Pick Wayne's Brain

August 8, 2015

Mike Huckabee and the Personhood Movement

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 11:15 AM

Having an opinion does not equate to having a valid opinion. Nowhere was that more clear than at Thursday night’s Fox News Republican Debate Of Ten Candidates Personally Chosen By Roger Ailes. Before continuing, and to give credit where credit is due, the moderators for the debate asked much tougher questions than I thought they would. That doesn’t mean they asked the right questions, but they did ask things I didn’t think they would address. Unfortunately, they didn’t ask them about many important topics, including income inequality, global warming, or climate change. Then again, these are all things Fox News Channel denies are a problem, so why should I have expected them to ask the people who want to be president about them? By contrast, Israel was mentioned 12 times that night, three by moderators and nine by the candidates. (Sen Rand Paul mentioned them four times in his remarks, but he was defending his position that we shouldn’t be sending foreign aid to them or anyone else.) Others mentioned Israel in order to make some completely false remark. Dr Ben Carson said, “You know, we turned our back on Israel, our ally.” (Absolutely untrue. Republicans mistake our disdain for the thoroughly contemptible PM Benjamin Netanyahu with not wanting to support Israel.) Gov Chris Christie (upset because Neil deGrasse Tyson won’t declare him to be one of the Plutoids) disagreed with Sen Paul and said, “But I absolutely believe that Israel is a priority to be able to fund and keep them strong and safe after eight years of this administration.” That’s all well and good, Governor, but the Founding Fathers would expect you to put the interests of the United States ahead of any foreign nation, especially one that didn’t exist in their day. And the word “bless” (or some form of it) was mentioned eight times that night, seven of them by Sen Marco Rubio in his closing comments (in between sips of water.)

But it’s Gov Mike Huckabee’s comments on Personhood that I want to address.

WALLACE: Governor Huckabee, like Governor Walker, you have staked out strong positions on social issues. You favor a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. You favor a constitutional amendment banning abortions, except for the life of the mother. Millions of people in this country agree with you, but according to the polls, and again this an electability question, according to the polls, more people don’t, so how do you persuade enough Independents and Democrats to get elected in 2016?

HUCKABEE: Chris, I disagree with the idea that the real issue is a constitutional amendment. That’s a long and difficult process. I’ve actually taken the position that’s bolder than that.

A lot of people are talking about defunding planned parenthood, as if that’s a huge game changer. I think it’s time to do something even more bold. I think the next president ought to invoke the Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the constitution now that we clearly know that that baby inside the mother’s womb is a person at the moment of conception.

The reason we know that it is is because of the DNA schedule that we now have clear scientific evidence on. And, this notion that we just continue to ignore the personhood of the individual is a violation of that unborn child’s Fifth and 14th Amendment rights for due process and equal protection under the law.

It’s time that we recognize the Supreme Court is not the supreme being, and we change the policy to be pro-life and protect children instead of rip up their body parts and sell them like they’re parts to a Buick.

First off, Planned Parenthood is not “selling off” body parts, so stop perpetuating that lie. Now, you might disagree, Mike, but you would still be wrong. Just because it’s what you believe, just because you once held the office of Governor, it doesn’t make your opinion correct, nor does it mean (despite what Gov Kasich said, “And we’ve got to listen to other people’s voices, respect them…”) that we have to respect your opinion. You are under no obligation to respect the opinion of anyone whose viewpoint is not grounded in reality. Period. If I told you that our bodies are inhabited by aliens who were once prisoners on another planet, you have every right in the world to question just about everything I say. And if I told you a fertilized egg was a human being, you should dismiss that, too. Because it isn’t scientifically or medically accurate. And no matter how much you may want it to be true, Mike, a fertilized egg is not a person with rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Amendment Fourteen, Section 1

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. 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 key word in that amendment, the one word that makes all the rest have meaning,is “born.” In order to have the rights listed in either the Fifth or the Fourteenth Amendments, you have to be born. If you are not born, you are not a person with rights under the Constitution. Even Associate Justice Clarence Thomas agrees with that position.

Senator LEAHY. Judge, does a fetus have the constitutional status of a person?
Judge THOMAS. Senator, I cannot think of any cases that have held that. I would have to go back and rethink that. I cannot think of any cases that have held that.

So the movement to declare a fertilized egg a person has some serious problems, not least of which it isn’t constitutionally sound. And it doesn’t matter if you believe differently, you can’t declare a collection of cells to be a person with rights if that collection of cells has not yet passed the critical stage of being born. And you can’t pass the critical stage of being born until the woman carrying you gets pregnant. No pregnancy, no birth, and no person. If you ask any actual doctors who have gone to school and learned these things, they’ll tell you that fertilization is not the beginning of pregnancy. Implantation is. Until the fertilized egg is implanted into the uterine wall, a woman’s urine won’t even show hormone changes that indicate pregnancy. And even implantation alone isn’t enough, since about half the time, the eggs don’t stay implanted in the uterine wall.

“The medical community has really been quite clear about when pregnancy begins,” says Dan Grossman, an obstetrician/gynecologist at the University of California, San Francisco, “and that definition is that pregnancy begins once implantation occurs.”

That would be the implantation of the fertilized egg into the woman’s uterus. One reason doctors don’t consider a woman pregnant until after implantation is a practical one — that’s when pregnancy can be detected by hormone changes in her urine.

But there’s another reason, Grossman says. “It’s really only about half of those fertilized eggs [that] actually result in an ongoing pregnancy.”

The rest of the fertilized eggs either never begin dividing or never implant. Or they do implant but spontaneously abort. That can happen so early in pregnancy that the woman never even knows she was pregnant.

So from a medical point of view, considering every fertilized egg a person, with a person’s full rights, wouldn’t make a lot of sense, he says.

If you understand anything about Evolution (and evangelicals like Huckabee do not) you would know that the DNA of what comes out of a birth is not the same as that of the parents which produced that fertilized egg. Every person gets DNA from both its parents. But sometimes something goes wrong and the resulting child has something different, sometimes bad and deadly (a mutation, or a birth defect) but sometimes beneficial to its survival. This is precisely how human beings descended from lower life forms. Those species didn’t become humans, but humans are related to those species from along ago. That’s how Evolution works. And it’s not “just an opinion” based on something that’s “nothing more than a theory.” In the Science world, there’s a huge difference between a theory and a Theory. And you shouldn’t dismiss it just because you don’t understand the difference. It may be called a Theory (capital ‘T’), but it’s still a scientific fact. And an opinion based on a scientific fact like Evolution is a valid one, unlike many of the ones expressed at Thursday night’s Fox News Republican Debate Of Ten Candidates Personally Chosen By Roger Ailes.

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