed the Dower Act in 1911, protecting a wife’s right to one-third of her husband’s property.

In 1916, she and a group of concerned women tried to attend the trial of Edmonton prostitutes arrested under “questionable” circumstances. They were ejected from the court on the grounds that the testimony was “not fit for mixed company.” Murphy protested to the provincial Attorney General.

“If the evidence is not fit to be heard in mixed company,” she argued, “then… the government.. [must] set up a special court presided over by women, to try other women.” To her surprise the Minister agreed, and offered Murphy the post of presiding over such a court. Murphy became the first woman police magistrate in the entire British Empire.

The validity of her appointment was questioned on the grounds that a woman was not a “person” under the British North America Act of 1867, which set out the powers and responsibilities of the provinces and of the federal government. This federal act used the word “persons” when it referred to more than one person and the word “he” when it referred to one person. Therefore, many argued, the Act meant only a man could be a person, and women were ineligible to participate in politics or affairs of state.

Emily Murphy took up the cause. She found a section of the Supreme Court Act that allowed any five interested persons the right to petition the government for a ruling on a constitutional point, so she called on four other Alberta reformers to join her in petitioning for a clarification of whether or not women were “persons” as referenced in the act.

Her first choice was Nellie McClung, a tireless worker for human rights, a suffragist, and a former Member of the Alberta Legislature. Then Louise McKinney, a crusader against the evils of alcohol and cigarettes. The third petitioner was Montréal-born Henrietta Edwards, a vigorous campaigner for women’s rights with expert knowledge of the laws pertaining to women and children. Irene Parlby, Murphy’s fourth choice, had entered politics to improve the lives of rural women in Alberta. A Minister without Portfolio in the Alberta Legislature, Parlby’s participation signified the support of the Government of Alberta.

For twelve years these five led the fight to have women declared legal “persons” in Canada. They became known as “The Famous Five.”

The Persons Case, as it is called, reached the Supreme Court of Canada in March 1928. “Does the word “person” in Section 24 of the B.N.A. Act include female persons?” After five weeks of debate and argument the Supreme Court of Canada decided that the word “person” did not include women.

But the Famous Five would not let it rest there. They carried the case to the Privy Council in Britain.

On October 18, 1929, Lord Sankey, Lord Chancellor of the Privy Council, announced the decision of the five Lords. The decision stated “that the exclusion of women from all public offices is a relic of days more barbarous than ours. And to those who would ask why the word “person” should include females, the obvious answer is, why should it not?”

Persons Day is now celebrated in Canada every October 18, the anniversary of the Privy Council’s decision, and October is Canada’s Women’s History Month. The Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case are given each October to five women who have made contributions to the improvement of the lives of Canadian women and girls.


So while this question of personhood has been settled in Canada for 86 years, it remains open to interpretation in the United States.

“Is a Woman a Person?”

The Preamble to the United Nations Charter, which states the primary tenets of the organization, lists this as its second principle:
• “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women”

and again in

Article 8:
“The United Nations shall place no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs…”

70 years ago, the United States was one of the 50 original signatories of the U.N. Charter on June 6, 1945.



“Is a Woman a Person?”

There is a way to settle that question here. Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, finally.

Gail Cooper, Vice President for Programs of the organization Re: Gender, believes that a ratified ERA with two words added: “on account of sex and gender,” would also bring transgender and transsexual people under its protection.

era sign at march

The Equal Rights Amendment

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

From the Equal Rights Amendment website:

“The ERA, affirming the equal application of the Constitution to all persons regardless of their sex, was written in 1923 by Alice Paul, suffragist leader and founder of the National Woman’s Party. After women’s right to vote was guaranteed by the 19th Amendment in 1920, she proposed the ERA as the next step in confirming “equal justice under law” for all citizens.

The ERA was introduced into every Congress between 1923 and 1972, when it was passed and sent to the states for ratification. The original seven-year time limit in the ERA’s proposing clause was extended by Congress to June 30, 1982, but at that deadline, the ERA had been ratified by 35 states, three states short of the 38 required to put it into the Constitution.

The ERA has been introduced into every Congress since 1982. Beginning in 1994 with introduction of the first three-state strategy bill in Congress, ERA advocates have been pursuing two different routes to ratification:

• the traditional process outlined in Article V of the Constitution, requiring passage by a two-thirds majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives, followed by ratification by legislatures in three-quarters (38) of the 50 states, and

• ratification in three more of the 15 state legislatures that did not ratify the ERA during the 1972-82 ratification campaign, based on legal analysis that when three more states vote yes, this non-traditional process could withstand legal challenge and put the ERA into the Constitution.”


“Is a Woman a Person?”

If we are not, then there are over 193 million women and girls living in the United States who are not truly citizens of our own country.

_____________

Sources and Further Reading:

http://www.census.gov/…
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…
http://www.nytimes.com/…
http://rhrealitycheck.org/…
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/07/16/untested-rape-kits-evidence-across-usa/29902199/
http://thinkprogress.org/…
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…
http://www.buzzfeed.com/…
http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/…
https://www.historica-dominion.ca/….
http://canadianwomen.org/….
http://library.usask.ca/…
http://womenshistory.about.com/…
http://www.ournellie.com/…
http://www.canadian-studies.info/…
http://people.ucalgary.ca/…
http://www.un.org/…
http://www.thedailybeast.com/…
http://www.equalrightsamendment.org/
http://harvardjlg.com/…
_________

REMINDER

October is DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS Month

Between 2001 and 2012, 6,410 women were murdered in the United States by an intimate partner using a gun—more than the total number of U.S. troops killed in action during the entirety of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.
https://www.americanprogress.org/…

“Failure to Protect” Laws – Imprisoning the Victims of Domestic Violence While Their Abusers Are Already Released
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…

About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 45 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband and a bewildered Border Collie.
This entry was posted in American History, Canada, Reproductive Rights, SCOTUS, United States, Women's Rights and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Is a WOMAN a PERSON? The Answer You Get Depends on Who You Ask

  1. Well done, Nona. Is a woman a person? The answer is clearly no; witness women being limited in means to prevent pregnancy and being forced to carry pregnancies to term. We live in shameful times.

  2. wordcloud9 says:

    That’s why we need a place in among the Constitutional Amendments all our own!

  3. Aridog says:

    Sometimes the judiciary, the legislative body, and the executive branches just try too hard to fix something not broken…or at least make it more complex than necessary. I’m ambivalent about the ERA, I’d vote for it if necessary, but I am under NO delusion that it wouldn’t’ cause more problems than it addresses simply because it is just one more layer of discrimination for interpretation (can of worms in other words)….plus adds another “protected” class. Even in this post advocates cite a change necessary to include other protected classes. Anyone who passed 7th grade science & biology knows women are persons and any dispute of that is in defiance of simplest science. As it is today, in the USA, what actual rights are denied based upon woman-hood versus person-hood? With PP in place, what women are forced into pregnancy or forced to take it full term? Those who object to PP and those who advocate for it have only one issue, really, and that is who pays for the preventative measures. That’s political not scientific.

    I’m willing to listen because I might be missing something, but please…no wailing about whether women can play in the NFL or become “Rangers” or whatever. The simplest solution there is to permit it but without reduction of standards. No new law is necessary….just correction of interpretation when appropriate. Every time some interpretation seems obtuse doesn’t require another separate “law” to fix it and then just create new faulty interpretations. I’d be quite happy if our Congress went a full year without any legislation other than for appropriations…and even appropriations seems apparently too much these days…we’re in our 7th year of CR’s heading into #8. Maybe they’re all to “busy” fixing stuff not broken to actually create an annual budget?

    PS: I’ve said several times here and elsewhere that in my experience women have outperformed men in many instances, and that is what I’d expect. Gender is not a determinant of leadership.

    Ducking now 🙂

  4. Aridog says:

    One more thing (to mimic a Fox show)…Although I am very pro-life I make exceptions for rape and/or a mother’s health….which as far as I know, is allowed by our current laws as well. No new “special” ones are necessary. Reining in interpretations is what is needed. Common sense should rule the day. The former issue of rape should be easily identified in the first term….or at worst, the 2nd term. Beyond that I’d suspect more is at play, socially and politically, than simple rights to prevent or terminate a pregnancy.

  5. wordcloud9 says:

    In case you didn’t see the statistics, there have been 231 pieces of legislation passed by states in the last 4 years to restrict abortion rights for women – some of them would even force doctors to lie to their patients about medical facts. http://www.guttmacher.org/media/inthenews/2015/01/05/

    The more extreme legislation will be thrown out in the courts, but all of that takes time and money away from other urgent issues, and many of the restrictions will be upheld by Republican-appointed judges. Just look at Texas.

    Not to mention the war on Planned Parenthood, one of the primary providers of healthcare for low-income women across the country. Most of the healthcare they provide has nothing to do with abortion, but the extremists want to shut them down completely.

    Then there’s the current front-runner for the Republican nomination who wants to repeal Roe v Wade, and outlaw all abortions no matter what the circumstances. No man can be forced against his will to carry something inside his body, but women are facing that very real possibility if the Republicans continue to prevail in elections. And he has the audacity to compare abortion to slavery?!

    The issue of a women’s right to choose should be clear and simple, but the muck stirred up by the fanatics have made it anything but.

  6. bron98 says:

    I agree with Scalia. The 14th amendment was about slavery.

    But of course women are human beings.

    In a free society a company could provide healthcare or not provide it and if they didn’t want to provide abortions and contraceptives that would be there right as well. If someone doesn’t like the benefits provided by their employer, seek employment elsewhere or start your own company and provide those benefits. No one is stopping you.

    There is no right to healthcare just as there is no right to food or shelter unless you pay for it yourself. And there is certainly no right to abortion or to contraception except when paid for by the person who needs it.

    There is no right for one citizen to have his life funded by another citizen using government as the funnel.

  7. wordcloud9 says:

    So why are billions of our tax dollars used to subsidize big business? Shouldn’t corporations have to stand or fall all on their own too, if that’s really the way things are supposed to work? Corporate welfare costs us a lot more than most people realize.

    Like it or not, we live in a complex and interconnected society, and nobody makes it all on their own. I believe in a hand up for the next guy and helping my neighbors. Let’s hope your neighbors feel the same way if misfortune ever falls on you.

  8. Aridog says:

    wordcloud9 … let me quote myself:

    Sometimes the judiciary, the legislative body, and the executive branches just try too hard to fix something not broken…or at least make it more complex than necessary.

    THAT is where the wheels come off the normal rights wagon…way too much legislation dividing issues up in to bits and pieces, and then repeating the process. That way no one is ever satisfied. Your citation about 231 pieces of legislation (that you for the citation) is testament to this phenomena.

    Otherwise, I agree with bron98 in general, and particularly where forced provision of birth control or abortion is imposed upon organizations, especially small businesses, with a legitimate right to object to it, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor conundrum of late….and similar situations.

    Given that our population is roughly 50% female and 50% male, why are men forced to pay taxes to sponsor female matters solely and in particular, birth control and abortion. I’m fine with PP providing health care to women who have little other recourse, encourage it in fact, but I suggest PP goes quite a bit beyond that….eg., a new & separate “right” for womanhood, and a new issue to fight over. I’d be very interested to learn if PP also provides care for male issues like vasectomy or prostate health care?

  9. Aridog says:

    Dang it…the WordPress Grue just ate my comment.

    Said more simply…the hordes of legislation only makes it worse, and creates a female class senior to the male class. Question: Does Planned Parenthood also offer medical and health care services to men for issues like prostate care? Given men are 50% and women are 50% of the population, it would seem only fair if they do. My understanding is that PP does provide vasectomies, but means tested and not for free.

  10. Ari at 9:43 – Google is your friend. Planned Parenthood offers many specifically to men including prostate care – https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/men PP also offers general health services to both women and men. You need your prostate checked? Head over to your nearest PP clinic.

  11. Bron – hmmm… Curious … do you pay for every last bit of your and your family’s health care out of your own pocket, including forgoing any deduction on your tax return? Have you turned down social security for yourself and any other eligible family members? Have you repaid the cost of the education you (apparently) have received? If you have kids, did you pay for private education, with no subsides from the taxpayers that are so popular with rightwingers these days?

  12. bron98 says:

    I’m not in favor of any corporate subsidies either. Why should sugar producers or bankers or orange growers receive any kind of money from the taxpayers.

  13. bron98 says:

    Joy of fishes:
    I pay my taxes so why wouldn’t I use the services? I don’t make enough to afford private school because I’m paying taxes. My property tax alone is about $9000. If I didn’t have to pay that kind of money, I could afford a private school for my children.

    As far as the others are concerned that is money that has been paid into. Although I would gladly give up whatever Social Security I have coming to me and work until I die if that would help eradicate that immoral system.

    How much is the education I received worth? I went to a state school and pretty much paid for it out of my own pocket, I had a few thousand dollars in grants and a loan for some of it which I paid back before it was due. Back when I went to school I probably could’ve afforded a private college because I always had pretty good jobs when I took off for a year and went to work. Now with the cost of college because of the accessibility of it, very few people can afford to go without government help.

    So basically government is causing the cost to go through the roof because of the availability of money. But you know what we just paid back our sons loan from the government and they charged us 8% interest actually I think it was 8.5% interest. Some deal that was, we would’ve been better off taking a home equity loan and paying ourselves the interest. What a fucking joke that was. And those sons of bitches took the interest up front. So there was no financial benefit to us paying it off early except to make sure that our son did not have to worry about his educational expenses once he and graduated.

    As far as healthcare goes, I buy insurance just like everybody else or at least most people. They used to call those mutual aid societies. So I have my out-of-pocket expenses but the health insurance is risk mitigation.

    The money people make is theirs by right, it does not belong to the government. So I would say people that are using government subsidies are just getting back money that they paid in. It was theirs to begin with in the first place. I’m not going to praise a man who puts a gun to my head and takes my money and then gives me back some portion for my use.

    I understand we live in a society and so there should be some things that we pay for but not much and certainly not for another person to live. That’s his responsibility of mine, I need to worry about myself and where my next meal is coming from. And that is how it works. If I have some extra food I’m happy to share it but voluntarily. I know that voluntary is a concept that most progressives don’t understand.

  14. Bron.
    I know you are a smart guy and good with math. You do realize, don’t you, that the economics of large numbers helps keep your own insurance premiums low. The more people enrolled is the only thing that keeps insurance viable. Enforced requirements for insurance is not new. Look at the requirements for auto insurance. And try to get a mortgage without proof of homeowner’s insurance. As with auto insurance, those who are scofflaws about it cause our rates to go up.

    As for health insurance, let’s just suppose Joe Schmuck, who refused to buy health insurance, is horribly injured in an accident. Joe is taken by helicopter ($6,000) to a Level 1 trauma center’s Emergency Department. He is stabilized and goes for emergency surgery. His convalescence is long an arduous, perhaps a month in hospital before he can be moved without risk of killing him. At this point, his bill has climbed well into six figures, and when he gets out he won’t be able to work. Just who do you think pays for all this?

    Should Joe be allowed to die because he was too stubborn and self-righteous to participate in a nationwide insurance plan?

  15. Aridog,
    I freed your comment from the spam trap.

    To answer your question, The following is from the PP website regarding men’s health service. As an aside, I certainly don’t have a problem with means testing. Our own rural health consortium does the same, as do many clinics…especially those who serve the poor. I pay more for a doctor visit than the guy who is barely scraping by on a subsistence income. Don’t mind a bit, as long as the system works.

    Services offered at Planned Parenthood health centers vary by location. Some of the services include

    -checkups for reproductive or sexual health problems
    -colon, prostate, and testicular cancer screenings
    -condoms and vasectomy
    -erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation services, including education, exams, treatment, and referral
    -general health care and routine physical exams
    -jock itch exam and treatment
    -male infertility screening and referral
    -STD testing and treatment
    -urinary tract infections testing and treatment

    – See more at: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/men#sthash.Jui5ZJoI.dpuf

  16. wordcloud9 says:

    Aridog –

    Women don’t become pregnant through parthenogenesis, yet we are too often held solely responsible for “getting pregnant.”

    Reproductive Healthcare and the Right to Choose are not just women’s issues – they’re issues that affect everyone in our society, regardless of gender.

  17. Aridog says:

    To all…the response, all civil, on this thread is why I read threads. I can learn things. Honestly I never knew PP provided male service, but I should have. I have great insurance and don’t need them but I understand how there are many others who do. Clear guidance is always helpful. Clear end to end discussion on PP is lacking in our political forum today. And that encourages nut cases and fanatics on all sides. Just how much government subsidy is proper gets lost in the shuffle of ideology….the all or nothing meme is tiring. THAT is why I did not favor totally de-funding PP ad hoc and suddenly. And said so in several places, including here I believe. All sides need a voice. If we’re not careful, we all might learn something.

    My main bone of contention is not PP per se, it’s the plethora of spurious legislation that complicate what should be simple enough. 231 pieces recently? Good Lawd. For example…how many here have ever heard public arguments about PP that included good information about male services? The focus seems solely on abortion on demand…and I’m not in favor of abortion as afterthought birth control, but strongly support it when medically necessary for the mother’s life or in the case of rape, if the raped mother so chooses. I can even support it in “destructive relationship” circumstances on a case by case basis….no doubt it must be a woman’s choice in those situations, ideally in the first trimester.

    I guess I’ve just wrecked my pro-choice credentials, huh?

  18. Ah, Bron, you do realize that I also pay taxes, right?

    Good for you for repaying your student loans. Really, I admire that. But I had not stated my question well, I meant K-12, although you certainly are correct to consider college in addition to k-12. And I so feel for you — if only you didn’t have to pay that $9K in taxes you could send your kids to private school! A decent private school/college where I am charges $7K/yr for elementary. $12K/yr for high school, and $26K/yr for college. Wow, that’s a lot!!! I am so sorry that your $9K isn’t even enough to educate even one of your kids. Based on what you’ve said here, you should have thought of that before having them.

    For the record, I gladly pay taxes that are used to educate other people’s kids, even yours.

    As for your sad tale about the loan for your son, what can I say, other than it is silly go blame gov’t for the consequences of your choice to go with a student loan instead of a home equity loan, And considering the totality of your comment, your jab at progressives not sharing is downright pathetic.

  19. bron98 says:

    Joy of fishes::

    I never said progresses didn’t share all I said was that voluntary was not a concept that they understood. I’m sorry if you misunderstood me. Progressives share other people’s money all the time. For any number of reasons. Reasons they think are more important to spend money on than the person who actually made the money

  20. wordcloud9 says:

    Aridog –

    Abortion is far more than another method of birth control. Perhaps you are unaware of the facts about severe birth defects or ectopic pregnancies.

    According to the CDC:
    Fact: Birth defects affect 1 in 33 babies every year and cause 1 in 5 infant deaths. For many babies born with a birth defect, there is no family history of the condition.
    Fact: In the United States, birth defects have accounted for over 139,000 hospital stays during a single year, resulting in $2.6 billion in hospital costs alone. Families and the government share the burden of these costs. Additional costs due to lost wages or occupational limitations can affect families as well.

    Dr. Darshak Sanghavi, Pediatric Cardiologist:
    “…comprehensive fetal testing, such as anatomical sonograms and ultrasounds of the heart, are typically performed just before or at 20 WEEKS of gestation. Such scans are critical for uncovering major birth defects, such as anencephaly (severe brain malformations), major heart defects, missing organs and limbs, and other severe birth defects. Fetal development is a complex process that often goes awry. Roughly 2 percent of all pregnancies are complicated by a major birth defect, and of those about 0.5 percent have a chromosomal defect, such as an extra or missing segment of normal DNA. Birth defects are a leading cause of infant mortality, and in many cases of severe birth defects, no medical treatment can salvage a fetus’s life or result in any measure of normal future health.”

    Ectopic pregnancies, where the fertilized egg is lodged in the fallopian tube, occur in 1 in 50 pregnancies. There is only the very remotest chance that a fetus could possibly survive under such circumstances, and a certainty that the mother’s health and fertility would be irreparably damaged if the pregnancy is not terminated in the very early stages, and that she would most probably die if it was left in the tube, and the body was unable to reject it.

    Ben Carson as an MD is certainly aware of this information, but as a politician he makes no provision for it in his no-abortion-under-any-circumstance platform. 1 in 50 pregnancies is not such a rare occurrence either – we’re talking about thousands of cases every year.

    So my original question – “Is a woman a person?” – is not a frivolous one. If the “right to life” and the sanctity of life” are the ultimate criteria, then why is the theoretical life of a fetus of more importance or greater worth than the already living woman whose life it is endangering?

  21. Bron, I did indeed mis-state what you said. My apology for that. You say in clarification – quoting, to be exact:

    Progressives share other people’s money all the time. For any number of reasons. Reasons they think are more important to spend money on than the person who actually made the money

    And I shall add Bron’s Corollary, “Benefits For Me, Not For Thee”:

    Bron-types are quite pleased to take all available benefits the system regardless of their individual inputs into the system, while wanting to prohibit ANYONE ELSE from getting more out of the system than they each individually put into the system.

  22. A typo, Ari?

    I guess I’ve just wrecked my pro-choice credentials, huh?

    or

    I guess I’ve just wrecked my pro-life credentials, huh?

    “Pro Life” that does not take into account the personal autonomy, life and well-being of women is not pro life, it is “forced birthism” I am pro life; I support women’s right to choose whether to have children, and I support ensuring women who decide to have children have the supports needed to provide the best possible outcomes for both the women and their children. That means well-woman health care, contraceptives, pregnancy care including termination if that is the woman’s choice, etc etc.

    We do not currently demand that people donate blood, bone marrow, kidneys, or parts of livers. How about you give up YOUR personal autonomy? In fact, thinking about it, it makes complete sense to have males be forced to donate these tissues, generally being larger and most definitely not potentially subject to the risks of pregnancy.

    (gadz, I wish WP comments had preview)

  23. Aridog says:

    Right, that was a typo. Never the less you said: I support women’s right to choose whether to have children…well so do I, even if that means holding an aspirin between the knees (facetious) however I do NOT support a woman deciding post un-birth-controlled coitus to THEN decide. wordcloud9’s post is the kind of information that needs to be included in ALL PP discussions, then we can be rational. BTW…I agree with the choices she outlines, just not your omnibus declaration of choice. I also have little pity for men who engage in un-birth-controlled sex then try to escape the consequences, financial and otherwise.

    As I said originally, the problem would far better off with fewer laws and more common sense, and more information shared rather than just declared. What is the percentage of minority abortions at will and at what point does ambivalence to that become culling the herd, so to speak? That should scare you if the percentage is higher than the population percentage as a whole. And we know it is 34 times the population representation. What is that…health care, careless sex, or abortion-as-birth-control? Or worse?

    That said, politics being the morass it is, I am absolutely certain I have no say in the matter.

  24. Aridog says:

    Damnit…”34 times” … should have be “3 times”

  25. wordcloud9 says:

    Aridog – where do you get your information?

    According to the CDC:

    Abortion Surveillance 2011

    In 2011, 730,322 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC from 49 reporting areas. The abortion rate for 2011 was 13.9 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15–44, and the abortion ratio was 219 abortions per 1,000 live births.

    Compared with 2010, the total number and rate of reported abortions for 2011 decreased 5%, and the abortion ratio decreased 4%. Additionally, from 2002 to 2011, the number, rate, and ratio of reported abortions decreased 13%, 14%, and 12%, respectively. Given the large decreases in the total number, rate, and ratio of reported abortions from 2010 to 2011, in combination with decreases that occurred during 2008-2010, all three measures reached historic lows.

    Women in their twenties accounted for the majority of abortions in 2011 and throughout the period of analysis. The majority of abortions in 2011 took place early in gestation: 91.4% of abortions were performed at ≤13 weeks’ gestation; a smaller number of abortions (7.3%) were performed at 14–20 weeks’ gestation, and even fewer (1.4%) were performed at ≥21 weeks’ gestation. In 2011, 19.1% of all abortions were medical abortions. Source: MMWR 2014;63(11)

    The trend has been for the number of abortions to go down in the areas of the country where sex education in schools is actually something other abstinence-only propaganda, especially when birth control options are available to more women. But the same people who rail against abortion are the very ones trying to prevent women from having access to sex education and birth control.

    The most extreme faction has proved over and other again they they will lie, cheat, commit arson, and even murder doctors and clinic workers to stop women from getting the healthcare they need. Where is the sanctity of life in that?

    The cry “no more wire hangers” at Pro-Choice rallies is not about Joan Crawford, it is about the horrors of the past. Making abortions illegal again will only result in many more deaths from botched back-alley abortions, the very thing which Roe v Wade has prevented.

  26. AD,
    I would be very interested in your rationale for “post coitus.” Also what is meant by post coitus? Morning after pill, which prevents implantation? At that point, there is no fetus. Just a potential fetus. Pre-fetus zygote? Also, how come the decision ought to be removed from the pregnant woman who may not wish to be pregnant, at that moment in time? She may not wish to be pregnant for any number of reasons, far too many to attempt to name.

    Do you have an opinion on those who would lie and misrepresent facts in support of their anti-abortion positions?

    One of the things that has me scratching my head is the numbers of people who claim to be “pro-life,” yet object to paying for neonatal care, follow-up health care for mother and child, and for insuring and educating the child. The real kicker is the overwhelming support of the death penalty by those who claim to be “pro-life.”

  27. Aridog says:

    Chuck Stanley … I have no issue with the “morning after pill”…to me, that is a form of preventative birth control. Just as you technically describe it. I might be wrong, but that pill is not equivalent to induced abortion. Much as I’d like to, I do NOT support the death penalty because I admit if I supported it it would be an act of vengeance and rage. The issue with health care for women is who pays for what and who should pay it. That is far from settled.

    wordcloud9 …not sure what “information” you mean. I was referring to black unduced abortions versus white induced abortions compared to the overall populations. The ratio between the two: black/white is 3/1. Is this all due to economic circumstances? What explains that difference? Does anything? Is it disturbing? I can’t just presume casually that it isn’t a significant difference. At the same time I know there’s nothing I can do about it.

    This debate is hopeless to those of us who think women should have a choice, but that it is not just to be one of simple dithering convenience, say 15-20 weeks in, when a choice is made. As soon as I or we say that, then we get 101+ special circumstances. Frankly, it is none of my business unless & until I am taxed for it out of proportion to my participation in it. I have one child and that was not by accident. I was very careful and hoped my partners were as well.

    Oops, I got pregnant, but I don’t like the guy anymore? Is that sufficient? I can imagine some cases where it would be, can you? I mean given the guy gets to skate unimpeded. BTW, the last thing I want is a law preventing all abortion any more than I want one preventing all birth control.

    Who is responsible for sexual activity and unwanted babies, if that occurs? It is when it becomes afterthought that it bugs me. Abortion is legal, why do we need a plethora of special new laws to regulate it?

  28. Aridog says:

    I think the problem with the pro-life/pro-choice issue today is that they’ve devolved in to “absolutes”…you must all in for one or the other. Sorry I cannot do that and I’ve said as much here. It darn sure has nothing to do with the person-hood of women or men. They’re both people. Period.

  29. wordcloud9 says:

    I’d think a big part of the difference between white and black rates of abortions has more to do with lack of access to health insurance. African American women on average earn less money than white women, and have been more likely to be working in jobs which haven’t offered health insurance benefits.

    Roe v Wade is not an “all in” standard – there are clearly spelled out limits, but medical doctors and their patients still have some leeway for exceptional circumstances that would put the mother’s health or life at risk. It makes sense to me, and I think it also does to the majority of Americans.

    The absolutists on the left are not setting buildings on fire or shooting doctors, so you’d have to say that the extreme right is worse and more deadly.

    I’m against the death penalty because we do make mistakes and convict innocent people. Once you’ve executed someone, you can’t give them back their life. Besides, for those who are guilty, being locked up for the rest of one’s life without possibility of parole is a grim punishment.
    .

  30. Aridog says:

    Actually, I am sorry I got involved in this conversation. Other than wordlcloud9’s informative comments vis a vis exigencies and Chuck Stanley’s remark about the “morning after pill”, I’ve learned nothing…and I already agreed with most of both of their remarks. In general it seems this subject is more political than scientific, which takes us full circle…all in or all out. I am neither and never will be. My primary objection is abortions of convenience sans exigencies, as a unique right. Nothing else. Every time I say that, elsewhere anyway, I get 101 new “exigencies” to consider…some pure nonsense. Get over it, abortion is legal and it will occur…and given PP exists, I doubt anyone is without recourse in that regard. The only question there is how it should be funded and by how much public funds. The far right was foolish to try to shut down PP in one big swoop at the purported abortion funding element. It dodges the question of just what part of it is necessary and moral. Same thing applies to the die hard advocates of PP…they don’t want to discuss those things either.

    I can see no parallel between black or other poor persons lacking health insurance and pregnancy…pregnant is pregnant and is usually caused by the same actions. If you give a dang, birth control is rather inexpensive, and at many clinics no cost. But you have to first give a dang. I suspect there is a “cultural” matter at play. That said, I know I have no control over other persona sex lives, nor do I want to…I’d like a tidbit of control over how much of it I pay for as a taxpayer. I did NOT say the taxpayer shouldn’t pay for some of it in cases of need. The myriad compulsory type laws on the books or coming down the pike (some 231 someone said?) for one activity is absurd and over-reaching.

    I thought Gloria Steinem’s comment, more or less, that if men had to carry the pregnancy, that abortion would be a sacrament was germane. That’s why I am not against all abortion. I’m pretty sure if men were the ones getting pregnant that our populations would halve with each generation at the least.

  31. wordcloud9 says:

    Aridog –

    Sorry you find this conversation so disturbing. Imagine how disturbing it is for me, when I have fought so hard for women’s rights for decades, and now see them being attacked and eroded all across the country!

    My point about health insurance is that the most effective methods of birth control are those which require a prescription, and monitoring by medical personnel – something beyond the reach of uninsured low-income people unless they have access to a Planned Parenthood or similar type of clinic.

    Unfortunately, most of the areas of the county where poverty is greatest are also Red States – the very places where women’s healthcare and Planned Parenthood are most under attack, and also the places least likely to offer real sex education programs in public schools. What people don’t know CAN hurt them.

    And we can most certainly agree on Gloria Steinem’s comment – if men were the ones getting pregnant, the laws would be very different!

  32. bron98 says:

    Joy of fishes:

    I would be quite content to pay for the services that I use. I would be quite happy to have an easy pass system to pay for the roads that I drive on. The technology is available to do this. So what ought to happen is that the gas tax should be eliminated and we should all have an easy pass system to pay for roads. This would be quite fair, to only pay for the actual roads you are using. Local roads could still be maintained under the current system of sales and property tax.

    Defense and courts and the police could all be paid for with a small 10 to 15% income tax. The legitimate functions of government do not cost very much. It is all of the social welfare funding that is breaking our bank. People need to understand that they are responsible for themselves that they cannot depend upon the federal government (read other people, other citizens, other taxpayers) for their personal subsistence and retirement.

    The people that take money from government ought to be thankful that the rest of us have been willing to go along with this for so long instead of giving us shit for not being willing to do more.

    I say go find a job, become educated, and work hard and save your money. And if you can’t because of physical or mental disabilities then private charity can help you. And don’t tell me that private charity doesn’t work because I watch that go fund me website and it seems to work just fine. People are very generous. I’ve given to people in need through that website. But they are people that I want to help and seem to be deserving of my help.

    Yes progressives are very generous with other people’s money. The rest of us are generous as well with our own money when we find a good cause that we wish to fund. We don’t want to tell anybody how to spend their money, we figure they know how spend it because they earned it.

    Free will versus coercion and force that is the choice. Do you want to be free or do you want to be forced to act in certain ways by government?

    Give me a society where I have to read Consumer Reports to figure out which company makes the best hamburgers and has the fewest incidents of food poisoning. Give me a society where I am responsible for saving my money for my retirement and doing the necessary legwork to make sure that I have made good, sound investments. Give me a society where I am responsible for myself and my family. Give me a society where I am free to act in my own best interest without coercion or force. Give me a society where if I am down and out and suffering that I can go to a private charity and ask for help.

    The path to the brotherhood of man is not through force and coercion but through voluntary associations and freedom of action. And please don’t tell me that that means I have a carte blanche to do harm to my fellow human beings. No it does not, do unto others as you would have others do unto you is good advice. I do not wish to be murdered nor do I wish to have things stolen from me nor do I wish to have my air polluted or my water polluted.

    And that is what government is for, to redress harms that of been done by one man to another. It is not to take from one man for his ability and give to another for his need.

  33. “And that is what government is for, to redress harms that of been done by one man to another.”

    That’s part of it, yes.

    “It is not to take from one man for his ability and give to another for his need.”

    False equivalence and specious reasoning. Society protecting its weakest members in no way takes your ability to do so on your own. It also complies with the General Welfare clause(s) of the Constitution.

  34. Aridog says:

    wordlcloud9 …actually, trim away the spurious, and I suspect we agree more than disagree. I also find much of what bron98 says germane, agreeable, and worthy of discussion. I haven’t repeated it because he’s already said it. This thread has evolved to cover many separate subjects, all of which deserve their own posts. I also think Joy of Fishes means well and perhaps I don’t understand her points, which seem as bit omnibus to me.

    The reason I am sorry I joined this thread is that too many issues got rolled in to one conundrum and you can hardly answer to one aspect without infringing on another. I think if you’ve read much of my prior comments on various threads you know I am rather favorable to women in general. Being a former DOD & DA “Fed” I am always leery of plethoras of legislation that covers aspects already covered by previous legislation or court rulings. That is how I “see” this “women” matter today…too much niche carve out by both sides. The real issue is how much of all health care should be government funded…e.g., taxpayer funded. One side seems to want omnibus funding and the other no funding. Can’t negotiate from there.

    It is frustrating that I cannot say it all without more clarity. My eyes just glaze over at times. MY view point on the issue if men had to carry pregnancies ates back to 1972,..when I was there when my daughter was born (it was all the fashion then) … funny thing is about 3/4’s of the way through delivery Nina said get lost, that she was busy with delivery. 😀 Nurses were perplexed. Me, I was glad to go have a smoke with other anxious fathers.

    PS: For those who recall it, I advocated for an expansion of the FEHBP (what I have, even in retirement with Medicare) for everyone, with means testing and employer participation, as John Kerry proposed (his only good idea 🙂 ) in 2004 and was told to shut up by his Democrat minions and handlers. FAR simpler than the ACA and required no new Db or organization to manage it…just adding some mid level civil servants within OPM. It’s 50+ year success rate should have been considered. It was not…why? What do you think? [Wiki actually has a decent summary of the FEHBP…better than most of their analysis and summaries.]

  35. Aridog says:

    Oh crap…the “grue” got me again. Too long to repeat. It expressed more agreement with others than disagreement. “Grue” probably figured that just could not be me.

  36. wordcloud9 says:

    Well, I’m one of those socialist democrats that think the workers are the ones who actually create the wealth, and the rich fat cats are the real blood suckers, so I’m in favor of Single Payer. And if the military-industrial complex wants healthy young people to do the work or get killed in their wars, then they should want it too. I don’t think the CEOs who make bad decisions should have contracts that reward their for their ineptitude, or golden parachutes so they can float off on a cloud of money, leaving the company bankrupt and the workers unemployed.

    All of which is related to women’s rights because there’s too many rich white Republican men trying to take away my rights as a woman, a person, and a citizen. I’m an American who has worked hard for over 50 years – my first Social Security entry was in 1962, when I was 13 years old. I’ve voted in every election since I’ve been old enough.

    I did my jobs as well as any man, and got paid less for them. I’m not asking for charity or a pat on the head, I’m demanding my government play fair. “Equal protection under the law.” And the right of every free person to decide what happens to their own body.

  37. Ellsworth says:

    One hitch in the user toll system for funding interstates….bye-bye interstates in Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, maybe Idaho. And that may make traveling between Washington and Oregon and the rest of the country kinda difficult.

  38. wordcloud9 says:

    Yes there are many things which are best done by government, including postal service, and the nationwide interstate system.

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