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Johnson writes: "My action to amend the so-called 'Personhood' bill ... represents the culmination of my and many other Oklahomans' frustration regarding the ridiculousness of our reproductive policy initiatives in Oklahoma. I have received overwhelmingly positive responses from men and women in Oklahoma - and worldwide."

Oklahoma state Sen. Constance Johnson, 08/17/11. (photo: AP)
Oklahoma state Sen. Constance Johnson, 08/17/11. (photo: AP)



About My 'Spilled Semen' Amendment to Oklahoma's Personhood Bill

By Constance Johnson, Guardian UK

10 February 12

 

s a woman and a 31-year veteran of the legislative process in Oklahoma, I am increasingly offended by state law trends that solely focus on the female's role in the reproductive process. With Oklahoma's new, never-before-experienced Republican majority, we are seeing enactment of more and more measures that adversely affect women and their rights to access safe medical procedures when making reproductive healthcare decisions.

My action to amend the so-called "Personhood" bill – SB 1433, introduced by Senator Brian Crain (Republican, Tulsa) – represents the culmination of my and many other Oklahomans' frustration regarding the ridiculousness of our reproductive policy initiatives in Oklahoma. I have received overwhelmingly positive responses from men and women in Oklahoma – and worldwide. The Personhood bill would potentially allow governmental intrusion into families' personal lives by policing what happens to a woman's eggs without any similar thought to what happens to a man's sperm.

My amendment seeks to draw attention to the absurdity, duplicity and lack of balance inherent in the policies of this state in regard to women. Oklahoma already incarcerates more women than any other place in the world. Under the latest provisions, a woman in Oklahoma may now face additional criminal charges and potential incarceration for biological functions that produce or, in some cases, destroy eggs or embryos, such as a miscarriage. In vitro fertilization, involving the fertilization outside the womb for implantation into the womb, would also potentially represent a violation of the proposed Personhood statute.

Finally, this amendment seeks to draw humorous attention to the hypocrisy and inconsistency of this proposal – from the Republican perspective of down-sized government and less government intrusion into people's private affairs. Despite the great challenges our state faces, it is far more important that we address issues such as affordable healthcare to help improve our state's ranking of 48th in health status; to create good, secure jobs that grow our economy; and ensure that all citizens have access to quality, affordable education.

 

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+261 # bluepilgrim 2012-02-10 12:37
The extremist sharia law proponents (and not all sharia is that extreme), nor the right wing crazy Jews who spit at that little girl in Israel for normal dress, got nothing on the right-wing Christian crazies. 'Christian Taliban' is an appropriate appellation for them.

Extremists of all sorts need to be seen as what they are -- crazy extremists. No one run a country for long on this sort of insanity, or even on faking it for political points. It's destroying us all.
 
 
-53 # allie 2012-02-10 17:56
Quoting bluepilgrim:
The extremist sharia law proponents (and not all sharia is that extreme), nor the right wing crazy Jews who spit at that little girl in Israel for normal dress, got nothing on the right-wing Christian crazies. 'Christian Taliban' is an appropriate appellation for them.

Extremists of all sorts need to be seen as what they are -- crazy extremists. No one run a country for long on this sort of insanity, or even on faking it for political points. It's destroying us all.


The term Christian crazies didn't bother me one bit, but the term right-wing crazy Jews bothered me a lot. Not the fact that some Jews are crazy, but that they are right wing nuts.........
 
 
+82 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-10 19:09
Why is that? Are all Jews left wing? I think not. Perhaps the true ones but certainly not the greedy, women haters.

I believe all Religions are whacked, the Faith was built on Fear. Faith was used to keep Crowd Control. Bible, Koran whatever it is called as it is all the same book, was written by Man. Man is Fallible, Man is Selfish, Greedy, Hurtful,Inhuman e towards all Creatures.
I am afraid I would have just said all those of Faith Extremes are whack Jobs.
 
 
+51 # bluepilgrim 2012-02-11 00:05
Try Googling 'right wing jewish extremism', or 'Jews woman back of bus" for mild examples -- not to mention what right wing settlers are doing to Palestinians. Then try 'Israeli right wing rabbis'

I'm not making this up, you know.
 
 
+8 # Capn Canard 2012-02-11 06:33
Allie, I find your post implies that right wing nuts don't exist amongst the Jews! Surprised? As if Jews were some kind of sainted godly people and extremely more qualified to be amongst the living than the dirty rat fink white trash, negros, cholos, injuns, buddhaheads, ponchos, pancake face, polacks, micks, chugs, krauts, wops, gringos, guidos, half breeds, huns, japs, jerrys, oreos, greasers, pikeys, peckerwoods, crackers, cheese eating surrender monkeys... take your pick the list is endless.
 
 
+30 # Regina 2012-02-11 12:03
Every religion has its fanatics, holding to millennium-old creeds. The Haredim among Jews are as extreme as Sharia enforcers in Islam. The tenets of the Inquisition have not entirely disappeared from Christianity. All religions debase women.
 
 
+15 # 1984 2012-02-11 15:05
Allie: There are right wing crazy Jews. There was an extremist Rabbi who was assinated several years ago. Netenauho (sp?) is a crazy right winger. What is the difference between crazy and nuts anyway. One more thing, the issue is not about crazy Jews, it is crazy Zionists. I am a Jew but not a zionist.
 
 
+15 # maddave 2012-02-10 21:39
Quote
"right-wing Christian crazies"
Unquote

Please note: the correct spelling is "right-wing christian (sic) crazies". These wrongheaded, misbegotten zealots need to be differentiated from real Christians.
 
 
+15 # jerryball 2012-02-11 18:10
All religions were established by men who wished to have absolute power over other people through fear.

I have to smile when it might be considered arresting all those masterbating teenagers for killing babies. What a predicament!
 
 
+132 # timlarason 2012-02-10 13:47
The actual handwritten amendment may be found on The Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/feb/09/spilled-semen-amendment-oklahoma-personhood-bill

Basically: any deposit of semen not in a vagina shall be construed as an action against an unborn child.
 
 
-47 # Progressive Patriot 2012-02-10 14:55
Does this mean that there will be more rapes?
 
 
+24 # ChickenBoo 2012-02-10 21:11
Quoting Progressive Patriot:
Does this mean that there will be more rapes?

Well if there ARE more rapes, it will be the woman's fault. She will have to be stoned to death for making the man rape her.
 
 
+16 # ChickenBoo 2012-02-10 21:09
-amendment-oklahoma-personhood-bill

Basically: any deposit of semen not in a vagina shall be construed as an action against an unborn child.
This is just getting sicker and sicker by the minute! Sharia Law, here we come!
 
 
+171 # bugbuster 2012-02-10 13:48
The topic of abortion is a synthetic political issue. It is a device trotted out to boost polling results for floundering politicians.

It is a rallying cry for a segment of the electorate that otherwise has no opinions or convictions on topics that admit of political solutions.

It is used by the right precisely because it can never be settled. All the right wing huffing and puffing about abortion has resulted in nothing but nuisance laws that get tossed by the courts and cost the taxpayers money.
 
 
+64 # Joan Manning 2012-02-10 14:59
Good thoughts. I would add a few more purposes to the personhood nonsense:

1) Send women back to the home, where they won't compete with men for the jobs.
2) Replenish the white race. Those black and brown people are gaining on us.
3) Punishment for having non-marital sex. Sister, you're gonna hafta raise that brat for the next 18 years. Can't afford it? Go get a job!
 
 
+111 # GeeRob 2012-02-10 15:28
Sad to say that not all nuisance laws get tossed by the courts. A 24 hour waiting period is law in some states. For women who have to travel, this can mean an overnight stay, doubly punishing the poor. Sonogram laws exist in several states as well. I can't yell this loudly enough: Reproductive rights are threatened every day in America.
 
 
+38 # Regina 2012-02-10 16:59
Some antediluvian states are trying to raise that to 72 hours. Big boost for the motel industry!
 
 
+78 # Cambridgemac 2012-02-10 17:43
In fact, it has resulted in an awful lot more. Something like 75% of United States territory now has no abortion provider within a 4 hour drive.... The state of Mississippi, as I recall, has ONE provider.... This is not a nuisance. It is a danger to the health and safety of millions of women and girls.
 
 
-42 # Kiwikid 2012-02-11 00:20
It is a danger to the health and safety of millions of women and girls.
Millions? How's that?
 
 
+33 # conniejo 2012-02-11 08:39
Millions because it potentially affects every girl and woman in the U.S. who remains of child-bearing age. And that is millions.
 
 
+15 # jerryball 2012-02-11 18:19
Andrew: You must be very young if you can't remember the tragedy of thousands (and most probably hidden millions) of women who died from coat-hanger abortions in toilet-like surroundings hidden from the law. Lye douches was another special delivery of death. The imagination boggles with the choices women had before they had the safety of legal abortions in clinical conditions. My personal wavering opinion of abortion is still out for some resolution, but I do have to consider that a lot of innocent women died needlessly under the old illegal laws. That alone muddles my judgment on this issue.
 
 
+21 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-10 19:14
Strange thing is Rights more often than not are those getting abortions for their females.
Poor cannot afford it. Middle Class accept their mistakes. Rich want their social climbing children to get the right spouse in the right family. We criticize other Countries but hypocritically we do the exact thing. Money makes for empty marriages. Hollow expressions like their own Zombie existence, feeding on others.

Keep the masses in control, use every device. Right now we are all accepting Gas Prices rising...why?
 
 
+26 # Bob-Investigates 2012-02-11 10:24
Quoting KittatinyHawk:
Strange thing is Rights more often than not are those getting abortions for their females.
Poor cannot afford it. Middle Class accept their mistakes. Rich want their social climbing children to get the right spouse in the right family. We criticize other Countries but hypocritically we do the exact thing. Money makes for empty marriages. Hollow expressions like their own Zombie existence, feeding on others.

Keep the masses in control, use every device. Right now we are all accepting Gas Prices rising...why?


WE COULD SPECULATE ABOUT HOW MANY RICH PEOPLE JUST GET INTO THEIR CORPORATE JETS TO GET AN ABORTION IN EUROPE OR MEXICO. The 1% ALWAYS get what they want, whether it is an abortion or getting away with hiding income in places like the Cayman Islands. The "King" is always right and gets away with murder. They are "kings" and we are their peons. I have never seen it as bad as it now is (class disparity) in America.
 
 
+7 # jerryball 2012-02-11 18:21
FREEDOM will come when the last King is strangled with the entrails of the last Priest and the last Politician.
 
 
+6 # Texas Aggie 2012-02-11 20:23
It's a lot easier to get an abortion in the US than in Mexico. In Mexico, during the school year it isn't at all uncommon for some girl to just take off for a week to "visit an aunt in TX." These are from the "best" families that would never think of admitting that their precious daughter has been sleeping with someone of the male sex.
 
 
+40 # CL38 2012-02-10 20:30
Actually, right wing huffing and puffing has resulted in closing of MANY medical clinics for women across the country, forcing women in need of abortions or medical care to go to another state; and it's resulted in the murder of a number of Dr.'s who were providing abortions. Now, they're attacking contraception. What's next? Demanding that women stay at at home and not take jobs away from men???
 
 
+12 # disgusted American 2012-02-11 15:02
Bravo! You nailed it except for one thing - it's not only a device used by floundering politicians, it's continually used to keep the country divided and distracted - and it works everytime.

If it's not abortion, they trot out homosexuality. And for an encore, the 3rd branch of gov't - TV - broadcasts a rerun of Lady Di's death for the umpteenth time.
 
 
+8 # Regina 2012-02-12 11:06
Nicholas Kristof in this morning's NYTimes has hit the best label for our disfunctional ruckus: "Pelvic Politics" -- great label for this inanity.
 
 
+151 # Blacktiger 2012-02-10 13:48
YES charge men and boys for "spilling seed". What's good for the hen is good for the "cock" to!!!!
 
 
+9 # Futilitarian 2012-02-12 05:35
Quoting Blacktiger:
YES charge men and boys for "spilling seed". What's good for the hen is good for the "cock" to!!!!


I may have very well committed murder last night. Fortunately, I flushed the evidence. You don't suppose they're monitoring the sewage treatment plants for this yet do you?
 
 
+86 # DaveM 2012-02-10 13:51
Let them look to the words of their Bible and the terrible sin of Onan.....

Save the sperm!

Bet they don't read that part, though. Or if they do, someone tells them it means something completely different than it says.
 
 
+26 # Bob-Investigates 2012-02-11 10:32
It has been my experience that a high percentage of "Christians" don't ask WWJD and, in fact, don't pay any attention to what Jesus taught. They don't seem to have a problem with the MIC killing people all over the globe. They don't seem to have a problem with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Calling these people lemmings is too nice. I would call them grossly hypocritical phony "religious" zealots doing exactly the opposite of WWJD. If JC were here today, these "Christians" (like Newt and Sanitarium) would tell him to get a hair cut and get a job!
 
 
+7 # jerryball 2012-02-11 18:22
No, they ignore that and rush to judgment on a small blurb about homosexuality to cause strum und drang! Much ado about nothing I say.
 
 
+62 # karenvista 2012-02-10 14:06
Has it occurred to all these idiotic Republican men proposing rules against contraception that they will be paying child support on an unlimited number of children and the state will track them down and garnish their wages. And it does no good for them to move because the states all cooperate to find the father.

I think it would be "just rewards" for all these people and provide positive proof to all their girlfriends and wives that they talk a good game of morality but will have a trail of child support payments that say otherwise.
 
 
+51 # michelle 2012-02-10 18:42
I suspect the next move by the Christianists will be stoning 'immoral' women and that will solve the child support issue for them. This is war folks. The Council of Catholic Bishops has become another branch of government and a branch that is an ever bigger threat to democracy than republicans. We will be Afghanistan before this is over. Before the Taliban controlled Afghanistan, women were 50% of doctors and 60% of civil servants. Don't think we are safe in this country, don't think it for a minute.
 
 
+13 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-10 19:25
They are killing their children and then themselves, do you not get Media.
They already stone us, chastise us, take our jobs away. Now their Chemical Plants, Gas Industry will take away the water and air that is left...Fools will be camping with Newt on that Colony. I wish they would leave now.
I wonder if their children end up sterile if they will punish them or themselves?
 
 
+19 # ChickenBoo 2012-02-10 21:15
Quoting michelle:
I suspect the next move by the Christianists will be stoning 'immoral' women and that will solve the child support issue for them. This is war folks. The Council of Catholic Bishops has become another branch of government and a branch that is an ever bigger threat to democracy than republicans. We will be Afghanistan before this is over. Before the Taliban controlled Afghanistan, women were 50% of doctors and 60% of civil servants. Don't think we are safe in this country, don't think it for a minute.

This is the horrible truth.
 
 
+43 # JohnRussell2012 2012-02-11 05:13
Will someone stand up and write legislation to once and for all... REMOVE THE CHURCH'S TAX EXEMPT STATUS!
 
 
+22 # conniejo 2012-02-11 08:43
AMEN!!!!
 
 
+12 # conniejo 2012-02-11 08:42
They'll have to wait until a child is born to stone his/her immoral mom, or they will be destroying the fetus as well. Once they stone the mom to death, who will take care of the child?
 
 
+9 # jerryball 2012-02-11 18:37
If you suspect the Catholic Priests, wait until Mitt might become president. I suspect the supreme judges might be filled in with a few Mormon Elders. Hate begets Hate.
 
 
+2 # Regina 2012-02-12 11:08
The name of the city in DC will be changed from Washington to Rome West.
 
 
+17 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-10 19:22
Republicans will continue to allow dead beat dads. Half of them are.

I believe they perhaps know that all their chemicals are going to sterilize them and they are scared...good. Far worse is those chemicals will cause miscarriages (they will never own up), but also children with brain problems, heart, respiratory if not immune failure, possibly even undeveloped organs.
This has been documented already when chemical plants move into slums. We will always have Cancer Clusters where developments are on landfills or near Chemicals, Oil, Burners. Also facts for century. Sooner or later these chemicals will strip their own children, grand childre if we last that long. Fools who just do not care.
 
 
+32 # Ken Hall 2012-02-10 19:23
Not so, because the rich, powerful, and well-connected can, do, and will, have no problems getting abortions when they need them. They are such hypocrites! Their stance is merely a pose that panders to the weak-minded religious wackos who vote for them. When their women folk have unwanted pregnancies, which they do, I guarantee that, they can fly to Europe, Canada, wherever, and get quality care that is not available to the common folk in the US. They are a craven bunch and yeah, never vote Republican.
 
 
+20 # Art947 2012-02-11 07:43
Isn't Joe Walsh, a republican congressman, the "deadbeat dad" who owes more than $117,000 is child support?
 
 
+5 # Texas Aggie 2012-02-11 20:25
Good luck on that. Just think "Joe Walsh."
 
 
+25 # Interested Observer 2012-02-10 14:07
Just read the amendment. The personhood crowd will wonder why they didn't think of it first, vote for it, then praise the Lord if it passes.
 
 
+9 # maddave 2012-02-10 21:55
IF such a law passes, Woody Allen - who once said "I was the best I ever had!" - will probably be locked up for a long time.
 
 
+32 # Interested Observer 2012-02-10 14:10
A greater challenge is to define when putting the semen INTO a vagina is a crime against an unborn child.
 
 
+17 # Don Thomann 2012-02-10 14:17
Sperm are people too!
 
 
+40 # lcarrier 2012-02-10 15:48
Right, the way that corporations are people. Got it.
 
 
+13 # seeuingoa 2012-02-10 17:32
Quoting Don Thomann:
Sperm are people too!


NO ! potential yes! people no!
People have a moral obligation, sperm none.
That´s the difference.
 
 
+1 # wminot 2012-02-13 09:08
I wish I could click the thumbs up on that message many more times than just once!
 
 
+12 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-10 19:26
Those lil salty devils are now humans too..legal or illegal immigrants?
 
 
+35 # Bruce Gruber 2012-02-10 14:32
To the related "intrusion" uproar of the right I queried the National Review online, midst a cacophony of righteous religiosity, the following:

"Two questions for starters:
1. Is religious freedom an individual thing or a group thing?
2. Does this freedom of religious practices and beliefs apply to new start-up religions and others religions' tenets like, say, Muslim?"

No responses to date.
 
 
+79 # ktony 2012-02-10 14:55
"Every sperm is sacred
Every sperm is great
If a sperm is wasted
God is quite irate!"
-Monty Python's The Meaning of Life

Thank goodness for Monty Python's take on sexual hangups and repression.
 
 
+14 # mwd870 2012-02-11 06:19
"My amendment seeks to draw attention to the absurdity, duplicity and lack of balance inherent in the policies of this state in regard to women."

Good for Constance Johnson. Monty Python's 'The Meaning of Life' should be sent to all state and federal legislators who think they have a right to mandate women's rights.
 
 
+81 # lcarrier 2012-02-10 15:01
Senator Brian Craig is, I almost hate to say it, an idiot. A simple attention to logic would convince any rational person that "personhood" is not bestowed on anything except an individual with desires, emotions, and beliefs. Consider this: an acorn is only a potential oak tree. So what you do with an acorn (step on it, burn it, throw it in the ocean) is different from what you would do to a majestic oak (by cutting it down, defacing it, or lopping off all its branches). So, too, what a woman does with an embryo is none of anyone's business. St. Thomas Acquinas recognized the difference. The stupid Catholics who say otherwise should be reminded that a religious decision should not be forced down the throats of those who do not share their opinion. Remember that a "potential person" is not a person, and even though life might begin at conception, personhood does not begin at conception. Anyone who says otherwise is, as I said at the outset, an idiot. Mr. Santorum may be sincere, but a sincere idiot is still an idiot.
 
 
-16 # Kiwikid 2012-02-11 00:28
So, lcarrier, when does personhood begin?
 
 
+4 # Billy Bob 2012-02-11 11:17
Good question. Scientifically speaking, WHEN DOES IT? Remember, the opperative words here are "scientifically speaking".
 
 
-7 # Kiwikid 2012-02-11 19:38
Ok. "SCIENTIFICALLY SPEAKING", when does personhood begin?
 
 
+5 # Billy Bob 2012-02-12 12:07
It wasn't a riddle or a knock-knock joke. You're the one who seems to know the answer to that.

Either your argument is about science or religion. Which is it? If it's about science, then you MUST have an answer for that, in order to tell other people what to believe and what choices to make.
 
 
-2 # Kiwikid 2012-02-12 18:04
So far on this blog I'm one person who hasn't told others what to believe. I'm looking for a clear stear as to where other progressives believe personhood starts. Then I'll have something to engage with. You're correct, Billy, it is a good question. As far as this debate goes, I'd as bold as to say its the one that matters most. When we're clear about when personhood starts, we know when we are dealing with a human life, and can start debating the relatve rights of the mother over her uterus against the rights of the unborn to a chance at life. Even with all the difficulties associated with it, my own view at moment is that personhood starts with conception. I'm open to compelling arguments that its otherwise - suggesting that I'm a religious, bible-banging nutter doesn't qualify. I would have thought that all progressives who really believe in the dignity and sanctity of human life would want to choose a conservative position on this - to be safe rather than sorry on the side of life. This is not about what others believe, say, or do - its about the consistency of our own position.
 
 
+6 # Joan Manning 2012-02-12 19:57
Andrew asks where personhood begins. There are actually two questions: The first is, when does life begin? That's a biological question over which we have no control. The other question is, where does the law begin? Traditionally the law begins at birth, when it records the addition of a new citizen. What legitimate reason does the state have to proceed further? What public good is accomplished by intruding into the most personal and private thing we have- our bodies? Don't we get to do what we like with our bodies? We can abuse it with drugs - legal and illegal. We can try to kill it, and if we fail we won't be charged for attempted murder. Our bodies are our own. Whether a body contains a fertizied egg - or even a fetus, is not the business of the state.
 
 
-3 # Kiwikid 2012-02-13 00:20
It all seems so simple and straigthforward when you put it like that Joan. However it assumes 1. that we do have absolute sovereignty over our bodies, 2. that we can rationalise the destruction of the unborn by using words like 'fertilized egg' and 'fetus' (not unlike the American Military's use of 'collateral damage' to describe the death of innocent civilians). In the more socialist country where I live (NZ) attempted suicides will likely result in one being detained at Her majesty's pleasure for psychatric treatment - the State does get involved. Parental authority has been subsumed by the State - we are now guardians only. Bad parenting (we have high rates of child abuse) can be rewarded by the removal of our children. The State routinely waits ready in birthing suites to remove new born from their mothers and put them into care. Our State exercises considerable power on behalf of its children. It seems to me a relatively small step to extrapolate its concern a little further back before birth. I also experience some dissonance when I see the extraordinary the lengths we will go to to preserve the life of WANTED premature babies - some not far into their third trimester, and yet claim the right to abort others simply on the basis that they are not wanted. By Joan's definition its a fetus until it is born - even if its 2 weeks overdue. Having said that, I can see how awful it must be for a woman forced to carry to full term a child she does not want. And yet....
 
 
+2 # Bruce Gruber 2012-02-13 08:01
You are confusing yourself with examples and then extrapolating to question mankind's efforts to define and govern outcomes as public policy.

If one subscribes to faith in a god, then outcomes can be ascribed away to an all knowing or all powerful other. Our personal decisions form the basis for an external 'judgement'.

However if we assume we have been directed by our gods to judge on their behalf, we have a tendency to presume to punish as well. Therein lies a real problem, inasmuch as most of us confess our actual and continual imperfection through sins of both commission and omission.

That makes it a real paradox to try to develop a coherent, inclusive, democratically supportable compromise on public policy differences around biggies like "life" and "death". Opinions are rather varied and interpreters find all sorts of godly 'position statements' to support their conclusions. From The Jewish God of the Old Testament, Allah's enlightenment via the Koran as written down by Mohammed and Jesus, as remembered and/or anticipated by biblical authors and Papal prelates, we struggle with what we THINK we KNOW.

Separating church and state was a bold and impressive effort on our founders' part to avoid the argument. Community responsibility and support for the needy - whether impaired, of limited means, ill advised or subject to abuse - isn't likely to result in agreement anytime soon.
 
 
+6 # CL38 2012-02-12 22:54
You want to discuss when personhood starts. Yet, you don't even consider the personhood of the woman carrying a fetus.

And that's the hypocritical problem with those who engage in debates and arguments about when 'personhood starts. What about the 'personhood' of the woman who is pregnant?

You and so many other male conservatives refuse to even recognize, let alone respect the right-to-person hood of the woman. She's nothing more than a vehicle for the fetus.

If you -- or other men carried the fetus, you can bet the male's rights would come first!!!!
 
 
-1 # Kiwikid 2012-02-13 09:30
Thanks for that CL38. I am currently (operative word)conservati ve on this issue, but not on most others - eg contraception, homosexuality, universal healthcare, economics etc. I can only imagine the agony of a woman who can't face being forced to carry the unborn to full-term, and can't say for sure I'd be able to go through with it if it were me and there was a simple, clean, and safe way of making the problem go away. And yet I'm still stuck with the reality that this is a human life and no amount of changing the words will alter that truth. As I've said in response to an earlier RSN blog, I may not be here if abortion was available to my mother following my conception. While we wouldn't know what we'd missed, the world would be a drearier place without my sons and I and the wide circle of friends we have. It may be the wrong way of looking at the issue, and yet I keep coming back to it. It is personal.
 
 
+4 # CL38 2012-02-12 23:04
One other point. This 'religious' issue is really about two things: controlling women's bodies, sexuality and lives; pushing us back into second class status and

2)the Republicans using this debate to stir up the culture wars again and change the subject to keep it focused on anything other than the economic, housing, mortgage, wall street and banking crises they created and the failure of all their policies.
 
 
-1 # Kiwikid 2012-02-13 09:47
You may be correct with point 2 - I don't know, I don't live in your country.
Your first point is repeated ad hominen throughout this blog ("in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant" etc) but its a straw man argument. I don't see it anywhere. Maybe its true among conservative Christians in your country - it certainly isn't in ours. My observation is that it is driven out of a genuine conviction that human life is being snuffed out - nothing more, and nothing less. I will concede that the issues of how this effects the woman and the aftercare (birth onwards) are not often considered. If we're so determined about this we (Christians and others who struggle with abortion) must also be willing to take much more responsibilty for supporting the child (and its mother is she chooses to keep it) once it's born. (As a footnote, we have a chronic shortage of babies for adoption in our country for couples who are unable to conceive, so some of the pressure for this may be taken off. Not all, just some.)
 
 
0 # Glen 2012-02-14 06:26
Which came first - the chicken or the egg.

Life begins when a fetus becomes viable and can survive outside the womb. Until then, any life outside the womb would be artificially supported, with an uncertain outcome.

Many who push for eggs and life unreasonably are very often those who object to artificial life support and against any sort of helpful insurance for those forced to to bring a very weak being into the world.

Idealism concerning the preciousness of babies should not be distorted into what amounts to life threatening positions of irrational exceptions.
 
 
0 # Kiwikid 2012-02-15 02:19
Sorry Glen, your statement is simply that - a statement - something you claim to be true but with no evidence. Huge effort is gone to to support life for premature babies who, without significant, specialised, high tech intervention would certainly die. Quickly. You seem to be suggesting that in these cases this 'fetus' is not yet a life, despite appearances to the contrary. Furthermore, the 'fetus' is more vulnerable after its been born. Until then it requires little intentional attention. Afterward, without its mother or a surrogate's constant care for some considerable time (years) it will certainly die.
 
 
0 # Glen 2012-02-17 10:18
Andrew, if you are still around, I claim nothing but common sense. Of course an embryo is life as is a fetus, but cannot be claimed to be a viable, survivable human being until born, any more than is true with a chimpanzee or elephant. Certainly, a newborn needs a lot of care, but not intense, expensive medical care to keep it alive. That was my point.

Having high tech support systems means that the child is not capable of life on its own, meaning breathing, digestion, and so on. Having had a child of our own who was premature, I can testify to how difficult and expensive keeping her alive was. She actually suffered more than we did and the emotional memory stayed with her for years. He feet were even sensitive emotionally from having so much blood taken from then every day. Many premature babies don't live even after all the medical care, or have serious health issues later on.

We must all be sensitive, but not to the point of losing common sense when it comes to quality of life and who and how much a child suffers.

Oh, and surely you do not think a fetus does not require care, such as the diet of the mother, what the mother drinks, smokes, any activities of the mother that might jeopardize that fetus, not to mention the health of the mother when she gets pregnant. There is much that can damage an embryo or fetus. Including genes inherited.

Pregnancy is complicated and a bit dangerous for both child and mother.
 
 
+1 # Kiwikid 2012-02-17 21:16
I appreciate the respectful way you're appraching this Glen. I recognise how difficult the issues are (they ARE difficult). What has bothered me is the high level of vituperative abuse poured out by our fellow progressives on those who see the morality of the issues involved in a different way. To suggest that its a self evident truth that the right of the women to choose always trumps the right of the unborn to life is something I find deeply troubling - I'd like to at least see some acknowledgement of the struggle that I would hope would be there before a woman decides to have an abortion. And of course you're correct, a pregnant woman does need to be careful in order to be sure she produces a healthy child - I was only pointing out that her role is much more passive than after birth.
At the risk of being intrusive, I'm assuming (hoping) that you don't regret the effort and expense you went to to give your daughter a chance at life:-)
 
 
+1 # Glen 2012-02-20 08:19
No, Andrew, we don't regret anything, but in spite of our daughter being a vibrant, intelligent adult, she has numerous health issues that come and go and make life miserable. Some premature babies have many more health problems that require government assistance in dealing with them.

I'm sorry I missed your most recent post here, until this morning. You are correct that the birth and life decisions are sensitive and all aspects should certainly be considered. I have only met one woman, a relative, who had multiple abortions due to total indifference to responsibility. Certainly, there are women who are the same, but nothing close the numbers conservatives would have you think. It is a big decision, but many times it is very necessary, due to health of the mother, age of the mother, and so much else. Seems most folks automatically assume the mother and embryo or fetus are without damage or health issues and therefore an abortion is usually a frivolous decision.

Women do have the right to make these hard decisions, though. The majority are not frivolous decisions. It is extremely troublesome that there is rather much a war on women, further dividing this country.
 
 
+1 # Kiwikid 2012-02-20 11:01
Thanks, Glen. Peace to you and your family :-)
 
 
+1 # Glen 2012-02-21 14:26
Thank YOU, Andrew.
 
 
+6 # CL38 2012-02-12 23:09
One other comment: republicans have shown over and over through their attacks on women over abortion and attempts to to criminalize using contraception that they hate women.

The latest attack?

"Every single Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. They did so because they want to throw out provisions in the bill protecting victims who are LGBT or undocumented, slash funding for enforcement, and entirely eliminate "the Justice Department office devoted to administering the law and coordinating the nation’s response to domestic violence and sexual assaults."
 
 
+41 # pamitty 2012-02-10 15:03
This is a clever idea! The whole issue in the bible was aimed at Men! I had just said that this is like "Christian Sharia Law" And then there is someone else that said "Christian Taliban" That is much more correct,seeing as I don't really know anything about sharia law.
It's my only hope that they make themselves so extreme that even the fox guzzling people see how kooky it is.
 
 
+38 # Regina 2012-02-10 17:06
It was men who wrote the Bible, both sections of it. And men were all they could possibly think of. The women were too damned busy to get involved, which their overlords wouldn't allow anyway. And now it's overwhelmingly men in Congress who are rattling their sabers at the very idea of letting women manage their births. No surprise -- they're still ignorant.
 
 
+97 # Buddha 2012-02-10 15:48
I find it hilarious that the group most bothered by "Sharia Law", which is the concept that Islamic Law takes precedence over civil law, are pushing for Catholic institutions providing health plan coverages to be exempted from the civil laws requiring no-copay coverage of birth control. I see...when it is Islamic Law taking precedence over civil law, OMG, take to the streets! But CHRISTIAN teachings taking precedence over civil law...well, THAT is just religious liberty! Seems it isn't a theocracy itself that these guys are against, it is a theocracy that isn't 100% Far Right Christian that they object to...
 
 
+31 # Observer 47 2012-02-10 17:40
Absolutely outstanding post, Buddha!
 
 
+35 # ozken 2012-02-10 16:03
Yeah and ban condom usage too! Can you imagine the squashed little faces on those on average per ejaculation 250,000,000 sperm pressed up against all that cruel rubber? Sperm United needs to go to the Supreme Court 'cos Sperm is speech! Yeah baby!
 
 
0 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-10 19:31
Yeah ask deep throat...the mouth has it, a cesspool of critters.
 
 
+47 # heraldmage 2012-02-10 16:16
These people will do anything to impose their sect of Christianity on the people of the USA.
But quite frankly it is none of their business what a women does with her body as well as the religious believes of those other than their minor children.
Because the majority of these so called pro-lifers are are war hawks in favor of attacking, invading & occupying nations to control their wealth.
If they really care about life & religion they would be supporters of the anti-war movement, protecting the lives of our innocent children who because of economic circumstances or brainwashing has joined the military. They would be protesting against the death of millions of innocent children, women & men in war & as so called collateral damage. Some those women killed in war were with child why are the pro-lifers not fighting to protect all human life?
If there is a choice on how my taxes are used contraception, abortion & women health or war I choose abortion & contraception. What about you?
Its time we take the control of our lives,money,nat ural resources & government out of the hands of rich white men and their wantabes. They are only interested in wealth, power & control of the people. The Dark Ages & feudal rule over serfs ended ~ 300 yrs ago, let's not let them bring it back.
It time to topple 1% and finally put the people in charge
 
 
+17 # maddave 2012-02-10 22:13
heraldmage:

Nobody seems to understand the governing principle here. It's so very, very basic that we tend to overlook it: IF The Church can exercise complete control over humans' most basic behavior - i.e., sexual conduct - then extending that control over our land, our wealth and our chattel is bound to follow.

The rule is: "Sex is a beautiful gift from God, but you are not allowed to partake of it unless you do so in accordance with Gods Laws - as interpreted by The Church."

My ex-wife had a similar rule.
 
 
+18 # Robert B 2012-02-10 16:19
Reese Witherspoon makes the sperm argument in a law school class in "Legally Blonde." It didn't take long to show how ridiculous it is.
 
 
+51 # ckosuda 2012-02-10 16:32
best amendment to any law ever written!!!

I have often felt, as a retired attorney, that males simply do not have standing to legislate over women -

and, as the old saying goes, if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament!
 
 
+36 # bluescat48 2012-02-10 16:35
Any personhood bill is idiotic, totally religious oriented and is anti-scientific.
I applaud the amendment for its satirically bringing to light the absurdity of the base bill.
 
 
+40 # Billy Bob 2012-02-10 16:47
As usual, "small government" conservatives just want "big government" off of your backs and into your vaginas.
 
 
+16 # Rick Levy 2012-02-10 17:08
Now if we can just do something about the fetus fetishists.
 
 
+5 # barbaratodish 2012-02-10 17:14
Let's REALLY "ham" it up here folks Re sperm and eggs: instead of us HAVING our sperm(y) "ham" and eggs, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it seems as though our sperm(y) "ham" and eggs have US!
 
 
+26 # Billy Bob 2012-02-10 18:47
ACCORDING TO GEORGE CARLIN (If you're offended by his language don't read):

"Hey, if they really want to get serious, what about all the sperm that are wasted when the state executes a condemned man, and one of these pro-life guys who's watching cums in his pants, huh? Here's a guy standing over there with his jockey shorts full of little Vinnies and Debbies, and nobody's saying a word to the guy. Not every ejaculation deserves a name."
 
 
0 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-10 19:34
Not even ooh or aah?
 
 
+12 # JohnRussell2012 2012-02-11 05:20
Will someone please ask on camera face to face any of these hypocrits... "Have you ever in your life used any form of birth control... YES or NO? And get their reaction on camera... They're all good liars but someone will no doubt FLINCH!
 
 
+31 # angelfish 2012-02-10 18:55
You GO Girl! Let's go after all those men who "spill their seed on the ground" and destroy all those potential children! WHO will they get to staff the Masturbation Police? Rick Santorum seems to be most qualified! Maybe they should make Monty Python's song "Every Sperm is Sacred" our new National Anthem! Women's Reproductive Rights need to be taken OUT of the Legislative Process. It is a natural process and an issue to be addressed by the Woman, her Partner and her Physician. Congress has NO RIGHT to meddle in a Women's Medical Treatment OR her right to self-determinat ion on whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term! Men have had the ability since we crawled up and out of the Swamp! Women deserve EQUAL RIGHTS under the Law, DESPITE the fact that the Law, as Dicken's so accurately stated, IS an ASS!
 
 
+19 # Legion 2012-02-10 19:02
Ms. Johnson is a breath of fresh air---sort of a cross between Jonathan Swift and Sen. George Aiken of VT ("declare a victory [in Vietnam] and bring the boys home"). If you heard Mike Huckabee's harangue to the conservative equivalent of the Supreme Soviet this (Fri. 10 Feb.) morning, you will note that he admitted that he had avoided such convocations in the past because of their "libertarian" tendencies. That, for me, underscores the point that anyone who takes the Constitution of the United States seriously is invariably at odds with those who style themselves "social conservatives". They sing cry-in-your-bee r songs about government intrusion in people's lives, and in the same breath demand strict regulation of the lives of those of whom they do not approve. They've never learnt that one of the consequences of living in a free society is that there are going to be things that you don't like and things that offend you.
 
 
+16 # Majikman 2012-02-10 19:10
Shortly after Roe v Wade when the anti choice folks were gearing up and saying abortion was murder, I said that using their "logic" any woman who had a miscarriage should be charged with manslaughter... assuming that noone could be that bloody stupid. Boy, was I ever wrong.
With this "personhood" idiocy taken to it's logical conclusion one can order chicken in a restaurant and be served an egg with no recompense.
 
 
+10 # Regina 2012-02-11 16:57
Don't assume that "noone could be that bloody stupid." There already are bills in some states trying to rule that miscarriage is criminal, and demand that the miscarrying woman be interrogated and possibly charged. At that rate, maybe menstruation is a crime against the crackpots' definition of life!
 
 
+12 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-10 19:49
Who will be accountable for the sperm in oral sex. Will these sperm have to be put into an incubator to be used later?
Will both man and woman have to not swallow as Capitol Punishment?
What charges will be brought upon those who are sterile, man or woman? They must have been sinful for God to not allow them to conceive or have sperm.
Will those with slow swimmers be given shots or energizer so that none are wasted? or left behind? If we are going to sanction sperm as life form, we must make sure we have all the laws, amendments in order.
Will we need more salt in our diets to make sure the sperm have the right saline solutions?
Now the Politicians must remember that their children who say No to having sex are actually criminals at whatever age it is put to them. Which could make rape, sexual abuse fine. Child Molesters could now have a legal point to contest that the States are taking away their sperm's rights. Very big Kettle of Worms by Religious Humpers who do not think what path they could open up with a single signature.

Now who is going to hold up these laws? Eunuchs, but they would be illegal since they would have not specimens due to our cutting off the manufacturer. What about women who had their bodies mutilated, would they now have a better way to put their families and doctors on a chopping block. After all if they feel nothing how do they know if any sperm there when they clean up after.
 
 
+12 # angelfish 2012-02-10 21:36
If folks are caught swallowing can they be charged with cannibalism?
 
 
+4 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-10 20:07
Am I to understand that Vaginas are actually going to be given Rights?

Could there actually be Award Ceremonies for the best sperm, most hits, most congenial, MVP etc?
Will Vaginas and their surrounding areas be Awarded as the MVP

I am sorry I see some very bad things from this law. Sperm on their own are salty critters. Eggs are eggs. Neither are Human in their own state. I do not know if or when that union becomes a Human except that without incubation there is nothing. Even with incubation there can be Nothing. Just because someone has lost periods doesnot mean that a human is being developed. We only know that eggs need to be fertilized and that fertilization determines sex but the moment that a human is beginning to be formed is different in each situation.
Man says sperm cannot live x amount of hours, but that could be false information. I raise chickens, it amazes me that birds ever have chicks but the science works.
I am trying to be humorous but I know that we waste so much money on Laws that are against Mankind/Womanki nd. Laws that cost more than they are worth for the pain/trouble they cost. Yet the shining Law that can actually benefit Mankind/Womanki nd are few/far between.
I hope all of you in States that are engaging in more Satanism, Stop, pay attention not only to your Degradation of a Gender or both, but Doors that could be open.
Witches are Alive and Well. Satan is thriving...Nazi s are coming back
 
 
+12 # rblee 2012-02-10 23:56
Sen. Johnson refers to her “humorous intent” in seeking the personhood of sperm, but this is far from a comic situation. While the Oklahoma legislature is hot on the rights of zygotes, blastulas, fetuses, etc., Johnson rightly points out another egregious injustice that should inflame them: the holocaust of innocent sperm! Yes, millions--nay trillions--of potential human persons are slaughtered by wankers every single day across the planet. True, sperm are technically only semi-persons, but the purpose of each and every one of them is to become a whole blastocyst with full voting rights and freedom of religion. This cries out for legislative action! Sen. Brian Crain will be happy to know that an organization has been founded to fight the evil menace of wanking annihilation: Protect Innocent Semi-person Sperm! He and other Okies of his ilk should stand up like real men and P.I.S.S. off now!!
 
 
+12 # Riley1 2012-02-11 03:11
Every woman who is not two slates short of a roof has a sacred right to make decisions that effect her body .. After all lets see how Senator Crain feels to have his testicles removed by legislative amendment. Should that be his punishment for being a dimwit.A Senator who attended Tulsa law school should know better than to propose such a foolish bill. Politicians such as Senator Crain behaving in such a manner is undignified and unworthy. The personhood bill really is crass and idiotic if passed into legislation. I usually try not argue with idiots as the tend to drag you down to thier level and beat you with experience. However that said Good luck to you Constance in your battle to stop this nonsense.
 
 
+12 # stonecutter 2012-02-11 07:49
Why practice extraordinary rendition of suspected terrorists-what the hell, throw in any Muslim you can kidnap off the street-to torture dungeons in Bulgaria and Kuwait when we can save a bundle and do just plain ordinary rendition to Oklahoma? Those guys in Tulsa can do a much better job for a lot less cost. Hey, we can throw in all illegals of child-bearing age, any woman found in a Planned Parenthood waiting room, any high school or college kid caught buying condoms or KY Jelly in a pharmacy, and turn Oklahoma into the Rendition Capitol of the World. Think of the jobs it'll create! Rick Santorum will be available as CEO, after he finishes his "seminal" campaign to become the first President of the U.S. Inquisition, and "comes" up "short".
 
 
+12 # moby doug 2012-02-11 08:34
It's not surprising Senator Craig's legislative idiocy is taking place in a state which ranks 48th in the nation in public education. What IS amazing is that a state with Oklahoma's gas and oil riches is so backward. Where is all that money going? Of course, we can ask the same question about Louisiana....or Texas.
 
 
+14 # Windy126 2012-02-11 09:04
So glad to see others with sense making fun of the nonsense that is going on in this world. If these guys don't want women to have abortions, or even take contraception then I suggest they all be required to have vasectomies. It is quick easy procedure that can be done in a doctors office. It is permanent and the wives will never have to worry again. It was very popular in the 70's. Men back then proudly wore their little V on their lapel. Showing they were responsible men who did not want to produce more children than the world could support. What ever happened to those men? Except they are now grandfathers, great grandfather, and have to eternal love of their wives that they cared enough about them to take the responsibility of birth control on themselves. Up with wonderful men. Here's too many more like them.
Any one who says that miscarriages are a form of abortion never had their dreams and plans for a new baby dashed by the loss of that child. It is an insult to many women who cannot carry a child. Some women even end up with mental problems because of it. Because she had been blamed for it.
Leave my religious beliefs to me and keep you nose out of my bedroom and crotch.
 
 
+11 # ThinkRodan 2012-02-11 09:38
What is the ELECTION ABOUT? A person's right to control their own natural body functions or the state's right to interfere with these natural processees?
 
 
+13 # XXMD48 2012-02-11 09:45
Nobody so far mentioned those choir boys sexually abused by priests (what happened to the semens of all those priests, how many potential lifes were wasted, what GOD has to say to this?)

Being born as a female, here is my proposal: Man, as they can not concieve and carry pregnancy to term, nor can they give birth to the child (but they LOVE to participate in the sex act -be it act of love or act of violence) should have ABSOLUTELY no right to say anything about abortion. Women around the world should unify on this position. Because, after all, it is a woman, who perpetuates the life. Since IVF man can be only nameless, faceless sperm donor.
 
 
+5 # jerryball 2012-02-11 18:30
XXMD48: Ma'am, those are just blank bullets. No matter how much holy men wish, man cannot give birth. I guess nocturnal emissions will just be an "act of God?" Holy Men are in it for the Power Play only. They are the equivalent of the Harridan, but they can have you killed if they rish very soon if things keep going the way they have recently been going.
 
 
+12 # Mermaid19 2012-02-11 14:25
What is so frustrating to me is recognizing those making the rules for women are mostly men and the women that follow that lead are fear based in my mind. All I have to say is Get out Of My Body. I am tired of these men and their ideas. If the Fetus is so sacred why is the child born not as sacred. Just look at our world of children, health care hardly exists for them, education well that is being cut to ribbons, dental care non existent and of course War, we have no problem sending drones and killing innocent children yet
they who believe so strongly in taking care of the Fetus think nothing about killing people for their beliefs. I am not for or against abortion I AM FOR CHOICE and if my God is angry at me for that choice I believe I can handle it. Again Get out of My Body......
 
 
+4 # L mac 2012-02-12 15:37
Council of Catholic Bishops should keep thier opinions limited to thier church members in the confines of thier church walls. Most of thier female members practice birth control, what don't the bishops understand about thier own flock?
 
 
+1 # Lucius 2012-02-12 19:21
Cf., "Every Sperm is Sacred", a rousing song in Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life". Subconscious influence, sheer cosmic coincidence, or absolute 'divine' intervention? Who knows, but there it is.
 
 
+1 # tref 2012-02-13 21:40
Andrew challenges us with, ""SCIENTIFICALL Y SPEAKING", when does personhood begin?" He then goes on to say, "...my own view at moment is that personhood starts with conception". He also states he is open to "compelling arguments that its otherwise" and that "I'm a religious, bible-banging nutter doesn't qualify" as a compelling argument.

Well, my challenge is, "How does Andrew KNOW that personhood begins at conception?" And, "Because I'm religious and believe in God" doesn't qualify as a compelling argument.

AT THE MOMENT OF CONCEPTION there is just one single cell with all the DNA instructions to make a human being. However, all people have cells in their bodies that contain those same instructions and every one of those cells could become, with the proper care, a human being. It is called cloning, folks! So since every man and woman have such cells in their bodies, are these too persons? By whatever logic you use to define the single cell in a uterus as a human being, would you not also have to use that same reasoning to define these other cells as humans too? And if not, why not?
 

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