I missed this, way back in the day, but Angry Black Lady’s take is well worth reading.
In Alabama, as in many states, if a minor wants to get an abortion, she needs parental consent. If she wants to proceed with an abortion without it—because either her parents refuse to consent or she doesn’t want to tell her parents about the pregnancy at all—she can petition the court for a waiver. It’s called “judicial bypass.”
The whole point of judicial bypass is to allow a minor to participate in confidential proceedings where a judge will ask her a bunch of questions to determine whether she’s mature enough to decide to get an abortion on her own. If the court determines that, no, this child is not mature enough to decide to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, then it will decide that the child is, apparently, mature enough to be a parent.
If it sounds illogical, that’s because it is.
Last year, though, Alabama took “illogical” to a whole other level. Legislators passed a law that allows the court to appoint a lawyer for the fetus, so that when the judge decides whether or not to waive the consent requirement for the child, the interests of the child’s fetus will be represented.
Yes, that’s right. In Alabama, a fetus can call witnesses to testify against its carrier—because let’s face it, at this point a pregnant woman is being treated as nothing more than a vessel—in order to force her to continue to carry it.
A clump of cells that could potentially become a legal person has more rights than an actual legal person, in some parts of the United States. The “fetus fetishist” label is not without merit.
Ironically, anti-choicers are trapped in a fatal contradiction here—women are undeniably human beings; yet anti-choicers are quite willing to sacrifice the human rights of women in favour of fetuses, whose status as human beings is highly questionable. If they can’t even respect the lives and rights of born human beings, why should we trust their alleged concern for fetuses as human beings?
Thankfully in Canada, we took a saner route.
223. (1) A child becomes a human being within the meaning of this Act when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother, whether or not
(a) it has breathed;
(b) it has an independent circulation; or
(c) the navel string is severed.
We even have a court case that says, straight up, fetuses are not legal persons. If any Americans are wondering why a similar court case hasn’t happened in the USA, it’s because the anti-choice movement knows when it comes to human rights issues lawyers will look at precedent from other countries. Much like Canada’s Supreme Court justices referenced the Roe v. Wade decision for R. v. Morgentaler, US Supreme Court justices would look North during any fetal person-hood case.
That makes fetal lawyers a bold move, because it’s the perfect pretext for launching a fetal person-hood case. I really hope a savvy lawyer with deep pockets swoops in soon.