Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Nevada Court Rejects Proposed Personhood Amendment

Yesterday, in a decision apparently issued orally from the bench, a Nevada trial court judge ruled that a petition seeking to place a proposed "Personhood Amendment" to the state Constitution on the November ballot cannot be circulated. The proposed amendment reads: "In the great state of Nevada,the term 'person' applies to every human being."

In Bristol v. Personhood Nevada, the court held that the language of the amendment is so vague that there is no way the average person can understand the effect of the petition. The court also concluded that the petition violates a state law that limits ballot issues to one subject. The Las Vegas Review-Journal and a release from the ACLU of Nevada report on the decision. The petition is part of a national campaign by a Christian anti-abortion organization, PersonhoodUSA, to find a way to overturn Roe v. Wade. Personhood Nevada says it will appeal yesterday's decision to the Nevada Supreme Court.


Barb said...

Interesting! It's so obvious that a fetus is a human being --and thus a person. Vague, my foot! It's always been obvious that a fetus is a person --just not convenient for those men and women who really want to undo pregnancies.

But I see another reason for such a statement: once we have gay marriage, formerly thought to be impossible and ridiculous, some old lady is going to want to marry her 9 cats! For benefits. "Who are we to determine personhood? My pets are family to me!"

Anonymous said...

It is not "so obvious" that a fetus is a human being, Barb.

Obviousness is a quality of a fact about which there are no quick disagreements. It is obvious that walking off of a cliff will result in a fall. It is obvious that a fire warms the area around it.

Whether a fetus is a human being, though, requires far, far more than simple observation. It requires careful definitions of what humanity is (and is not), and requires biological, medical, psychological, and philosophical knowledge.

While I disagree with your stance that a fetus is a human being (I think it has the possibility to become a human being), you do a great disservice to an entire branch of medical ethics when you suggest that your view is 'obvious'.

If it were obvious, it would not have been the minority view for the overwhelming majority of recorded history.


Barb said...

If it were obvious, it would not have been the minority view for the overwhelming majority of recorded history.

I think you are a revisionist historian here, MD.

Only the people who don't want to be pregnant want to see pregnancy as a condition and the pre-born baby as an "it" --to terminate for convenience'sake.

Jesus is an example from history of a child viewed as having a sacred destiny from conception on --same as with John the Baptist. How could this be so before their births if they weren't fully human in the womb?

The Bible says God knows us before we are born --that we are fearfully and wonderfully made --that we are knit together in our mother's wombs by our Maker.

Inconvenient Truths.

EvilPoet said...

What does the Bible say about abortion? Absolutely nothing!

Barb said...

Evil Poet: aptly named --except for the poet part.

The Bible says, "Thou shalt not murder." And since it speaks of the fetus's life as God-ordained, the implications for abortion are clear.

LexAequitas said...

Barb, I think you're being too ambiguous. Can you explain whether the humanity arises when the sperm breaks the ovum wall, or is it when the DNA actually merges?

EvilPoet said...

Barb - Somehow yours seems fitting as well. :-)

Thank you for the feedback on my poetry. You'll be happy to know that you're not alone, almost no one likes it. Hey I know! You H8Rs should start a club.

As far as the Bible goes - whatever you say. Far be it for me to get in the way of your ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Re-read the link provided above, Barb. It anticipates and replies to your comment.


Barb said...

Well, Lex, when DOES the DNA code manifest itself?

The moment of conception is good enough for me.

Lady Janus said...

Lex, it will be when the sperm and the egg get married, and not one second before then!

LexAequitas said...

Yes, Barb, what I'm asking is what you mean by "moment of conception".

Lady Janus said...

In addition to that above link:


Barb said...

Y'all should just give up --you KNOW that excuses for abortion are made by people who don't want to raise the children they've made. They want to undo the results of their sex acts. It's just a smokescreen to argue about when life begins-- to salve the conscience.

Lady Janus said...

And what's wrong with undoing the unwanted results of sex?

And there is no smokescreen. A human life begins at birth. Before then, it's like cookie dough -- all the ingredients might be present, but it ain't finished until it's baked. And by "baked" I mean BORN.

Jim51 said...

I find this amendment intentionally vague. We are still left with the argument. Simply defining every human being as a 'person' doesn't settle the issue of when does it become a human being. Were they thinking that not mentioning abortion, or a fetus, or a one-celled zygote, that they could get more votes? I can't be sure but I bet that an amendment banning abortion except in cases of danger to the life of the pregnant woman, would pass in Nevada.

Lady J,
Not a human life until it's born? That's pretty late. Are you really suggesting that 24 hours before a normal delivery that a woman should have the right to abort? That's way too close to infanticide for me. In fact, I would call that infanticide.
I know the choosing of a moment is a difficult philosophical argument. And I know, as you have implied in some of these discussions, that trying to assign a so-called "objective" moment (at conception) doesn't really solve that problem as conception is not really a moment. But available abortion up until it's born?
And if you say OK, not the day before normal delivery, then I will ask- How about 2 days?
There is a precipice there somewhere, and I don't pretend to know just where it is, but I think you stepped over it.
I would be interested in hearing how you view that.

Barb said...

Excuses, excuses, Janus.

It's not dough because it has fingerprints, brainwaves, its own sex, color of eyes, hair, skin --its own dna --it's human--it's living --it's a human life! it's a person!

It hasn't been baking --it has been perceiving, hearing music, hearing its mother's voice, moving around, it can sense pain --it's a baby --and could be born and survive at 20-some weeks in the womb --so it's clearly human before even the 9 months are up --and it was programmed from its conception to be what it is, male or female, white or black, curly hair or straight, talented, intelligent, teachable --and so on. It's a baby on the way!

Right now, I've gotten to know a white Jewish mother who has had 3 children by 3 different Afr. Am. men. The 3rd child is still in utero --and some ladies and I are giving her a shower soon. The two children she has had are WONDERFUL people with all the potential in the world. I think the little girl could be the next Oprah --she is so smart and perceptive and such a little leader --sweet kids. So Mom has done a lot wrong --but going through with her pregnancies wasn't wrong. And something she has done has made these kids sweet. Uncle Sam funds them a lot, but these kids will be worth it.

Lady Janus said...

"Are you really suggesting that 24 hours before a normal delivery that a woman should have the right to abort?"

Nothing of the kind.

And I step over no precipice. I do not in any way suggest that anyone -- other than the woman whose body is pregnant -- has any business telling anyone else what they may or may not do with their own body and its workings. Those decisions are totally and exclusively the purview of the woman. Nobody else.

And there is a helluva lot of difference between "human" and "a human." Your foot is human. Is it a human?

Barb said...

Lady J --read your own stuff. First you deny saying that a woman can abort (kill the fetus) 24 hours before delivery --then you go on to say a woman has a right to abort anytime when you say this:

I do not in any way suggest that anyone -- other than the woman whose body is pregnant -- has any business telling anyone else what they may or may not do with their own body and its workings. Those decisions are totally and exclusively the purview of the woman. Nobody else.

So you ARE saying a woman can abort ANY time for ANY reason --that the law has no say at all.

And you go on to say "a foot is human --is it a human?"

No, Dear, it is a human foot, not a human being. The Being is the entire person. And the normal human being has feet --but the human being includes the sum of its developing parts --from conception on --and more than that, a soul.

I know, as a woman, you want to be liberated from any inequality with men --and we are the ones who do "endure" 9 months of pregnancy and often painful delivery --and then have the child to raise --no matter what the man does.

But such equality with the ability to terminate pregnancy has brought us the unfairness of no-fault divorce, and custody advantage to the more prosperous father who has another woman around to do his childcare for him. And many men try to get out of child support by saying you should have aborted, knowing he didn't want to be a father.

Feminism has not favored women as much as men when it comes to re-production, child custody and financial security. Now we have women having to pay child support to the men who take the children away from them.

It's better when divorce is more difficult to attain --when people have to think it over --when spouses realize that infidelity and divorce will cost the adulterous partner more.

Jim51 said...

Lady J,
You have not really responded to the issue at all. I am surprised at that.
You did deny that you support a right to abortion 24 hours before delivery but then you say that no one "has any business telling anyone else what they may or may not do with their own body..."
That seems pretty clear that it would allow abortion the day before delivery.
I am sorry that this posting is about to go over to the next page. I really would be interested in how you explain this.

Anonymous said...

Barb, you really need to provide some facts for your conclusions.

Feminism did not yield no-fault divorce. It was actually a move by the legal system itself in order to reduce perjury. Custody rarely goes to fathers - even when fathers have 'other women' to help take care of children. I suggest a little light reading on maternal preference in custody determinations. It's been a prominent father's rights issue for several decades now. As for many men trying to get out of being a father by recommending abortion, I just really want you to provide data on this (and no, simply restating your conclusion as if it was obvious is not data - give me a study or statistics or something, and cite them).


Barb said...

MD --Feminism DID pave the way for no-fault divorce --no matter what excuse the legal system claims.

Courts typically ruled in favor of the faithful spouse in divorce and custody in the past. What happens now is unfair --to take "FAULT" out of the basis for judgments.

REmoving perjury is a poor excuse to remove the fault from divorce deliberations. All the guilty try lying --and now they get off for that, too?

I know cases where the mothers lost custody because the men had more money and someone to look after the kids --and the mother had to pay child support to the father. That never used to happen in the past --especially if the man had philandered.

They say now that they "do what is best for the kids," And obviously, being a single mom with no job or not enough money for child care looks to be disadvantageous for the kids --compared to the father's situation when he has a good job and someone to be a nanny.

Lady Janus said...

Jim (and everyone else) PLEASE PAY ATTENTION to my specific and exact words. DO NOT paraphrase me. And do not try to read between the lines, because there is no between the lines. I say precisely what I mean, no more, no less.

Anyone who reads what is not there, and misunderstands what I say, does so deliberately and has only himself (herself) to blame. And I am not interested in trying to explain someone else's error in deliberately misunderstanding my words.

I would neither allow nor disallow a time frame for abortions. That is strictly up to the individual and no one else. NO ONE else.

I am completely and utterly opposed to any laws regarding abortion. I am opposed to shoulds and shouldn'ts and thou shall nots. A womans body belongs to her. Nobody else. It most certainly does not belong to a fetus that inhabits a corner of it, and it absolutely does not belong to the collective "we" that passes for society. Hands off. Everybody.

Abortion is to killing as brushing your teeth is to praying. And no, I'm not interested in the peanut gallery's insistence that she prays while brushing her teeth. Tell someone who cares.

Jim51 said...

Lady J,
I can assure you that I was paying attention and I did really want to hear how you explained your abortion position. Sorry that you are so sensitive about being asked to explicate something.
From your specific and exact words I think I can now say that, in fact, you do support a woman's right to an abortion the day before delivery. Your position is quite absolute, and it reminds me of Barb's absolutist positions. The implications of such absolute positions I think, do need to be explored as I don't believe that in a real and very messy world such simplistic approaches work very well, or very consistently. I understand the attraction of simple absolute positions. They offer the promise of consistency, and the imprimatur of principle. But in this case I can't go that far.

Barb said...

Uh, Lady J. I'm sorry but -the fact is --if you don't allow OR disallow a time frame for abortions --you therefore are ALLOWING abortion--period.

No laws regarding abortion means you allow abortion. Period.

No one misunderstood you the first time. It's clear you personally place no inherent value on fetal life.

Lady Janus said...

"Sorry that you are so sensitive about being asked to explicate something."

Sorry I sounded so grumpy at you, Jim. Such grumpiness comes from years of being repeatedly and deliberately misquoted and misattributed by those who will not stop trying to read into my words what is not there.

"From your specific and exact words I think I can now say that, in fact, you do support a woman's right to an abortion the day before delivery."

You are interpretting what I said. Don't do that. The only purpose for such interpretations is to try and find some way of making my thoughts fit into your mind. Try, instead, re-arranging your mind to accomodate my thoughts without interpreting them.

If you really have to have an absolute, and cannot live without one, I will give you this: No one but the woman whose body it is may make any decisions about what that body does or what is done to it. That's as absolute as I get.

"It's clear you personally place no inherent value on fetal life."

Finally! A breakthrough of near-understanding! Now...hold that thought while you adjust it to accomodate this: a fetus does not HAVE a life.

In other words, I do not value what, for me, does not exist.

Bruce Robinson said...

Some folks sincerely believe that personhood begins at the instant of conception. That is a bit of a weak argument because conception is a process that takes a while. Also, the pre-embryo at that stage is a single celled animal with no brain, no sensory elements, no consciousness, no sentience, etc. More like a doll than like a person.

Others sincerely feel that personhood begins when the fetus has been delivered. This is a weak argument because the only rea; difference between a delivered baby and a fetus about to be delivered is a few inches relocation and one immense pile of pain for the woman.

I guess that I am in a very small minority because I believe that personhood comes with sentience: when the fetal brain's higher functions first turn on and the fetus becomes aware of its surroundings. This happens at about 24 weeks gestation. Personally, I would restrict abortions to those performed before, say, 20 weeks gestation, or those needed to save the life of the woman, or those needed to prevent serious injury to the woman.

But I live in Canada where we have no law restricting abortion. So we trust that pregnant women and their physicians are mature enough to weigh the odds and decide on the least worse option.

Barb said...

Still sounds like an excuse for undoing pregnancy to me, Bruce.

The youngest fertilized ovum is on its way, programmed to develop into a human fetus and human baby --to human toddler, child, adolescent and finally, adult --and then it's down hill after that.

But then we have a reprieve --a chance at new birth spiritually and can go on to eternal life. We are sacred beings with the greatest potential.