The Personhood Act- The Opinion

The Personhood Act- The Opinion

The Rules

1. Either read ALL of it, or stop now. (This will be long and involved. Consider yourself warned.)
2. If you haven’t read The Personhood Act yet, do that first. 

The Background

I’ve been avoiding writing about this for a couple of months now.
I don’t like getting involved in politics. That’s why I vote.

This subject, however, has me in an interesting position.
I’m in medical school. I’m a mom. And I’m a worship pastor’s wife.
So this act affects every part of my life.

I didn’t want to write my opinions about it, because I really don’t want to make people mad. But then I had to ask myself “Why am I writing this blog anyway?”

I hate fluff. I hate it when people avoid things. I hate wasting my time with surface talk. I also hate it when people decide to be vocal about something that they have not researched themselves.

And really when it comes down to it, I really don’t care if people get mad. I may lose some readers. I may lose some respect (though if your respect for me is based on the idea that our opinions are the same, I can’t say that I really want it anyway).

So, I suppose, I must practice what I preach—and be true to why I even started this blog in the first place.

I want to educate, inform, and get you thinking.

The Disclaimer

I would ask that you understand a couple of things.

1. I am in no way trying to be disrespectful of anyone or any organization.
2. I don’t apologize for my opinion. And neither should you.
3. Please don’t get mad at me. Please don’t “pity” me. Please don’t think I am “deceived”. I’m not.
4. I really have entered into this with a lot of prayer.

The Opinion

I’m pretty conservative. Well. For some reason I hate saying it, but I’m very conservative. I like my guns, capitalism, free speech, etc. Maybe I don’t like saying it because I just don’t like to argue about it. Anyway…

I would consider myself to be overall “Pro-Life” in the whole abortion scene.

This Act has been labeled and advertised as “Pro-Life”.
Unfortunately, this is a very bad case of false advertising.

In my opinion, The Oklahoma Personhood Act is an absolutely horrible idea, and I stand 100% against it.
(There, I said it—let the tomatoes start being pelted.)

Let me explain.

This proposed amendment is so broad that it makes no exceptions, no exclusions—nothing.

There are too many implications.

I may or may not agree with everything listed below, but it’s more for an understanding of how this can affect everyone in some way in a negative fashion. (The headings for each topic are links to reliable websites for more information about the specifics.) For example:

  1. Ectopic Pregnancy is where fertilization occurs outside of the uterus and the pregnancy will not progress successfully. Sometimes, in order to prevent shock and even death of the mother, the fertilized egg has to be removed surgically.
  2.  Infertility Treatment– This Act could ultimately lead to the requirement to implant every embryo created. This means that if you have 10 eggs fertilized, you will be required to implant them all. OR, if you don’t want to run that “risk” of having 10 children, you would only implant 1 or 2, which may mean less of a chance of the fertility treatment working.
  3. Female Specific Cancers- I worked with breast cancer patients for two years before coming to medical school. No one plans cancer. And, unfortunately, we are seeing a rise in hormone-related cancers in younger and younger populations. Often when one of these cancers is discovered in a younger female, it is an aggressive cancer that must be treated very quickly for there to be any hope for survival—and it always involves chemotherapy. Not only do the mother’s hormones produced in pregnancy usually “feed” the cancer, any chemotherapy is detrimental to a pregnancy. “Well that doesn’t happen”. It happens more than you think. I’ve seen it. And it’s devastating for everyone involved. And while you may say “Well, that was the choice you made when you decided to be sexually active”, what about their other children? Their husbands?
  4. MiscarriagesMost of us can probably say that we know someone who has had a miscarriage. It can be a very devastating experience for everyone. And in the middle of that devastation, this law could lead to a required investigation of you (your wife, your sister, your mother, etc) to make certain that it wasn’t intentional. We also know that once a woman has had a miscarriage, they are at a much greater risk of another. It could be implicated from this act that we would prevent someone from becoming pregnant after a certain number of miscarriages because we know that their body is probably going to create a life, only to destroy it again before being able to carry a child to term.

I understand and agree that it is very ridiculous for someone to continue getting pregnant repeatedly and choosing to repeatedly get abortions.

But this doesn’t just prevent that.

From this, it could be mandated that natural home births would not be allowed because of the potential harm to the baby. It could follow that a mother could be held criminally responsible for not taking their prenatal vitamins at the exact same time everyday.

If you disagree, watch this. Other states have already passed similar laws.

Again, I don’t like abortion. It’s not something that makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

But sometimes, if the definition of abortion is removal of a fertilized egg, it is necessary.

There is so much more to why I think the way that I do.
You are more than welcome to e-mail me (or call me if you know me).

I encourage dialogue, though if you are being ridiculous, I will delete it.

This is not about tearing people down, guilt, condemnation, or anything like that—and I will not let you make it that on this blog.

So, please post—but think before you do it. You can present an opposing opinion without being snide—and without just posting links.

If you think something, explain it in your own words.

And whether we agree or not, that’s fine.

“Each must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, and which course is patriotic and which isn’t. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let man label you as they may. If you alone of all the nation shall decide one way, and that way be the right way according to your convictions of the right, you have done your duty by yourself and by your country- hold up your head! You have nothing to be ashamed of.” – Mark Twain

Comments ( 30 )

  • John Cloud

    Very good post! This act is about much more than whether you support abortion or are “pro-life”, and it scares me that our government feels the need to vote on such an open ended, and poorly thought out act such as this one. Keep the good posts coming 🙂

    • Thanks, John. Yep- very scary indeed, especially with no qualifiers.

  • Drew Cassidy

    Look, I consider myself a pretty conservative guy. I believe in owning guns, I believe in low taxes, and I don’t believe in abortions. However, this bill is nothing short of moronic. It is a gross invasion of women’s rights and goes far beyond its intended goals. Not one fewer abortion will be carried out, it will make Oklahoma look like a bunch of degenerate hillbillies, and it will become a rallying point for the extreme Left. And again, I say this as someone who is pro-life, and in general does not believe in abortions.
    The bill tries to break down that being pro life is good, and being pro is bad, but I don’t understand how reasonably logically people can read this bill, and have anything but contempt for those trying to mandate what you can and can’t do with your own body. Women are not egg producing machines; they deserve to have their opinion matter in terms of their own care. A gross abuse of power, and frankly it’s a huge disrespect to the women of OKlahoma. They deserve better than this.

    • Well, I do think that it’s a bad idea. But I do believe that most people who support it do it out of good intentions and an honest desire to do good. It is my (and seems to be your opinion, too) that this is not going to do any more good than it will bad. If that’s what they truly believe after reading and educating themselves, then more power to them. As long as you can explain to me what you believe and why, I can at least respect that…even when someone is wrong.

  • I always tell people that I wish politics didn’t matter — because then I’d feel justified in either ignoring them or enjoying the sport/entertainment value of it all. But it does matter, a lot, and so I’m compelled to engage even when it’s uncomfortable…because I care about the people it affects.

    Thanks for posting & sharing your thoughts!

    • Definitely uncomfortable. Haha but I guess causing change and standing up and all those thing aren’t always the most enjoyable. Thanks for the support!

  • Ok I agree with atopic pregnancy… But, most of the time with infertility issues, the family fertilizes and inserts all or most any way to be successful! Im not sure about the cancer. I’m divided on that because I saw a special on 20/20 with a woman who had cancer while pregnant and she refused to have an abortion and she and the baby both lived. She put the baby’s life first as a mother normally does. You don’t become a mother at birth. So… Having said that, I would say, they may need to tweek it a bit, but I do not believe abortion is ok 99.99% of the time. Just for the record, I love your attitude about you blog!

    • Well- with the infertility actually what happens frequently (because it varies from doctor to doctor and patient to patient) is that some eggs are fertilized and then they are observed for a certain time to determine which ones will be the best to introduce and most likely to survive in the mother.

      The whole cancer thing is a complete gamble. You’re right–sometime you’re “lucky” and your cancer is slow-growing and not hormone dependent. But it’s a complete gamble. There are also numerous stories of women choosing to end their life to save their unborn child. There are also situations where it is decided to terminate the pregnancy because it’s a “one or the other” choice.

      Thanks! I really want this to not just be a rant- but something that people can actually learn from and dialogue with. 🙂 Thanks for really thinking about it and commenting!!!! It really means a lot–and that hopefully I’m somewhat successful in communicating what I want it to!!

  • Cindy

    Thanks for sharing, Steph! That video…well, let’s just say I almost punched a hole in the wall. Helpful to hear another side of the argument.

    • Haha I can totally see that. Thanks for taking the time to really read it and watch!!!

  • Kara Beam

    Thanks so much for posting this! It just confirmed what the media is not showing about this bill. Keep up the good work blogging 🙂 I don’t know how you do it with new baby and med school.

    • Well, thanks for reading it!!! Haha and sometimes I’m not sure either. I just know that if you do what you feel like you’re supposed to do, it all works out somehow 🙂

  • Rob

    Mark Twain was wrong – God has the final say in what is right and wrong. It is not up to me or anyone else. Without a concrete understanding of right and wrong, we will (as the USA has) find ourselves tossed to and fro by every wind of
    doctrine. There are absolutes…unfortunately, even God’s people have begun to lose sight of that…thankfully, His grace is sufficient!! Hallelujah!!!

    • I figured that this would come up. I do agree that there are absolutes. This, however, is not one of them. There are gray areas in life and we all have to “work out our own salvation” following what the Lord has placed on our hearts. If someone is willing to dialogue and follow their convictions, I can at least respect that even if I don’t agree. Thanks for reading- and yes. Thank God for His grace!

    • I definitely agree that there are absolutes. And that, as a society, we have lost our anchor in the everlasting truth of God’s Word and revelation. However, I think that the strength of our convictions must be matched by the depth of our humility. We must recognize–even as we cling to our faith–that we have and will be wrong about some things; that we live in a fallen world, and that no amount of wishing it weren’t so can save us from difficult decisions; that the kingdoms of this earth are becoming the kingdoms of our Lord, not primarily through our manipulation of their laws, but through our manifestation of His presence and His transformation of people’s hearts. God does and will have the final say. But that does not exempt us from engaging with the difficult issues and questions we face in this life. How can our society be ordered to promote life and wellbeing, not just for the unborn, but for every person? From what position and to what end should the church, or individual Christians, engage with the society at large? addressing those questions honestly, intelligently, and from a position of prayerful submission is no mean feat. Absolute truth is not *always* simple truth. But pursuing it is necessary — and worthwhile.

    • Hey Rob! Just wondering… I’m checking the index in my Bible… “A… for Abortion”… nope, not coming up. “P…. Personhood”… nope, neither. So I’m wondering, do you have a hotline to God?

      Sorry, I don’t mean to be snarky. It’s just that it scares me when people claim to know God’s final say. Psychopaths and Schizophrenics have justified many a thing with such claims.

      My opinion: Ethics should always take context into account. Contextual Ethics. Stanley Hauerwas (Christian Ethicist, Theologian) is a brilliant read on this topic.

      Also, everyone seems to be very concerned about kids’ value before birth, but I don’t see the same involvement and care for them AFTER they’ve been born. So you want women to hold unto pregnancies when they can’t financially, emotionally or physically care for the kid? Then YOU better be the ones to provide in those aspects.

      Check out George Carlin on Youtube, “Pro Life, Abortion, And The Sanctity Of Life”. Brilliant stand-up comedian, awesome thinker.

      • As far as looking in your Bible’s index for Abortion and Personhood, well no, you won’t find it. Those terms didn’t exist in the eastern world considering they didn’t even speak English.

        I am, like you, also cautious when many people have claimed to have a very wrong opinion from God. I have certainly been burned by a few people saying that “God said”….and not so much.

        But, people probably thought the same of John the Baptist who reminds me of the “crazy guy” on the corner saying “REPENT!”…because that’s exactly what he did.

        Also, keep in mind, that we all DO have a hotline to God—His name is Jesus.

        We just must be careful to distinguish between what the Lord has placed on our own hearts to be a personal conviction versus what is an absolute.

  • Eowyn Whittaker

    “From this, it could be mandated that natural home births would not be allowed because of the potential harm to the baby. It could follow that a mother could be held criminally responsible for not taking their prenatal vitamins at the exact same time everyday.”

    This is why, after I became pregnant, I shifted more to the pro-choice side. I still believe abortion is wrong, but I think the mother should have the final say about what happens to the baby while it’s still inside her, NOT the law.

    Although I wouldn’t have much of a problem with outlawing late-term abortions, except those that are necessary for the health of the mother.

    • Yep- it’s funny how being pregnant yourself can alter your thinking so much- and not just temporarily from the hormones 😉 Haha- I’m with ya’.

  • Meygan

    Love the way you can take your thoughts and in jumble them on here! I completely agree with this post and I am also very conservative. I hate abortion but I agree that this is to “gray” has way too many what if situations and oh gosh could you imagine the devastation of a miscarriage and then an investigation. And according to this would they be investigating a murder? Really great research on this! Very awesome!

    • Thanks! I love that you keep up with it so much!!! And I love your input!

      And, yes. If some lawyer was hired by someone else who had it out for the mother- a miscarriage could be considered murder if every t wasn’t crossed, so to speak. But, seriously? I mean, I think I did pretty well eating healthy and taking care of myself when I was pregnant. But I still had some Dr. Pepper. While in small quantities, I suppose that could be used against me in a court of law as evidence that I caused a miscarriage or something ridiculous.

  • There are a variety of situations that could arise in which an abortion would not be legal under this bill. I am not sure this exact bill is the right answer, even though I am very pro-life.

    I can certainly empathize with women who are undergoing infertility treatment. Their intention is to create a life, and many times they are desperate to do so.

    When the mother’s life is threatened, I believe there should be provision to allow for the choice to be made by the woman and her doctor.

    Sadly, over 90% of abortions are used as birth control for social reasons, not for health reasons, incest,or rape. I am not suggesting that the ones that are for health reasons don’t matter just because they are the minority.

    I have heard many claims that miscarriages could be treated as crimes. I have encountered many people who believe the bill will allow for this. I have also encountered many articles that make this claim. I do not believe it necessary to deceive the public into believing this in order to get them to oppose the bill, but it seems as though many so-called news sources are attempting to do so. The bill does not suggest that a miscarriage could be investigated as murder. It does not suggest that failing to take prenatal vitamins is a cause for action against a mother. It actually protects mothers from such investigation. At least, that is how I interpret the following excerpt from the bill itself:

    “E. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as creating a cause of action against a woman for indirectly harming her unborn child by failing to properly care for herself or by failing to follow any particular program of prenatal care.”

    So, even if you fail to follow a program of prenatal care, you’re safe.

    Again, I am not suggesting that this bill is THE answer, but most of the arguments against this bill that I have heard relate to miscarriages, and when I began to hear those arguments I felt it was very important that I go read the bill itself to find out exactly what everyone was talking about. I see there are some other arguments in this blog, and I am glad. I am also glad to see that you do not apologize for your opinion, nor do you think anyone else should. We can’t change anyone else’s opinion, and we shouldn’t change our own unless we find that it was based on some sort of misunderstanding or falsehood.

    • The excerpt from the bill that you are citing is a part of the actual House and Senate Bill which is dead for this session. The previous post explains that what is actually being presented to be placed on the ballot on November makes absolutely no provisions or exceptions.

      I’m not sure that 90% of abortions are birth control- you could be right, but I’ve never seen that statistic. I do know, however, that if I was in the 10% at any point in my life, it would matter.

      While what is in the House and Senate does make some provisions, there are also some implications in it that still would need to be covered.

      This was confusing to me at first. But there are two separate things going on. The one with all of the provisions is NOT what would be placed on the November ballot and such implications for miscarriages and such could stand.

  • Sure makes me want to dig deep into the souls of those that write these bills. thank you for shedding light on something the press doesn’t seem to understand.

    • Yes it does. I know when I contacted legislators I got an interesting response from one. She said that she was “tired of trying to practice medicine from the floor”. Pretty accurate, I think.

  • I am Pro-Life…. for myself. However, I am Pro-Choice politically. It’s a tough position to be in, especially in my family, all of whom are very very conservative. Also, I have rather strong feelings about people who are so vehemently opposed to abortion, but have never had to deal with the issue personally. One of my essays from the book I am trying to finish deals with this issue. If you care to read…

    Thank you, Stephanie, for this post. I greatly appreciated it. Keep ’em coming!

    • That was a very good entry! Thank you for sharing- and for being able to distinguish your personal values with what you think should be law. That’s a very hard thing to do. Props to you.

  • Mike

    From bill:

    “The measure would also protect “persons” created in a laboratory,
    which would affect, but not prohibit, medical procedures such as in
    vitro fertilization. For example, “persons” created in a laboratory as
    part of the medical procedure could not be DELIBERATELY DESTROYED.”

    As far as IVF and the bill as a whole, I looked at the wording thus far and noticed the intention of the bill. Now, whether it’s in the original legislation or in the amendment process I’m not sure. The bill as a whole uses words like “deliberate” or “intentional killing”. So, I can see the “heart” of the bill in that it want’s to protect from intentional killing of human beings, but it does need to be more intentional in making sure “unintended consequences” don’t occur with vague wording.

    I personally don’t agree with creating embryos unless any “created” by scientists are implanted to foster life. Technically, we can’t create anything. We are just playing “god” by taking what God has already created and putting it together to “wait” on God to form the DNA, organs, etc. As far as I know we really can’t create anything out of what has not already been created by God.

    I believe with that kind of technology like IVF comes major accountability and I believe we should be responsible in what we put together to form life and not play “god” by deciding what should be implanted or destroyed. I believe God will hold those accountable who do that. Now, if implantation of embryos created doesn’t allow for all of them to see life come to fruition once implanted, then it’s not God’s will. I believe it shouldn’t be left up to a scientist in a laboratory to destroy what God has ordained as what constitutes life because they created too many embryos to implant. Likewise, if all of the embryos put together by scientists and implanted bring life into fruition or not, then that’s God’s will, not ours as it should be of course. I believe God gave us the technology of IVF to use responsibly and to uphold His standards of life while still giving a way to foster life when the curse of this world has prohibited “life” from happening in some instances.

    I also believe the words “deliberate” and “intentional” if expounded on would take care of the other issues in this article like the “cancer treatments” due to the fact that treatments are trying to save life in which cancer could destroy both the mother and possibly the child anyway.

    Finally, miscarriages are not “intentional” or “deliberate”. Thus, in theory that should be protected, but I believe there should be clear wording that describes what “intentional” and “deliberate” so as to make sure there is no confusion. Ectopic pregnancy is also something as you well know occurs outside of the usual and natural process of life. I believe it’s a product of the fall like cancer and other issues like that. Anyway, since it’s an issue involving trying to protect life, it should be left up to the doctor and patient on what to do in that case, but for sure with careful consideration and research on the best option to foster life. That’s my two cents anyway. Good post and for sure It’s understandable to be “cautious” or opposed to such legislation when it’s not very clear on where it stands to avoid other issues that could arise from vague legislative terminology.

    STATISTICS (Ectopic Pregnancy)

    Currently, up to 1 of every 50-60 pregnancies is estimated to be ectopic.***

    Over 100,000 ectopic pregnancies were reported in the US in 1992.

    1 out of 2000 ectopic pregnancies ended in the death of the mother for the 1970′s and 1980′s. The mortality rate has fallen even lower in recent years due to advances in medical care. Recent estimates put it at ~3 in 10,000.

    At least 14 studies have documented that 68 to 77 percent of ectopic pregnancies resolve without intervention (American Academy of Family Physicians).

    Tubal rupture occurs in approximately 20% of cases. The statistics seem to indicate that this is the number of women whose initial symptom is tubal rupture, i.e. they receive no treatment at all prior to rupture.

    Studies indicate that another 10-30% may experience rupture while under medical care.
    Contrary to popular belief, death from rupture is rare where medical attention is available. In the US, 25-50 women die from ectopic pregnancy each year out of about 100,000 reported cases.

    Why women have abortions
    1% of all abortions occur because of rape or incest; 6% of abortions occur because of potential health problems regarding either the mother or child, and 93% of all abortions occur for social reasons (i.e. the child is unwanted or inconvenient).

  • As far as the bill that is currently dead in the House and Senate, yes, it does have qualifiers and and amendments, though they are not thorough enough, in my opinion. I agree. I think that the INTENTION is good- and that those behind it truly believe that it is RIGHT.

    The main problem I have right now is that what is being proposed to be put on the ballot in the fall has absolutely NO qualifiers or amendments (see The Facts post).

    And, unfortunately, some miscarriages can be caused by different stressors which could be deemed “intentional” if one knew better.

    And, as far as the stats go, I think with the percentages- yes. Maybe a lot of it is social. But there could be a lot more at stake than just “convenience”. In some cultures, the mother’s life could also be at stake for becoming pregnant outside of wedlock.

    Whether it’s right or not, it is an unfortunate reality for some, and I think that they should be protected. I’m just not sure that ANY legislation can make enough provisions to cover every “what if” situation.

    Medicine is a science, but there is too much variability to have formulas…and in some ways, I think that it tries to impose just that.

Leave a Reply