“You’ll get my gun when you pry it out of my cold, dead cell membrane!”
Is this going to be the new motto of the National Rifle Association? It may be if Rep. Paul Broun gets his way. The member of Congress from Georgia has been joined by 55 of his fellow House Republicans in support of H.R. 227, the “Sanctity of Human Life Act.” “Sanctity” is a synonym of “sacred,” making the word’s appearance in a congressional bill rather than a church sermon an odd choice to begin with. But odder than the bill’s religious grounding are its legal consequences.
(1) the Congress declares that–
(A) the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being, and is the paramount and most fundamental right of a person; and
(B) the life of each human being begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, irrespective of sex, health, function or disability, defect, stage of biological development, or condition of dependency, at which time every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood; and
(2) the Congress affirms that the Congress, each State, the District of Columbia, and all United States territories have the authority to protect the lives of all human beings residing in its respective jurisdictions.
This is the legally binding text of H.R. 227; if passed into law, it would make every fertilized egg — “irrespective of sex, health, function or disability, defect, stage of biological development, or condition of dependency” — a full person in the legally and constitutionally binding sense.
What would be the consequences of this bill, if passed?
1. Handguns for Zygotes Remember that the 2nd Amendment promises citizens a “Constitutional right to keep and bear arms,” as Paul Broun himself declared when co-founding the Second Amendment Task Force in February of this year. That means zygotes have a right to a handgun. If expectant mothers stand in the way of a pistol-packing fertilized egg, then they need to be dealt with under the law.
2. Rescue Missions for Ailing Zygotes If a person were lying on the side of the road in sickness, you would expect him or her to be picked up by ambulance and taken to the hospital for treatment, wouldn’t you? Well, if a fertilized egg is legally and constitutionally equivalent to a fully-grown person, then we’ll have to provide the same services to avoid discriminatory treatment (forbidden by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution). Testimony before the Presidential Council on Bioethics by scientific experts provided estimates that 80%-90% of fertilized eggs possess significant chromosomal abnormalities that will not permit them to grow into full-born infants that will survive birth. But never mind that! H.R. 227 declares such fertilized eggs to “have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood” “irrespective of sex, health, function or disability, defect, stage of biological development, or condition of dependency.” They must therefore receive rescue services and medical treatment! Sure, it’s a major new social expenditure, but these are entities with “all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood”… so let’s get cracking!
3. Monthly Uterine Screenings for All Women and Pubescent Girls In order to be rescued and treated, each one of those nonfunctional, terminally disabled fertilized embryos will have to be found. They won’t be found if they’re just allowed to keep falling, falling, falling through and out of a woman’s uterus to their death. No, to find these entities with “all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood” the uteruses of women and pubescent girls will have to be regularly screened for the presence of fertilized eggs. Monthly body cavity probes of your 12 year old daughter may sound draconian, but lives are at stake here, lives that must be fully protected if H.R. 227 is passed into law.
4. Child Neglect Charges for parents who don’t bring their fertilized egg into the hospital for full medical services.
5. Mandatory Implantation of All Embryos Created by In Vitro Fertilization They’ve got all the privileges of personhood, so each and every one of those fertilized eggs created in invitro fertilization procedures must be implanted. To do otherwise would be to commit murder.
6. Census Workers Make Hymen Checks Knock, knock! Census workers are required to count all people present in the United States. Under H.R. 227, fertilized eggs have “all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood,” and that means they’ve got to be counted. Census workers will need to conduct hymen checks on all women and girls of middle-school age or more, and those whose hymens are gone will need to account for every one of their menses in order to attain a proper enumeration.
7. Tax Benefits From the moment of conception, your fertilized egg will have the full legal privileges of personhood. That means that every time you “miss a period,” Mom, you get to claim another dependent on your federal tax return! Bonus!
8. Increased Health Insurance Premiums Miss a period? Sorry, Mom, but you’ll have to pay the Family Rate for health insurance coverage that month.
Ready for this bill’s passage and all its consequences? A fair chunk of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives sure is.