Okay, so a friend shared this. My first reaction, of course, was that most people don’t look like that because they aren’t white. Also, no 12 week fetus looks like that. Their skin is see-through and their proportions are slightly different. The amount of development is about right, but (since the fetus is not bright red, you can’t see it’s brain, and it’s holding up okay outside of a medium of buoyant fluid) you know it’s a sculpture and not the real deal.
So, to answer the question: No, that isn’t a person, that’s a piece of plastic.
I’ve seen super-premies – that were (presumably) twice as old as this doll supposed to be – and they are not cute. They are creepy. That is NO judgement on their worth or whether medical interventions should be used to extend their lives or whether they should illicit the same love we extend to other newborns. It’s just true. They are not cute.
What I find disturbing about this image on a fundamental level is that it’s relying on “Cute” = “Person”. (That sorts of cuts into the mantra that a blastocyst is a “person” since they are downright impossible to see with the naked eye – but whatever.) It’s also implying that anyone who actually knew what a fetus looked like in various stages (as if that information isn’t readily available) would deem a 12-week fetus a “person”. Further, that if we acknowledged the 12-week fetus as a “person” that we would see it’s abortion as “killing”.
So, I thought – how would the legal standing of a fetus actually change if the fetus were legally considered a person.
The obvious means of trying to figure this out is to make connections with other similar situations that involve someone who is already legally considered a “person”. So, in what circumstance does one person give of their body to someone who is considered another person; who, if that sacrifice is not made, will die?
I quickly found “The Living Donor Bill of Rights”.
As I read thought it, I expected to find a statement of the rights of consent. However, a strong statement did not exist because, well, there really isn’t anyone who seriously thinks that we should be kidnapping people, strapping them to hospital beds, and cutting out their organs against their will. It sort of went without saying.
There were, however, a few relevant passages:
“The living organ donor has the right to make a decision about donation in a setting free of coercion or pressure.”
“The living organ donor has the right to informed consent based on clear information at each step of the evaluation and donation process. The consent for evaluation should be separate from the consent for surgery.”
So, in essence, you can’t force someone to be a living donor nor does consent to possibly be a living donor make you obligated to be a living donor.
“The living organ donor has the right to expect that if, during the perioperative period, it is discovered that the donor organ is unsuitable in any way for the recipient or that removing it (or some portion of it) will put the donor at risk for previously unforeseen complications, the procedure will be aborted.”
So, in this situation, if there are unexpected complications, “the procedure will be aborted.”
Think about this.
In situations involving living organ donation, someone’s life or quality of life is at stake. In many situations, if the donor decides not to “go through with it”, the possible recipient will die. There are situations where a compatible donor is almost impossible to find, and that person making a sacrifice of themselves is the only means of life.
How different would it be, if we thought of a fetus as a person? How different would it be, if we did not think of the fetus as part of another human being, but an autonomous individual that happens to be surviving only by the bodily sacrifice of another separate autonomous individual?
Perhaps those who support “personhood” should think this through, because under the law there is no “person” who is entitled to the body of someone else.
The law, as it is written now, does not protect a “living donor” to a viable fetus from being legally compelled to sacrifice their body for that fetus unless they are going to die.
Currently, even when complications arise concerning the donation, not only are doctors not compelled to “abort the procedure” but they can be punished for saving the “living donors” life.
So, in the end, if a fetus is a person, and the lives of fetuses were treated the same way as the lives of other “persons”:
1) Consent to possibly sustain their life through donation would not be considered consent to do so.
2) The person whose bodily donation is sustaining their life could expect the donation to be “aborted” in the case of unforeseen medical complications.
3) The person whose bodily donation is sustaining their life could refuse to continue doing so at any stage in the process.
Those are not rights that pregnant people have, because the life of a fetus is currently given more consideration than a “person”.