Crime/Corruption

Huckabee, in utero personhood, and unintended consequences

Have personhood advocates really thought this through?

Raw Story posts: Mike Huckabee’s bizarre fetal personhood proposal would criminalize miscarriages

Thought experiment time.

Given: zygote through fetus is a legal person.

For a legal perspective, wouldn’t said person necessarily be “incapacitated” for all practical intents and purposes, thus not competent?

Aside from all the other considerations mentioned in the article, upon becoming aware that she is carrying a legally incompetent person, would the woman have to go to court to petition for guardianship?

If the woman isn’t granted guardianship, on what grounds should she be denied that role? Who else should the court consider qualified for the role?

If granted such guardianship, and the person is currently situated in a non-viable ectopic pregnancy, or is determined to have a life threatening, possibly incredibly painful neurological deformity, such as anancephaly, would the woman then be able to make legal determinations pertaining to wishes of the person, for example, whether or not life support should be continued?

How would the woman arrive at her conclusive judgment as guardian? Through introspection and profound consideration, possibly even including deeply troubling theological ramifications? Consulting with family, friends, and others in a support network? Consultation with a medical professional?

Come to think of it, what exactly would this move change other than imposing costly legal procedures, further burdening overloaded courts, and creating the need for a whole new brand of attorney?

On the other hand, what if the courts do not appoint the woman as guardian, for whatever reason. As asked before, who should the courts appoint? In the case of life-threatening harm to the woman, if the court-appointed guardian determines that his/her responsibility to the in utero person trumps all other considerations and insists on full compliance with life support, does that mean that a government appointed functionary has life and death decision making power over the woman with the in utero person, even if she is competent to manage her own affairs legally, as a person before the law as well?

As usual, I’m not taking part in the underlying pro-life/pro-choice debate. Basically, I just find it pointless to do so, as both sides are pretty well settled on the matter and there’s little to no room for actual debate. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t inquire deeply into proposals such as this to see exactly where the road leads once it’s under construction.

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