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Women are People, too: Laci’s Choice

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As much of the country has, I’ve been watching the Laci Peterson case unfold on the news channels. It’s a heartbreaking story – a beautiful young woman, perfectly in bloom with her first child, living what seemed to be a perfect life. Until someone ended it, that is. I’m not going to speculate here about who killed her – I think we’ll all be convinced as the trial proceeds. What concerned me was the reaction of Feminist organizations when the prosecutor considered charging the main suspect with a double murder.

Laci’s child, Connor, had not yet been born when she was killed. Pro-choice forces scream at any attempt to assign “person” status to a child in utero at any stage of development, for fear that anti-abortion groups will use it to get a foothold toward reversing Roe V. Wade. I am a vocal proponent of abortion rights. I believe it should be available on demand, and without cost so that it is equally available under decent conditions for all women regardless of income. (Low income women often cannot afford the procedure, or have to endure it with only a local anesthetic – a barbarous practice under the best of conditions.) So how do we reconcile the inestimable loss of this child with our political needs? By emphasizing the Will of the Mother.

Women are sentient beings. How and when we choose to bear a child is the most intimate choice we ever encounter, and it is an undertaking fraught with danger. In my opinion, that danger, the impact pregnancy has on a woman’s body, and the importance of Motherhood in this or any other culture, give women an inherent right to control their own bodies. Pregnancy should never be seen as a punishment – a favorite argument of the religious right- nor should it be enforced in any way. We each have an innate right to control our own person. In addition, I believe that each child has a right to be wanted. The rights of the Mother who is already a member of society should naturally take precedence over the rights of an unborn entity.

Under any circumstance, I would have defended Laci’s right to terminate her pregnancy. She chose to have her child, and was happily awaiting his arrival. That choice – Laci’s Choice – is what should determine the charges to be brought in the case against her killer. It was Laci’s Will that Connor be born, to be a part of her family. His death, like her own, was not in keeping with her wishes and that is what makes this a double homicide. Left to her own devices, she’d be living happily with a growing baby now. The loss of both lives is of import. The infringement on Laci’s right to life and motherhood are violations of the most fundamental rights of humanity.

The bottom line is – when is our government going to admit that women have free will; that we are naturally endowed with the right to sovereignty over our own bodies; and that our personal and medical decisions are ours alone? These issues have never been called to question where a man is concerned. They are at least as obvious for women. When we reach this basic understanding of ourselves, the arguments become moot, and our energy may be better spent caring for the children we already have.

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About Morgaine Swann

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “I am a vocal proponent of abortion rights. I believe it should be available on demand, and without cost so that it is equally available under decent conditions for all women regardless of income.”

    How many trimesters does it take to save up, what? Three hundred bucks? Puh-Lease…

    “(Low income women often cannot afford the procedure, or have to endure it with only a local anesthetic – a barbarous practice under the best of conditions.)”

    I agree. Abortion IS a “barbarous” practice under ANY conditions…

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “The loss of both lives is of import.”

    Riiight. But only if Laci magically “chooses” to give that second life any “import” right?

    If someone arbitrarily decideds that your life is bereft of “import” can they “abort” you, post-partum?

  • http://www.tekwh0re.net Ms. Tek

    Where I disagree with your point on it being a “double homicide”, I am also pro-woman.

    I am afraid that that you are in the wrong place however if you are hoping to find many allies here. On top of it, women are always seen as second class when it comes down to it and the fact that they can give birth is very scary to the male. It always has been. It is why shame as always been associated with the female, with menstruation, with sex, etc. That isn’t going to even change in the next 100 years. If anything, we are regressing when it comes to women being seen as true individuals who have rights over their own bodies.

    Honestly, it is too bad that something wouldn’t suddenly happen and men suddenly be able to be pregnant. This would all be a non issue- or they would turn it into some eXtream sport on the ESPN station.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Laci wasn’t beautiful, but a tragedy’s a tragedy.

    I’m not sure how or why you used her case as a gateway to talk about abortion rights, though. I agree with what you say about them and despite
    some of the talk in Washington, more and more Americans agree with the idea of abortion rights in surveys every year. So that’s hopeful.

    That is all.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    Yes, Laci was beautiful.

    “That choice – Laci’s Choice – is what should determine the charges to be brought in the case against her killer.”

    I agree. The problem is that The Law doesn’t like nuance or plain horse sense. It likes legal precedent and technicalities. So once you get a legal status assigned to a fetus, the state will start to assert the right to step in and “protect” that fetus. We’ll see how long before “Laci and Connor’s Law” sets back abortion rights. Sad, but I fear it’s coming, when we should instead be able to make the very distinction you call out.

  • http://www.tekwh0re.net Ms. Tek

    Which is why I don’t think it should be considered a double homicide. Also, who is to say that had Laci lived, something awful may have happened and the child was stillborn? Until it is living outside the womb, there are too many variables that can still affect what the outcome will be.

    Once legal status is assigned to a fetus, that will be the end.

  • RedTard

    I do not think this should be considered a double homicide. Either a fetus is a person or it’s not you can’t have it both ways. I have little problem with abortion as a whole, I think it is good for the mother and good for society in general not to have unwanted children around. Although, ironically, maybe if the left hadn’t been so gung ho about abortion there would have been more young Democratic adults in Florida to vote for Gore in 2000.

    Here is a really out there idea for you. Abortion is about avoiding responsibility for carrying, paying for, and raising a child perhaps we should have an equivalent right for men. They could pay the state a fee of say $300 (or the going rate for an abortion) when the child is in the womb. This would alleviate and end all responsibilites such as child support from the father, sort of a ‘male abortion’ The woman could then use this fund to pay for the actual abortion. If the mother wanted to keep the child the money would go to a fund to help other poor mothers who wanted abortions.

    This would take some of the financial burden off of the potential mothers and give the fathers an equal way to shirk responsibility.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    Um, it kinda sounds like you DO have a problem with abortion, Red, which is fine. But it’s interesting that you say you don’t.

  • http://www.tekwh0re.net Ms. Tek

    I think he was being facetious.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    Oh.

  • JR

    If someone arbitrarily decideds that your life is bereft of “import” can they “abort” you, post-partum?

    Evidently so

  • http://NaralandNazis robee

    Science says: Jews are genetically and physically the same as non-Jews.

    Nazis says: They’re Jews, they’re not human. You can’t be Jewish and human at the same time.

    Science says: full-term fetuses are genetically and physically the same as newborns.

    Both newborns and full-term fetuses can hear, can suck their thumbs and have brain waves which means they can think.

    Naral says: They’re not born. It doesn’t matter that they produce brain waves, can suck their thumbs and can think like any new born.

    If they’re not born, they’re not babies.

  • gstring

    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

    Go look at the autopsy pics of Connor for fuckin’ crying outload!

  • A thinker

    Humans go through STAGES of life. It is the FETAL STAGE that the unborn are in. Our DNA make-up is always human. Therefore, when we were inside our mothers (it was the safest place for us to be when we were so delicate; we were in the human fetal stage of life. There is no such thing as “a fetus” being different than “a human.” You have and will always be, human.